RAGNAR 2013

Since I first picked up running races as a hobby it has always been a solo adventure, which has been okay for me because I am very independent and really like to not talk or think.  I just run.  However, the 2013 season has been quite different and I have a few people to thank for that.  Mostly I have to give appreciation to my friend Pat Tatro for pulling me along on several different races this year.  Props buddy!

So RAGNAR is a race that most of us have either heard about or at least seen the interesting symbol / logo plastered on a handful of cars around the cities.  It is a relay race that begins in Winona, MN and ends in Minneapolis, MN (~200 miles).  You plan and prepare for this race by establishing a solid race team.  Teams can be any combination of up to twelve runners; if a team choses to just be 6 runners they are dubbed ‘Ultra’.  There can be quite a few details to manage so the team captain has a lot to organize.  A big thanks to Kevin for spear heading these tasks for our 2013 race.

Prelude: 

According to the instructions provided by Kevin, we were to meet at Pat’s place at approximately 10:15AM, when I arrived majority of the guys were there and loading up the van with supplies and their running gear.  I had chosen to pack light, really light. Most of the guys had brought more than one change of clothes and many additional additives to comfort along the way.  Pretty smart of them, obviously I didn’t really know what I was in for. I did bring what mattered: running shoes, socks, shirt, shorts, and a headlamp. Soon we lined up in our respective vans  runners 1-6 in the first and 7-12 in the second. I was slated with the 6th race spot in the first van which I was really happy with. My legs were to be 7.6 miles (very Hard), 5.6 miles (Hard) and finally 4.1 miles (moderate); this was great because I was stoked to get the toughest stretch done first, everything was to get easier from then on.

We had a quick ride down to Winona, which was cool because we were able to chat and get a bit more acquainted. We arrived and checked-in and our team went through the safety review with the course instructor.  Soon it was time for us to get started, but before we got underway we got a quick pick of the crew in Van 1.

Van 1 Race Crew at the RAGNAR starting line!

Van 1 Race Crew at the RAGNAR starting line! Left to Right (Jake, Connor, Alex, Pat, Phil and Robby)

Race Start Date/Time: Friday August 16th @ 2PM

We had one of the later race times that day and there were only about five other teams that were going to begin the race at the same time.  Robby started us off and while we were waiting for him we decided to decorate the van and to mark the team name “Dirt McGuerts” and each of our race legs on the sides of the van. When it was all done it looked great!

The cool thing about this race is that the other racers in the van will support you along the way.  You look at your race legs and see where you would like the van to encourage you and give you water.  Since it ended up being quite hot that day (~89F) we often needed water drops. Plus each time you saw your van it was like another push to keep going and to keep a swift pace.  Being there for each other was a cool way to bond, and when it wasn’t your time to race you had time to enjoy the snacks in the van and chat.

Not too much later and it was time for my first leg; it was approximately 5:15PM.  It was a very challenging leg of 7.6 miles which was littered with mentally challenging hills. There were several points during this stretch where I wanted to stop but my pride wouldn’t left me.  So I kept my feet shuffling. I finished Leg 6 with around a 7:30 pace and for the type of hills and heat, I consider that quite the accomplishment. I like that the relay race used essentially the old school 80s/90s slap bracelet style baton.  Pretty cool.

From start to finish I pushed through each of my legs and came out victorious!

From start to finish I pushed through each of my legs and came out victorious!

My next leg was to begin at approximately 2:15AM. This was to be my first night run and it was quite different from running during the day.  By now the temperature from the day had dropped significantly and was quite brisk.  I remember putting my headlamp on and gearing up for the transition.  It was a bit strange running at night and I was always on the lookout for cars (especially for drunk drivers).  I could easily see my breath as I ran, but that didn’t break my focus.  I was looking for other runner’s via their tail lights.  I was able to get 6 ‘Kills’ on this stretch which felt great.  I finished with a brisk pace of closer to 7:00 minute miles. Once this leg was completed our crew drove to Stillwater, MN where we were able to get a little shut-eye and rest our legs.

Rise & Shine its Van 1 time! Starting our last and final leg of the race!

Rise & Shine its Van 1 time! Starting our last and final leg of the race!

