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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had a great time at cowbell this year. The course was great and the event was very well run as usual. I liked the trail quite well and the people responsible for laying out the course deserve a nod. Fast, flowy single track, one climb worth noting and a lot of power "roadie friendly" open field style trail (still all single track though).

Last minute plans had me on a co-ed duo team with one of my BioWheels' team mate's wife, a very strong rider. So Megan and I decided to try out the co-ed thing. Getting to this event has always been a bit of a hassle as it's not far enough away to warrant a hotel room but just far away so that a 10 am start time had us all rolling out of bed by 5am and out of town (asheville) by 6am (ish).

Once we got to the event I have to admit we all cringed a bit as well saw the dreaded powerlines that seem to be every where! Remember last year's staging area? After cringing we realized that we wouldn't be staged directly under the lines and that we would have a great vantage point over the course - this gave us a tremendous spot to set up camp because we could see our team mates arriving on every lap.

The race it self went well for us. We started strong and ended strong. I knew that I had to save energy during the peak "heat hours" and that I would feel good once the sun started to drop a bit. That was indeed the case. Weather threatened a few times but we never saw more than a few drops of rain - a little more rain would have helped with the heat and the dust factor. I was actually hoping for a bit of rain myself as I don't perform as well in the 80-90 degree weather.

After the first 2 laps we found our selves in second place. The first place team was strong and they would either need to pop or have a mechanical for us to get ahead of them. For some reason they chose to drop out the the game at a little past the half way mark. Not sure exactly why but I know that they were watching their little ones while passing the timing chip. I'm sure that if they had someone to watch the youngins they may have stayed in? Either way that pretty much put us in first and we just rode smart for the rest of the day to maintain our 1 lap lead over the now second place team.

I was getting ready to do a final 2 laps but after the first night lap the race was called due to threatening weather. There were a couple of really big thunder claps and I think with all the open field trails the organizers decided to play it safe. I don't think many people complained about wrapping it up a little early - plus it got every body home a little quicker.

My ONLY MAJOR GRIPE: Ok, none of us do these races purely for the prizes, I'll say that right up front. I do it for the experience that can only be found in a true high quality race setting (like this one) - but for the love of god promoters, enough with the crappy swag. Megan and I walked away from this first place performance with two t-shirts, I got a pair of leg warmers, and a hat that doesn't even fit me.

I know that this was a charity event as well but I still have to scratch my head a bit at what goes through peoples minds when the slowest person on the course was awared a case of beer, a prize that I would have been quite happy with, read: actually be able to use.

all in all though a good time and the first time I've seen the podium in a bit, so I'm taking it. Keep it up - but put a little more thought in to what you're handing out to the winners please.
 

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"Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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Great job Ian! Prizes do sound a bit sorry. Always nice to get at least a pair of tires or some swaggy sunglasses for the time and money.
 

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consistent default champ
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Well you may have seen my husband out there running on the first lap (and everyone else's second) with his bike. He got two flats and only had one tube and CO2. People did offer him tubes but he didn't know why it went flat twice (no thorns or anything in tire) so he said no thanks and did his best to run the course with his bike. Bad way to start the race. I think that left us about two or three laps behind everyone and we stayed in last place all day.
It was a good time. There were a few spots on the trail (two dips with skinnies in a row and then the next dip with the crazy roots on the other side) I did not attempt to ride but otherwise it was a fun course. We do not have any elevated bridges or log piles here at my local parks so I enjoyed it!
 

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I felt for all you 12hr folks out there. It was all I could do to finish the 6hr duo, (which we won):>). It was my second race and I was pretty pleased to win, even if it was the wimpy 6hr category. The heat was unbelievable and the dust was worse.

What was up with those gigantic bontrager fitted hats in the swag bag? If they were going to give away hats, why fitted hats? I dig the cuzzies though, they always come in handy.
 

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plume said:
My ONLY MAJOR GRIPE: Ok, none of us do these races purely for the prizes, I'll say that right up front. I do it for the experience that can only be found in a true high quality race setting (like this one) - but for the love of god promoters, enough with the crappy swag. Megan and I walked away from this first place performance with two t-shirts, I got a pair of leg warmers, and a hat that doesn't even fit me.

I know that this was a charity event as well but I still have to scratch my head a bit at what goes through peoples minds when the slowest person on the course was awared a case of beer, a prize that I would have been quite happy with, read: actually be able to use.
Since I don't know if the promoters will chime in or not I'll give my unsolicited opinion:

I do know the beer was donated by Wake and Bake racing (sponsored by Terrapin). They had a hand in determining who took it home. Red lantern prizes are always kinda fun. Not exactly a goal I shoot for, but at least spreading the love.

Entry fee for the duo class was only $60 per person going up to $70 and then $80 as it got closer to the race. That's pretty cheap for a 12 hour race, and almost what you pay for a couple laps at that NORBA shindig at Sugar.

