Sunday, July 19, 2015

Birthday Challenge

For the past few years, My buddy Ken Saveth and I have celebrated our birthdays--both in July--by doing a bunch of "somethings". When we were 50, we ran 50 miles. When we were 52, we ran across the pedestrian bridge 52 times. (It's shaded, and the breeze off the river made it almost like running in air conditioning.) 
This year, we both turned 56 in July, and he had this idea to do hill repeats up a pretty steep hill along the Creek Turnpike Trail. 

I had checked it out a few days preceding out event, and it was a doozey! In around 320 feet, it climbed 70-80 feet--a steep climb, and a quad-trashing descent.

We set up a tent for shade, and I had a cooler of Gatorade, and a few choice beers. 56 trips would be around 7 miles, and 4200 feet of climb. To keep an accurate count of laps, I had bought a bag of M&Ms and put them in a Solo cup, and to my amazement, there were EXACTLY 56 M&Ms in the bag--a good omen! But actually, I  had my doubts about finishing this given the heat. We were in the shade when we started at 6:30 am, but once the sun was high enough to bear down on the hill, it was sure to get brutal.

We had plenty of company. A group of back packers were training for an upcoming through hike. They marched up and down the hill for an hour.

The view from the top was good. There was also a good breeze there, and as sweaty our shirts were, it was a nice cooling affect.

Brandon and Cameron Plate just FLEW up and down the hill--preparing for their 3-day adventure in Silverton Colorado where they will try to better their 127 miles from last year.. They ended up with 28 up and downs each. 28 + 28 = 56!! That was possibly a sign that we should just hang it up--SOMEONE got their 56. 

K2 already had in 2-3 laps when I started, and after 10 laps, I knew getting 56 was  just not gonna happen. But we began to think outside the box. K2 thought he had 10 as did I. If we did one more for 11 repeats, 5 + 6 = 11. Perfect. we got the "56" covered--kinda-sorta. 

However, my M&M tally showed I had 12 laps. Oh well, it's all good. I'll just call it a DNF. I'll be back later for more repeats--it's a good hill.

Thanks to Michelle Bates, Michael Saveth, the Plates, and Jason Bement who came out to join in on the fun.

Next year, to celebrate 57 years, it's gonna be a chugging challenge.                                                                                                                                      Chug a big bottler of 57 steak sauce, throw up, and then call it good.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Port to Fort #4

The 4th running of the Port to Fort Adventure Race went off with a few last minute changes, and was a spectacular race. I have done all 4 years, and the returning team of Zombie Hors D'oeuevres (Mitch Drummond, Channing Wendt, and I) was back to defend their title of DFL in the long race--a 5 mile-ish trail run with a 40yard swim in DEEP water, and another 5 miles in a canoe, and then a bike race of undetermined distance on a mix of surfaces. It was truly an adventure. 

The starting gun sounded while I was in the porta-potty, and there was a minor misunderstanding as to whether we were supposed to start at 7:00 or 7:15--our fault. So, we started about 7-8 minutes late. 

Since the Arkansas River Navigation Channel is so high due to crazy summer rains, the normal Three Rivers Trail could not be used, and the canoe trip had to be moved from the super wide deep exposed barge-way to the Grand (Neosho) River just below Ft Gibson Dam. Our run consisted of mostly paved road on the shoulder of scenic HWY 80. My pictures here did not turn out well, and I spent most of my time trying to keep a good pace up and did not fiddle with my camera much. Our team had to stay within 100 feet of each other, and Mitch and Channing were in a groove.

Our groove came to a halt when I hit the swim portion. I thought there was gonna by some sort of life vests, which IS allowed, but there were none. I am a very poor swimmer. I sink straight to the bottom, and the creek which flowed into a swollen Grand River was at least 30 feet deep. (I have fished here.) I got into the edge of the water which was instantly over my head, and sat on a submerged tree, just frozen. I was not panicking, but I just was not sure HOW I could get across. One COULD bypass the swim and finish the race, but would not be an official finisher.

Finally, the dude in the kayak loaned me his vest, and Mitch told me to stay afloat and hang on to his foot. He swam and dragged my dead-whale body across, and with this good planning and using the rope to pull us along, we made it. If I did not have shoes, socks, and s a shirt on--and if I had on scuba flippers, I could swim it. I was very humbled and thankful for Mitch's help. He complicated me on facing my fears, and reminded me that we a were a team.

There were a couple of newly created trail sections on the run portion, but most was road running.
We had an ice chest to take with us on the canoe. A good selection of beers, and Gatorade is a must for our team

The river was scenic and shaded for much of the way. In years past when canoeing on the navigation channel, the water seemed still, and we paddled into a headwind every year. Stop paddling to scratch your nose, and you're dead in the water. But this year in this raver, the current was swift. I think our canoe time was faster than our run time.

The new aluminum canoes were so much better than the old heavy fiberglass ones the race used to use. They sat high in the water, but at times it seemed like we might tip over. Mitch had his butt clinched tightly to his seat. I sat in the floor of the canoe to lower our center of gravity.

The river was full and there were several islands. We guessed which way to go at one point, and guessed wrong. It looked like we were hitting a dead end, but saw we could paddle through the woods.

When we popped out of the trees, the old iron bridge was in sight. We beached our canoe here, and headed out for the last leg of the race.

We are novice mountain bikers, but we HAVE practiced a few times on Turkey Mountain ande did a lot better on the bike because of this modest amount of preparation!!

After a technical section of trail, we popped out on the iron bridge seen from the river. Old bridges like this are an endangered species a pleasure to ride.