By 7AM the next morning van 2 had completed their legs of the race and now it was time for us to complete our last stretch (see picture above).  My last one came at approximately 10:30AM.  It was quite hot out and I remember my leg was a straight path through a local town.  My legs were beginning to fail as I sprinted through the finish line. I had a total of 10 kills on that stretch! Mentally drained and physically tired, I was super excited that I completed the last leg (again close to 7 minute miles). We then took off and headed back to Pats to cleanup and unload the van.  Before we did that we had to admire the van and all the kills we made along the way (~93 teams).

Back at Pat's we counted our Kills and got cleaned up to meet up with Van 2 at the finish line.

Back at Pat’s we counted our Kills and got cleaned up to meet up with Van 2 at the finish line.

Afterwards, we were to meet at the race finish line down by the U of M. When we arrived we had enough time to relax a bit and enjoy conversation before Kevin (the last runner in Van 2) was to arrive. We brought along our official RAGNAR race shirts so that we could run across the finish line together as a team and have our team photo taken.  It was a big accomplishment!  Personally I ran approximately 17.5 miles in total.  I was a bit tired and sore, but I sat down and enjoyed a complimentary couple of pizzas.  Thanking all of the team members for a great experience I soon took off only to later connect with the team on Facebook and share our story.  In all, it was a unique team relay race experience and I had a lot of fun!  Here is our finish line picture!

The Dirt McGuerts arrive victorious!

The Dirt McGuerts arrive victorious!

Late the following week we received word that we placed 9th overall for the race.  Our final time was ~24hrs 30mins.  We were pretty excited to have done so well and though we didn’t crack the 24 hour mark, we cannot complain about our performance.  The average mile pace for our team was 7:32.

Who would have thought at 28 I was going to band with a group of guys and run from Winona MN to Minneapolis MN.  Blessed in life!

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The Ultimate Stag Party

It is a time-honored tradition for men to have a buck-wild crazy bachelor party as a final hoorah before entering marriage. This typical “American Pie” style send-off bash normally includes strippers and some lewd behavior that the attendees swear to never utter ever again, well I wanted mine to be different. Therefore, the “Ultimate Stag Party” was born!

Spear headed by my brother Justin and my buddy Russell, the idea of Bachelor Weekend was born. Together we began thinking of ideas that would relate to the things I love the most. I knew we had to leave the bikes parked for this weekend because of the higher-than-normal alcohol consumption; that and not all my buds are riders and I really wanted a good turnout.

Eventually the game plan started to come together. We were to enjoy a full weekend of craziness. Here is the sequence of events as they were to play out:

1) Stag Party Happy Hour @ Uptown Tavern

My weekend bash was to begin by dipping out of work a bit early and heading back to my place to meet my brother Justin. Frustrated a bit with city traffic my brother gets there a smudge late, no biggie. We hit the road and got about half way to the HH and my brother realized, whoops no ID, so after a quick turnaround we made it!

We got to the patio on the roof and as soon as I turned the corner and there was a large group of my core guys. We all got a couple of drinks in us and it was time for shots. A special call out to Russell and his Nacho Libre mask; it was seriously hilarious. I also enjoyed a very nice gesture from one of my best college friends – Jesse Kunes, who was kind enough to call the bar from his place of residence (Arkansas) and order us a round, too cool of him.

Best Happy Hour Ever! My guys came out in full force to send me off the right way!

Best Happy Hour Ever! My guys came out in full force to send me off the right way!

We passed around cigars, snapped pictures and everyone was congratulating me on the upcoming marriage to my beautiful wife Nellie. Soon we were off hitting the road from the bar to our next adventure.

2) Rave Run @ ValleyFair

So we had several sober drivers bring us out to the ValleyFair grounds for this techno themed 5K. On the way out I decided to hop out of the van on 169 as it was basically standstill traffic due to all the people going to the event. Lol I eventually met up with the van behind us when Russ jumped out and got me, lol.

Shortly after we arrived (a bit late to the run) we got our race swag on and glowing. I had nicely glow-painted the race shirts for our crew! We were ready for a drunken walk / jog around the neon lit track. I think we may have lost a few along the way, but we all pretty much stuck together and finished strong. Here is a picture with the bunch of us enjoying the experience!

The Rave Run crew having a blast out at ValleyFair.  Thanks Russ for picking up the random woman for the pic! LMAO

The Rave Run crew having a blast out at ValleyFair. Thanks Russ for picking up the random woman for the pic! LMAO

After the Rave Run the crew had all but sobered up and we were starting to get hungry.  The night was not yet over (not by a long shot), next we were to do a little gambling after we stopped at McD’s, lol!