So anyways, a lot of money went to charity, and there was a cash payout for the solo field. That's where the money goes, so what's up with the schwag? Dunno. Check out the list of sponsors (http://www.cowbellchallenge.org/sponsors.html), and I think there was a fair representation of what they had to offer.

I give up on predictable prizes. I've paid $65 for a 24 hour race and walked home with $500 for first. I've paid $135 for a hundie, got second, and walked away with a hoodie. Some folks might remember that I won the 24 Hour Worlds (that cost me $350 to enter, plus hotel, plus gas, plus nutrition), and I went home with a jersey (they actually mailed it to me a few weeks later).

I now just assume that unless prizes are directly posted before the race I will expect absolutely nothing for being on the podium. Hell, I do better when I know there is no money on the line anyways. Big purses tend to mess with my head. Just look at how I did Saturday for example.

I've got a ton of schwag I don't use in my bike room right now. A Race Face ISIS BB, plenty of tire levers, a Cannondale multi-tool that slides into the headtube of a Lefty, two Thomson certificates, an Endless certificate, a bashguard, Tifosis, a Thomson post, grips from numerous manufacturers, a Cane Creek 110 headset, T-shirts, jerseys that don't fit (including my World's jersey... club fit? Seriously), lube I would never put on my bike, and some 26" tires. That's everything I can think of, but probably not everything I've got laying around. That's just the way it works.

I do like races where they call up the riders and let them pick from a schwag table, but determining an order for call ups at a 12/24 would be too difficult to do. WHo's more important, solo SS or duo champs? First place corporate ten man teams or third place women's solo? Dunno.

I think two years ago when I won the SS at the Cowbell I got a jersey, my Cowbell, a water bottle, a T-shirt, and some random other stuff. All I really cared about was the fact that I won a race that I really wanted to win. My son liked the T-shirt, and my nephew liked the bottle. We were all winners. Great success.

Sorry 'bout the rant, but years ago I let my "take home" really affect how I felt about my experience at a race. Eventually I got over it, and I have been back to that promoter's races at least three to four more times. Each time I've been back I've had a great ride, a lousy prize, but a fun time... and that's just what I've come to expect. Even when you say you're not in it for the prizes, but still complain about the prizes, you are setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment in the future.

Great job on the duo win. Wish I coulda/woulda been able to hang around and enjoy the whole race.
 

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Dicky,
Read your race report on your blog. One of my group as well as me also had stomach issues very similar to what you described. I didn't think the course was particulary rooty but I had the same intestinal trouble as you described. It made me wonder if something was in the water out there. Or maybe it was just the heat....
 

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alefak said:
Dicky,
Read your race report on your blog. One of my group as well as me also had stomach issues very similar to what you described. I didn't think the course was particulary rooty but I had the same intestinal trouble as you described. It made me wonder if something was in the water out there. Or maybe it was just the heat....
It wasn't so much the roots as it was the speed I was going (or not going sometimes) and the bumpy fields combined with a poor gear selection and a few other factors that I've been considering including pace and heat. I've got lots to write about tomorrow. I think I nailed down my errors, and I won't repeat them any time soon (but probably next year).

I did wake up covered in sweat at 3:30AM on Sunday. I most definitely did something stupid on Saturday.

I drank water and Gatorade/water mix from home, but oddly enough when I poured out a half empty bottle that should have just had water it in something blue came out. :(

I have no idea where it came from or if I drank it, or if someone just through it into my pits, and I thought it was mine when I cleaned up?.?.

I got lotsa coulda, shoulda, woulda's going through my brain. I am certain I never woulda beat that guy from Cali. Dude was a workhorse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
teamdicky said:
Sorry 'bout the rant, but years ago I let my "take home" really affect how I felt about my experience at a race.
Nah, I don't even view that post as a rant at all. It's just an expensive proposition to go to races these days, we all know that - and if you choose to attend mtb events you should be willing to except the "smile, handshake, ribbon and tube" that most promoters give out.

I got a msg from the promoter telling me that they didn't get all the prizes that they hoped for in time. So it would seem very very fair in telling you all that.

I would plan for this event next year for sure.

I would recommend this event to any one.

I appreciate every thing that these folks have done up to this point.

:thumbsup:

sorry if the original post seemed petty, hopefully the major message was that I had fun!
 

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plume said:
sorry if the original post seemed petty, hopefully the major message was that I had fun!
Not petty

Even if I've told myself to accept the stuff I get, I still get a little tweaked when I feel something is off. Probably human nature I guess.

No details, but within the last year I've had my forehead crinkle, even if Budha told me to put such things aside.

Stupid fat man.
 

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I have to say the Burn seemed to have good prizes. The guys camped beside me, a 2 man team, won 3 Vassago frames. In February, I took 3rd in a Singlespeed race. The prize ? An LX cassette. For the SS class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
shishku said:
I have to say the Burn seemed to have good prizes. The guys camped beside me, a 2 man team, won 3 Vassago frames. In February, I took 3rd in a Singlespeed race. The prize ? An LX cassette. For the SS class.
classic!
 
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