Author: Fritz Stafford
Published: April 21, 2016
The weather was perfect for the inaugural off-road bicycle race of the Boise region 2016 season, sunny, little wind, low 60F at race start, 11:00AM April 9 at the Hemmingway Butte Off Highway Vehicle park. There had been adequate spring moisture, but the course had been softened by a combination of BLM excavations to improve drainage and an OHV event the preceding weekend. The result was lap time increase of ~7-10% for most riders.
The 10 mile course consists of two loops, the first short loop includes a steep difficult climb that had previously been ride-able for most Cat1 riders, and a second loop that begins with a ~2.5 mile medium gradient climb and includes several short steep pitches. This year, the steep climb in the first loop was not ride-able for most riders, and the large meat ball size dirt clods made for slow exhausting pushing of the bike up the hill. The less steep first half of the ~2.5 mile climb in the second loop was made more difficult by numerous soft dirt sections.
The second loop continues with a steep, curvy soft dirt descent into the nastier than ever entrance into the “skateboard park”, a continuously snaking ~1.5 mile narrow dry wash with ~20ft vertical rock walls on both sides. This nasty entrance has always begun with a narrow rock drop into a steep soft dirt slalom through several rocks before leveling out in the wash, but this year, a hole developed halfway down the slalom that grew with each rider passage, and this was the cause of numerous “endos”.
The Cat1 racers ride three laps, Cat2 racers ride two laps and the Cat3 racers ride one lap. The Cat3 race could have been ridden without a water bottle, the Cat2 race demanded a full water bottle, and the Cat1 race required more depending on your time. Many Cat1 racers faded in the third lap due to early season fatigue and / or lack of adequate hydration and feeding.
The same course has been utilized for multiple years, but the skateboard park section changes every year due to erosion and usage (especially dirt bikes). Full concentration is required to find the most efficient route into and throughout the skateboard park, and lapses of concentration can occur with fatigue. This creates excitement for the skilled racers, and anxiety followed by gratification upon successful completion for the less skilled racers.
Jamey Yanick who set the course record last year with a time of 1:36:07 successfully defended his title with a time of 1:41:00, and second place finisher Cody Peterson was 6:31 behind at 1:47:31, which was 1:52 behind his previous year finish. However, most Cat1 racers finished closer to 10 minutes behind their previous year finish.
The Wild Rockies Race Team represented team and sponsors with 16 participants, 2 race organizers (Darren and Lorien Lightfield), a race volunteer (Bill Salter), the team director (Weston Wheat), and a side-lined team mate (Allis Ottey). Raul Garcia won the Sexiest racer award in his WR Race Team sleeveless triathlon skin suit.
Dave Harrison finished 2nd in the Pro/Open class and 10th overall. Raul Garcia finished 7th in Cat1 40-49 and 18th overall. Mike Weiser finished 5th in Cat1 30-39 and 20th overall. Fritz Stafford DNF due to cracked ribs suffered from endo upon second entrance into skateboard park.
Jeff Coffman finished 2nd in Cat2 40-49 and 3rd overall in the Cat2 race. Ben Thomas finished 5th in Cat2 40-49 and 7th overall in the Cat2 race. Dar Schmid finished 9th in Cat2 40-49 and 11th overall in the Cat2 race. Andy Kemp finished 3rd in Cat2 50-59 and 26th overall in the Cat2 race. Gary Kyle finished 13th in Cat2 40-49 and 35th overall in the Cat2 race.
Jason Rose finished 2nd in Cat3 40-49 and 10th overall in the Cat3 race. Scott Cooper finished 3rd in Cat3 40-49 and 11th overall in the Cat3 race. James Mcniff (aka Shred) finished 3rd in Cat3 19-29 and 22nd overall in the Cat3 race. Jennifer Cox finished 3rd in Cat3 F30-39 and 24th overall in the Cat3 race. Chris Ford finished 1st in Cat3 50+ and 25th overall in the Cat3 race (3 seconds behind Jennifer). Keri Jerome finished 1st in Cat3 F19-29 and 36th overall in the Cat3 race. Pam Smart finished 4th in Cat3 F30-39 and 45th overall in the Cat3 race.
Photos of many of the WR Race Team representatives are included in the 20th Annual Barking Spider Photo Galleries (i.e., click on the “Photo Galleries” main menu item). Apologies for those not included, but Michele had new camera with improperly adjusted Auto-Focus settings (i.e., the background sagebrush, rocks and barbedwire were in great focus, but riders were often blurry).
The photographs included in this article were taken by Michele Swan. To see / copy the full resolution available in these “quarter resolution” images, click or tap the images to bring-up the attachment page, click or tap on the image size icon located between the image title / filename and the image (e.g., 1440×960), and then right click on the image to copy (on a PC). Instructions to purchase the full resolution photos are available at Fitness and Grace Photo.