3) Black Jack @ Mystic Lake

Considering we had planned to be out this way, I figured that it only made sense to try my luck at the Black Jack tables at the casino.  It is always a good time arriving at Mystic and seeing the flashing lights and hearing sounds of the money-sucking machines making dreams and nightmares a reality.  We split up a bit and played our luck at the machines and the tables. To me it was a good form of entertainment and we didn’t win or lose big, we just paid for the experience. We purchased several rounds of  drinks and shared laughs as we handed the casino our money.  When our money was gone we made tracks and headed back to Russell’s for the after-party.

From the moment we arrived at Russell’s my memory becomes fuzzy.  It probably is because we started with Russell’s famous shot-skis where we lined up several rounds. Eventually, the night ended in a group wrestling match; soon after we fell into our temporary comas.

Ugh, waking up the next day proved to be quite the challenge.  Apparently we got from Russell’s over to my place, I passed back out as a few of them cooked a late breakfast.  I am not sure of the responsible culprit, but someone took my delicious New York strip steaks out of the fridge and fricasseed them on a pan,  that was not so tasty. After a few more hours of sleep we woke to Sharif and Andrew on their bikes.  Thank goodness they came and got us up or that would have been the end of Stag Weekend.

4) Gokarting @ ProKART

After a late lunch in Maple Grove at Malone’s, we hit our backup plan.  Today was the day that we were supposed to go skydiving but the weather was simply too windy to ensure we had safe enough conditions.  So we went with our backup plan which was so much more fun than I could have ever imagined.  We got out to ProKART and decided to race several rounds against one another.  Those little cars are fast! Once you realize the correct technique and you get a decent whip, you can get really fast and even drift around the turns to minimize the loss of speed.  I think the thing I liked about it the most was that it was hilariously competitive.

Racing with the fellas at ProKART!

Racing with the fellas at ProKART!

Each time around the track we would do our best to cut one another off and we also were shooting for the fastest overall lap.  Though I was never the fast lap captain, I did enjoy aggressively driving those karts.  Yes, I got warned a few times as you are not supposed to make contact with the other drivers, but sometimes you gotta bump your buddies, hahaha! I think my brother-in-law Joel lost his mind with how much fun he was having.  Only downside was that I ran into Justin’s kart so hard that I broke the bracket that was holding his GoPro to his helmet.  No harm no foul and we finished out our races!

5) Shutting the Bars Down @ LaCrosse WI

No way could the Ultimate Stag Party end just yet.  It must have been around 9PM and we were feeling a little froggy and ready to get the party started once again.  We had just enough time go purchase the adult beverages that we wanted and drive down to LaCrosse.  It took us a couple of hours to get down there and as soon as we did we hit up downtown to see what kind of party scene LaCrosse had to offer.  We hit a couple of smaller bar establishments and at each of them the guys were asking and recording the women’s best advice for keeping happiness in my marriage.  It was too funny some of the responses they gave, lol.

I thought it was like an amazing idea to do the ‘Harlem Shake’ all night, which when performed by me looks a lot like a drunken bullet dodging scene from the Matrix. Either way it was quite entertaining and I am really glad that I have a bunch of obnoxious videos to watch.  After dancing and sweating the booze out we took off for Justin’s place where we were to end the night.

6) Bonfire @ Justin’s

Eventually we made it back to my bro’s place around 3AM and decided to refuel and get a bit crazy again.  We had an awesomely big bonfire just roaring in my brother’s backyard.  I love the feeling of the hot air coming off the fire and the glow of the embers.  Between Russell, Justin, Crazy Carl, Andrew and myself, we made the rest of the night one for the memories.  We were drinking, snacking and talking (deep intellectual conversation I am sure, lol) until the sun came up.

Swapping stories around the campfire until the sun came up the next day!

Swapping stories around the campfire until the sun came up the next day!

Conclusion:

That night never really ended for me.  Russ and I stayed up and took out his .22 and went shooting cans down in the ravine behind the barn.  We had a few laughs and may have even ‘rustled some feathers’, hahaha! Felt good to be a carefree kid once again and to see all my friends support me into my marriage with Nellie.  Good times!

All super amazing stag parties must come to an end, sad but true.  We partied like rockstars and kept it clean for the most part, no one got in trouble and we have great stories to share going forward.  A couple of hours after everyone was up we gathered ourselves and parted ways!  A special thanks to my brothers Justin and Russell for this amazing weekend!