 The Jean Pierre Chauteau Trail was a 12 mile trek last year, but this year, we rode about 2 1/2 miles on it before getting onto some gravel roads and rural paved roads.

 Channing is just praying we do not have a half dozen flats like we had last year.

 These single lane super narrow bridges are 30 years old, and at one time, this trail was supposed to go all the way from Ft Gibson to the Port of Catoosa. Unfortunately the trail does not get much use and gets pretty overgrown. I think we should schedule group runs here a couple times a year to keep things tromped down.

 Um--guys? There might have been a weight limit on the bridge.

 It got muddier the further we went. I knew it would be. I have worked in Ft Gibson a couple times the past week, and it has rained like CRAZY. The whole town of Ft Gibson has minor flooding all day Thursday. I was surprised there was ANY of the trailz that were ride-able I was ahead of Mitch, and hopped over this small channel of water/mud. Mitch was feeling his oats and tried to ride through it, and went head first over his handlebars and took a good roll in the mud. I heard him laughing and RAN back--not to help him, but to get a good picture.

Not to be outdone, Channing took an end-over as well. Somehow he pulled himself together though and we rode on like champs.

Near the end of the trail portion, we had a 100 yard water crossing. I think this was actually a gravel road that was under water. Mitch and Channing pushed their bikes across, and I decided to ride mine. I made it all the was across, and cleaned all of the caked up mud from my tires, gears, and chain in the process.

Next we had 2-2 1/2 miles of gravel roads that had a mud puddle here and there. We saw that we were catching up to another team and picked up the pace top reel them in. When we hit the pavement with 3 miles to go, we shifted into the higher gears and pedaled like crazy. It felt fast anyway.

We beat our time from last year (Ok, on a shorter course), we beat the heat, and we beat two other teams and a solo racer. 
UPDATE: I have just been told we finished 4th out of 7 teams!!

I had a little to do with this all women's team entering this race. I gave the race glowing reviews,and told them they could do it. Their captain was sick and could not make it, but Jodee and Candy toughed it out, and took home the women's first place team. WTG!!

Thanks to Joel Everett and his army of volunteers for putting this race on, and for devising a course that worked well despite all the heavy rains. I always say after this race that I'll never miss it. Looking forward to next year for Port to Fort #5.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Port to Fort Preview

I'm stoked to do the 4th running of the Port to Fort Adventure Race. I've been on a teem EVERY year, and will never miss it as long as my two feet are fit to use. 

This year has a different route due to high water in the navigational channel. The Three Forks Trail used in the past is underwater in places, but RD Joel Everett is a genius in trail planning and has found a spectacular re-route for us. 

We will begin and end near the old fort. This is where the runners last year boarded their canoes. From there, we'll run North towards Ft Gibson Dam. (See map above)

Joel and Muskogee Running Club members have been hard at work, grooming the trails where they need a little primping--but rest assured they will not be cup-cake easy.

Whereas last years trail run was pancake flat except for descending and ascending into and out of a couple of ravines, this years course runs a similar type route along the Grand (Neosho) River, and runs alongside some steep bluffs that tower above the river. Now if "I" had any say, we would go up and over these said bluffs, and then down then up again. That's how I roll. I have tried to discover the deep dark hidden agenda that Joel has contrived, but have only had very generic answers. :-) 
I suppose that's why it's called an adventure race.

This is part of last year's bike course. This is the Jean Pierre Chouteau Trail. This trail was once a very well established and very long trail extending from Ft Gibson for many miles north and west. Plans were for it to extend all the way to the Port of Catossa. But at the time it was built, trail running and mountain biking had not yet exploded in popularity. Joel and crew spent many days re-cutting and clearing the trail. The trail was not kind to mountain bike tires, and our worthy team had 8-9 flats between us and only 5-6 tubes. Our time suffered, but we just would not quit.

I just loved the bike portion. We had a few creek crossings wit  these old rusty bridges. None of my team had the guts to ride across,  Your mileage may vary.

Now if the water is high--this may be an even greater adventure. And don't worry about being last. Team Zombie Hors d'oeuvres has that place locked up.

Join us at the 2015 Port to Fort Adventure Race.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Have you visited West Turkey Mountain lately?

I am so disgusted with the stupid mentality people of Tulsa have as to littering, and especially dumping. Our playground, our Turkey Mountain (and yes those who want to play the "but it's PRIVATE PROPERTY" card--yes most of it is on the section that was part of the outlet mall site) this beautiful, wild, green, wildlife inhabited piece of land is considered free dumping to some low-life scumbags. 

The pictures below were taken Monday and Tuesday. Three sofas, two TVs, three mattresses, a collection of office furniture, a few tires, several bags of trash (you took the time to bag it and could not put it out by the curb or toss it in the dumpster behind Wal-Mart??), a few piles of construction trash, and numerous piles of limb clippings and leaves.  I almost am ok with leaves and limbs--but usually they manage to toss in a few pieces of trash, plastic bags, and/or tarps with their load.

Click on the link below for some info on the problem of illegal dumping as well as some possible solutions. Then scroll down and look at our beautiful wild green space being crapped on.
Info on illegal dumping




Info on illegal dumping

If the the owners of the property managed by Beeline Properties were willing, I would organize a clean-up day and get volunteers to clean this mess up. I would PAY for a huge dumpster to load all that crap up and be hauled away--IF Beeline Properties would place huge rocks blocking the entry points where these slobs with their pickup trucks dumping their rubbish are getting in. How can we make this happen?