Rolling into September with all kinds of emotions...

I stuck to my goal of riding on dirt only - or at least mountain bikes only - for the month of August. It was a fairly light month for me on the bike compared to the rest of the year due to spending so many hours doing trail work at Lake Ahquabi to get it prepped for the race I host - The Mullet Fall Classic.

Relieved with my fellow race host, Bob Matthews, after we finished the final marking of the course the day before the race.


My month of August on the bike...

I am Mountain Biking Only in August!

August 2nd 18.6 Miles -- Duration 1:18:48
August 4th 6.5 Miles -- Duration 00:44:53
August 5th 9.4 Miles -- Duration 00:41:53
August 6th 4.93 Miles -- Duration 00:22:40 (warm-up)
August 6th 19.6 Miles -- Duration 1:31:01 (MTB race)
August 7th 6.31 Miles -- Duration 00:52:02 (dirt lap)
August 7th 18.4 Miles -- Duration 1:12:52 (pavement MTB ride)
August 9th 13.22 Miles -- Duration 1:14:01 (taper reps L3/5 on dirt)
August 12th 8.55 Miles -- Duration 00:34:28
August 13th 6.79 Miles -- Duration 1:02:31
August 14th 22.46 Miles -- Duration 1:51:51 (MTB race)
August 19th 7.24 Miles -- Duration 00:46:00
August 20th 11.6 Miles -- Duration 00:58:18
August 21st 21.68 Miles -- Duration 2:18:19 (MTB race)
August 23rd 6.84 Miles -- Duration 00:42:23
August 24th 13.9 Miles -- Duration 1:56:13
August 30th 8.24 Miles -- Duration 00:44:09
August 31st 30.9 Miles -- Duration 1:55:22

August Total Miles: 235.16
August Total Duration: 20:47:44

Suffice it to say, this year of hosting The Mullet was draining to put on for me as we celebrated the 9th year of the event. Why draining? For one, it was due to the weather leading up to it which looked like nothing but rain until 48 hours before when things changed in favor of an excellent race day course. The second reason revolved around the addition of a Hog Roast. I took the risk to add a Hog Roast to the event since it was our year end event for the series, and series awards would be presented. Tara and I had been to a great event in Colorado last summer with roasted meat - and everyone loved it. That's really where the impetus was to bring such goodness and fun to my event in Iowa - at least to give it the old college try.

The gamble being - would enough people come to cover the expense of chip timing, portable toilets, USAC Officials, beverages, permits, and the - what proved to be controversial for some - Hog Roast?


The intent was not to be controversial at all, but to provide a good end-user experience for our IMBCS season finale. We had done a potluck the last few years, and I thought it was a nice time for a change - especially with the move of the race from October to August to account for the Cyclocross race schedule change due to the Jingle Cross World Cup. I've been to enough events over the years including many that always include food in the entry fee price (Dakota Five-0 being a prime example of that) to know that I wasn't doing something so different than other events who include food as part of the experience. Food trucks and vendors are not allowed at Lake Ahquabi due to the canoe shop's concession stand contract. Although I would have liked to use a vendor (although most charge a minimum that if not met through sales, I would have to cover the gap) so that those who wanted to eat could do so if they wanted to pay for the food - it just simply isn't allowed at this particular state park.

I provided sandwiches in the early years of the race, and the cost of the food was indeed included in the entry fee price. Expenses have always been included in the entry fee price, but it was the Hog Roast this year which bumped the price up $7 per racer over last year (I covered the remaining $3 out of my pocket) that created the issue. I truly thought the price of a fresh hog roast buffet, beer, water, tea, soft drinks wouldn't be a problem to enjoy for $7. Heck, a simple grilled cheese sandwich the previous week at the Sugar Bottom Scramble was $5 from the vendor (and that didn't include a beverage or any sides). We had beans, freshly made cole slaw on site, corn bread, homemade BBQ sauce, a bun, all the pig one could down, beer, tea, water, watermelon, soft drinks. Not bad for a mere $7 - or so I thought....

Not only was I going to include food in the entry price, but also each racer's choice of a t-shirt, hat, cap, or pint mug...



All of these were included in my attempt to enhance the end-user experience.

Several balked online in a public forum at the principle of me adding food into the entry fee cost of a race. So be it. The criticism has been taken, and participant numbers may indeed have been down because of it. We had 128 racers, 6 runners, and 2 in the Kids Race - plus quite a few non-racer friends, family, and significant others that enjoyed the Hog Roast for a donation. It will all weigh in on the future for decisions of what I provide the racers, or if I even move forward with hosting an event again. Certainly, after 9 full years of doing it, if the fun of it all gets sucked out of being a host causes me to even be discussing this openly, then it is time to evaluate the premise of continuing. I'll let all the dust settle, and my energy return before making any decisions.

The amount of garbage we had to pick up - even though we had 2 large garbage cans and garbage bags easily available at the race this year - after the awards ceremony was nearly overwhelming. Some didn't even make an attempt to carry their plates, cans, bottles, etc... to the garbage cans. Several of us launched into the process and picked up everything until darkness arrived. Coming out the next day to do yet another clean sweep in the sunlight to make sure we left the place better than we found it also had me playing more of a garbage man than I felt should be needed. The parking lot was full of garbage, and the first 300 yards of the course was littered with gel wrappers. I know that is all part of the process of being a race promoter, but the task seems to grow year over year dealing with the garbage. I only mention it because it all contributes to my thought process of answering the question of "why do I do this" and do I want to do this again. One of our new beverage sponsors - Oskar Blues Brewery - has their motto on every can "pack it in, pack it out". 

We may have to have everyone learn the "pack it in, pack it out" motto next season.

The 27 who lined up to do the 4 hour Marathon in the humid mid-80's temperature weather...


IMBCS Co-Director Cam Kirkpatrick, and my wife Tara enjoying the first sample of the 139 pound pig once it was out of the roaster... 


I haven't really had time to digest all of the data and accounting yet as I jumped right into the first day of school at Simpson the day after the race. The next day, we had to say goodbye to our beloved family pets, Max and Zoey.

Max - at age 12 - developed a mass in his sinuses/head about three weeks ago that was causing a lot of blood to come out of his nose. We did everything we could with the veterinarian with tests, biopsy, antibiotics, Prednisone - and it all led to the reality he had a mass that was getting worse. He had a rough night on Monday, and Tuesday morning was bleeding pretty heavily out of his nose. 

He was not feeling well and I snapped this picture for my own memory...


You can see the tear streaks in both of his eyes (especially his right eye which is the side the mass was on).  That tearing is indicative of the cancerous mass he had developed.

Zoey, at age 13, had been kept alive for nearly 18 months on very expensive medicine for her Cushing Disease, as well as pain medications for her rear hips/legs (could barely use them). We had decided when Max's health declined - if she was still alive - that it was time to provide a dignified, humane, and painless end for both of them. That day finally arrived on Tuesday.

After we fed them some of the leftover Hog Roast from the race, and some treats - we took them to the Vet for the final goodbye.


Talk about a void in one's companionship and daily routine with both of our beloved pets gone!!!! It was tough, but the Vet assured us we were making the right decision for both of them based on their condition, health, age, and ailments.

In spite of that - it was hard to say good-bye.  Those who have been there, understand.

Compounding the emotional past week or so, we are out in California at this moment visiting my father-in-law who has received a dire diagnosis and is in the hospital. He begins Hospice care tomorrow. Again, those who have been there, understand.

It has been an emotional journey the past few weeks. The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day, and on and on, but for now - we are going through what we are going through this Labor Day Weekend.

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