Sturgis, SD – 2012

Since I am filled with utter jealousy of all those riders attending the 2013 Sturgis, SD bike rally, I have decided to document the experiences I had last year. I would like to note that this was quite an adventurous trip that has left me with many fond memories. This posting is to document my fun times!

Early in 2012, my best friend Russell and I had decided to book tickets to the Buffalo Chip. If you know anything about camping in Sturgis for the bike rally, then you know that the most notorious place to camp is at the Buffalo Chip. With our entrance fee paid we were guaranteed a spot to set up shop for the week and were allowed admission to their nightly concert lineup.

As the rally drew ever closer our preparations needed to get more solidified. In the last month leading up to Sturgis, Russell and I were going through a period where we really weren’t getting along. This happens from time to time with best friends, but it works its way out when the time is right. So therefore, I was on my own when it came to organizing the trip and getting myself out there. I was to start this trip solo, Jake style – which was nice for a change!

Quickly, I had made the decision to trailer my bike NASTY out to Sturgis. I figured it wouldn’t be much fun riding on a sport bike for 11 hours straight and i am so glad that i did. This allowed me to pack a couple of coolers full of food and drinks to last me the week which probably saved me a few bucks! Thankfully my awesome brother-in-law Joel borrowed me a screened-in canopy, a tent and an air mattress. With enough clothes packed I hit the road that Saturday night at about 5PM and expected to arrive at the Chip at 6AM the next morning. The trip out there was beautiful (I love driving at night when I am able to see the stars!), besides the crazy construction and a couple of off-road detours, I made it.

One of the early birds to get to the bike rally!  Super Excited!

One of the early birds to get to the bike rally! Super Excited!

I was exhausted and passed out at the entrance of the Chip until they opened the gates at like 7:30AM. Super stoked, I was about to enjoy a ‘stress-free week’ full of riding, concerts and tipping a few back! Next step, selecting my campsite. I chose a spot far off to the side and unknown to me at the moment, it was pretty far from the shower area or the pond where most folks would go and cool off during the afternoon. Next time around I will position myself a bit closer to the action. I finally got my digs set up. You always forget something, and this was no exception. I was to be without pillows and blankets for the week, oh well. You couldn’t put me in a bad mood if you tried.

This was to be my home for the next week! Pretty sweet setup if you ask me!

This was to be my home for the next week! Pretty sweet setup if you ask me!

Once I was settled, I began trying to hit Russell up to see if he made it. We ended up reconnecting later that day and squashed any ill feelings we had towards each other. It was to be a balanced trip of time kicking it together and also having some time to independently roam on my own.  Russ was staying at the Chip with his cousin Alyssa and her husband which worked out very conveniently for him. He had connected with them before leaving the cities and was able to get them to haul most of his things up in their trailer.  He decided to iron-seat all the way to Sturgis, both brave and crazy, but obviously that didn’t leave him much space to bring his gear so it was good to leverage his cousin.

On Russell’s way up, something happened with the bearings in his front tire that caused the bike’s front end to shake significantly. Thankfully he quickly ordered the needed parts and was able to get his bike to his uncle’s home (not far from Sturgis). He got it fixed and was finally ride ready after a couple missed riding days. In the meantime we stayed at the Chip.  It was really hot and dusty in the Chip grounds and so we went down to the ‘pond’ and took center stage on the rope swing. We eventually became more brave with our acrobatics, probably due to the liquid encouragement from each time we finished a beer.

Wow I miss running and jumping off the dock to grab the rope to do some awesome flips!

Wow, I miss running and jumping off the dock to grab the rope to do some awesome flips!

Pond lounging by day quickly turned into drunken concerts at the band stands after dusk. The first couple of nights were bad lol, but then I found my balance and limited myself to a more healthy level of drinking. You know what they say, ‘work hard – party hard’!  Russell was more of a night walker when he was out there and wouldn’t pass out until the sun was peaking over the horizon, which meant he wasn’t going to be moving until at least noon. I was cool with that because I would get up early enough to hit the showers and to jump on a bike to enjoy some significant riding.

Watching Boston perform at the Buffalo Chip main grandstand!

Watching Boston perform at the Buffalo Chip main grandstand!

The next couple of days I wanted to make sure I got some serious riding in and was able to see the glory of the Black Hills.  It had been since I was a young child since I was in South Dakota sight-seeing.  That morning I jumped on NASTY and took her out and topped the tank off and we had a busy agenda for the day; 1) see Mount Rushmore; 2) See Devil’s Peak; and finally make it out to see Crazy Horse. Mount Rushmore is quite an impressive sight and I remember viewing it many years ago.  I stopped several times upon approaching, but eventually went in and got some really cool pictures. Here is a collage of what I experienced.

Few photos of me sight seeing at Mt. Rushmore!

Few photos of me sight-seeing at Mt. Rushmore!

Devils Peak was next on my bucketlist for the day.  It was a straight shot out into Wyoming to get a look at this natural rock formation.  Here again is another collage of what I saw!

Sweet picture collage of my trip out to Devil's Peak!

Sweet picture collage of my trip out to Devil’s Peak!

Last but not least was my trip out to Crazy Horse, and I knew that this was going to be really cool as I was able to learn more about the Native people and their culture.  The afternoon that I went they actually had a blast scheduled to clear away rock.  One blast at a time and this monument comes more to life. Check this out!

Learning something new and I got to see an actual blast to help clear some of the mountain away!

Learning something new and I got to see an actual blast to help clear some of the mountain away!

After I had done my sightseeing at Crazy Horse, I waited for Russell to rendezvous with me.  So I sat back and enjoyed a cigar till he arrived. Happy to see my friend we hungout for a second and then headed off to ride Needles Highway.  This next adventure was really the icing on the cake for this crazy awesome day.  There is nothing that can describe riding on such a windy road through the jagged hills of this region. It literally left me breathless and I will be back once again on two wheels just to relive this experience.

When we got out there we didn’t really know what to expect but it was seriously like preserved / untouched land that God made for every biker’s enjoyment.  Needles Highway was very curvy and narrow and required you to really pay attention as you ride, meanwhile, of course, you are looking all around trying to take in the beautiful surroundings. The area is an enormous nature preserve that rests on a national park.  We even ran into some native wildlife when we were out there.  Here is a few pictures of our ride out there.

Some of the action that was going out along Needles Highway!  Crazy we were maybe 20 feet from this huge buffalo!

Some of the action that was going out along Needles Highway! Crazy we were maybe 50 feet from this huge buffalo!

Just a few more for your enjoyment!

Jagged rock formations all around us as we rode the twists and turns on Needles Highway!

Jagged rock formations all around us as we rode the twists and turns on Needles Highway!

After this we ended up stopping in a local town on our way back to the Buffalo Chip, it had begun down pouring, so it only made sense to stop grab a bite to eat and wait it out. Eventually we made it back to the chip.  The next several days were now going to be spent in downtown Sturgis and at the Chip enjoying more of the lineup.

When it comes to the Sturgis Bike Rally, there really is no mistaking it.  During one of my remaining afternoons I decided to head to the main drag and see what there was to offer as well as to check out some souvenirs for my family. When you get down there you are immediately hit with the excitement that comes with thousands of motorcycles and the hustle and bustle of a town that hasn’t seen this much action since the previous year’s rally.  There were so many bikes it left my mouth hanging open.  I spent plenty of time looking at the many different makes and models as well as paying particular attention to the custom bikes that were out there. Here is a couple of pics to give you an idea of the Sturgis experience!

Some very awesome bikes out there that people have put their heart and soul into!  We are a nation of riders!

Some very awesome bikes out there that people have put their heart and soul into! We are a nation of riders!

After I picked up a few t-shirts for my girls and a couple of shot glasses, I made my way back to the Chip and Russ and I made dinner. During one of our evenings out there, Russell and I met a very cool couple (Kevin and Shelley); they ended up being some of the most down to earth folks that I have ever met.  They rode all the way from New York on their new Harley, super jealous! They camped out and had dinner and drinks with Russell and myself for a few nights, that is a couple that is living life the right way, loving each other.  I still do my best to stay in touch and look forward to another Sturgis and seeing them.

On one of our last nights in SD, Russell and I had made it a point to go do a bit of cliff jumping / diving in a lake that he had been to with some of his family on a previous trip.  Well just our fortune, his bike broke down at a place that we stopped to get gas.  Life happens, but that did not stop us from completing this leg of our trip.  It must have looked hilarious, and I think that there might be a video floating around of Russell getting on the back of my bike.  Eventually we got there and it was a pretty amazing sight to see.  When on a daily basis I am surrounded by concrete building and the hustle and bustle of downtown Minneapolis, it is nice to get away from it all and drink in nature.  I did just that.  Here is a cool shot of me at the lake.

Pretty cool to be out here, after this shot I got to first hand find out how cold the water was... by jumping in!

Pretty cool to be out here, after this shot I got to first hand find out how cold the water was… by jumping in!

Next Russell and I did some jumping from about twenty feet above the water, trust me that was plenty of a rush!  We jumped several time and then we climbed out of the brisk water and made our way back out of the woods.  We then road (together – awkward) to his Uncle Ross’s place where we were to enjoy a home cooked meal.  They were gracious hosts and allowed us to shower up and even stay the night.  But before the night was over, we all had decided to make our way out to Sturgis and head to the Full Throttle Saloon and enjoy a few rounds and really catch up.  These are really great people and I am glad that we were able to spend some time with them.

Our last night, we made it count! Good times with good company!  Till next time Sturgis, SD!

Our last night, we made it count! Good times with good company! Till next time Sturgis, SD!

The next morning Ross helped us out by taking his truck out to pick up Russell’s bike.  We then took it back to our camp site.  Together we decided it would be best for us to get his bike to the trailer I rented and we would load both bikes up side by side.  They fit perfectly and when we were all packed and ready to hit the road we said our goodbyes to the place and took all these memories with us!  I absolutely had a blast and got reconnected with my bro; God is good! Amen!

CampTITAN 2013

This morning I participated in the “extreme BlackOps style” 5K obstacle course race called CampTITAN.  I participated in this event last season and gave it another shot because it had some of the best obstacles and was pretty challenging. Since this is not nearly as commercialized as Warrior Dash or ToughMudder, it usually draws a smaller audience, but also means you wont be stepping on people every time you try to take a full stride.  The remainder of this post is dedicated to my overall race preparation and then the deeper dive into the pros and cons of this course.

Pre-Race Preparation:

This morning I did my normal Jake ‘race morning rituals’ that I always do; this usually consists of waking up early enough to have a cup or two of coffee (black), enjoy putting something in my stomach and yup I top it off by slapping on my board shorts and shoes. Food-wise, I made myself a blended shake consisting of bananas, a bit of chocolate protein powder, a packet of chocolate breakfast shake (well-balanced nutritionally), some ice, a little water, a bit of Silk almond milk, and top it off with a raw egg. After it was well blended, It was delicious. Side note, I left some in the fridge for the wife; I let her sleep in from a night out with the girls. Then as always, I jumped on my bike (NASTY) and peeled out for Buck Hill Ski Resort to take on this foe once again.

Gotta love being used in a Race's advertising pictures! I took it to that tire - FLIP! ;)

I am in the Race’s advertising pictures! I took it to that tire – FLIP! 😉

Check-in and Warmup:

Upon arriving, I am in a really good mood.  It was a slightly brisk ride out to Buck Hill and I was feeling really good, but when you ride for 40 minutes or more your legs get a bit stiff.  So I went through the check-in process, which was a bit of a drag but the line went quick enough. One thing that i didn’t like too much were the generic bib numbers that they give you and they had us adhere them with duck tape instead of pins. In addition, there were no T-shirts this year, so you can forget walking away with any swag. But I am not really upset that they went a cost-effective route.  All the proceeds of this race are donated towards Haiti earthquake relief, so at least I know why they are more  frugal.  Upside – parking was free!

Next, I made sure to get some good stretching done before my wave time (@ 10AM). I got a solid warmup and took time on my ankles, as they have been hurting ever since the ToughMudder, likely due to all the downhill impact during the race.  Next, they corralled us together in our wave which were identified by different color wrist bands. Lastly and perhaps my biggest gripe is that they did not provide a timing chip and so the race was not technically timed.

Race Experience – Green Wave

After the necessary precautionary speech our wave was let out of the gate.  Normally I shoot right to the front, but this time I figured it would make most sense to not gas myself right away.  Within the first mile I was only behind 3 other guys; two were military and one was a younger kid (and man he was quick).

The obstacles for this year’s CampTITAN were weak at best. They consisted of several ‘mud mounds’ and some army crawl activities and of course the 8-9 foot walls that you had to pull yourself over.  None of the obstacles I thought were very difficult but the overall course itself was the biggest challenge.  There were six different paths in which you had to go from the bottom of Buck Hill to the very top and then back down.  It really tested the strength and endurance of your legs.

Remember those three guys that I said were ahead of me?  Well I took the marines out pretty much at the same time as I was scaling one of the tough uphill stretches of the course.  The younger guy was a formidable competitor, It took me until approximately the 2 to 2.5 miles into the course before I surpassed him.  It was the 20 lbs sandbag that we had to carry up the hill and back down that seemed to take it out of him.  I passed him on the way down and never looked back again.  I was on a roll and wasn’t about to give up the lead.  The last ascent of Buck Hill seemed unending and when I finally hit the apex I “Rocky danced” for a couple of seconds and then hit the decent.  The rest is history, I blew through the finnish gate – 1st in my Green Wave!

The feeling of completing this race was really good, it was really mentally challenging and pushed you to remain positive and keep putting one foot in front of other the whole time.  When I finished I got a pretty cool dog tag as my medal of completion.  I will add it to the stack from the many races that I have laid to rest!

Overall Race Experience: B-

I think I did it in about 32 minutes, but without the timing chip I cannot be sure.  I had a decent time on the cource, however,  this years obstacles were lacking and hope that they focus a bit more on that piece. Greater participant / fan crowd base would have been nice too.  Another one down for the 2013 season!

Meet NASTY

Hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy posting to it!

Immediately after I saw her, sat on her and heard her deep-bass exhaust I knew she had to be mine. I speak of none other than my beautiful motorcycle, NASTY! Meet her for yourself…

Sitting on my bike nasty as I look out over Devils Peak, SD. BEAUTIFUL!!!

Sitting on my bike nasty as I look out over Devils Peak, SD. BEAUTIFUL!!!

After recently getting in an accident and having Epiphany temporarily out of commission, I was just a little heart-broken. So, just for S&Gs, I scooped up my daughter Madison and stopped by Hitching Post to see their inventory. Upon walking on the showroom floor I quickly fell in love with an all-black monster of a bike. It was a 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 1000. I was quick to get some assistance from their on hand staff in answering some questions. Come to find out it recently had come in on trade. I wanted it!

This particular bike had a few things going for it that really appealed to me.

  • It had StompGrip on both sides of the tank (which helps conveniently hold you in place).
  • The bike had a nice set of black frame sliders on the bike; a must if you want to reasonably protect your fairings if the bike is laid down or is tipped over.
  • It had the stock foot shift lever and bracket fitted with a nice aftermarket piece which is easily adjusted for the comfort of the rider.
  • And my favorite, it was fitted with an aftermarket M4 exhaust system which eliminated the catalytic converter box under the bike (making it look sleek and sound like a pissed-off diesel truck).

With every upside there was probably an equal and opposite downside right? Well in this case, kinda. A couple of things to note:

  • The sticker asking price was a bit higher than what I wanted to spend (around $8,200).
  • The bike was only 2 years old and had about 12K miles on it (which was kinda high for how new it was at the time), so I knew it had been broken in.

Madison was too funny, she was like yeah dad you should buy it… hahaha! Beyond her approval, I felt that since the bike had fresh meat (new tires) and had been looked over and serviced recently that it would be a decent purchase. I just had to negotiate and provide a down payment. Luckily for me, I still had majority of my payout from the insurance claim on Epiphany and was able to roll that into this note. So once a good financing (i.e. low APR) arrangement was settled she was mine.

Here is my little girl pretending to be like Dad!

Here is my little girl pretending to be like Dad!

Over the course of the next couple of riding seasons I was able to do my little tweaks to add a bit of flare and functionality to her. Beyond a regimented maintenance plan the add-ons included: a smoke windscreen, a new reaper tank pad, some silver rim tape, an installed phone charger under the rear seat, matching silver Suzuki or skull/reaper decals, a RAM mount (to conveniently hold my cellphone), rear passenger footpeg brackets were powder coated gloss black, rear license plate bracket, and my favorite flare – LED lights that make her brightly glow (purchased from Joe Florida and self installed.

Looking nice with some LED lights installed!

Looking nice with some LED lights installed!

The coolest thing about my bike is the nice inner city functionality. I can quickly get from A to B and have fun doing it. NASTY has become a normal way to get to the office, the gym, or to the lake to train. She has also seen many fun sites (of which I will blog about soon) and she now has 35K+ miles… Now that’s riding!

Never the less, I wanted to formally introduce her in all of her glory. I will do my very best to keep the shiny side up so I can blog much more about our adventures!