First things first:
Thanks to all who made the drive to Lake Ahquabi State Park south of Indianola. It was nice to see new faces and faces of racers that we don't normally see at all of the IMBCS races in Iowa. Having enjoyed racing in events put on by many others in the IMBCS for the past 3 seasons I felt it was my turn to give something back and host an event. Now I know what it is you all go through to get an event up and running and my respect has grown for those who host.
In my energy drained state of mind and body after the race, I forgot to mention a couple of people yesterday during the awards ceremony. MOB Racing associated folks, namely. Christy Varnum and Travis Jass did a great job of dealing with my Word Document home-made timing sheets, cork board/thumb tack results board, Wal-Mart special stop watches and getting all of the data entered as each racer buzzed between the trees, around the beach shelter and off into the woods. Thanks Christy and Travis for your excellent work at the timing table. My bad for not mentioning you yesterday. I apologize.
Nick Woolley of MOB Racing came down on Saturday to spend a few hours doing final trail grooming and course marking with my son and I along with a college student of mine named Erik Lickiss. Thanks Nick for driving down from Webster City to use a rake, a hoe, a staple gun and help with the final grooming. And thank you Erik for helping us out on the trail and holding cars in the parking lot during the race as racers came screaming down the old paved road to the finish line.
I neglected to take any photographs for this Blog as I was milling around. Again, my bad as I found it hard to do everything. I should have assigned that task to one of the volunteers. I think the photographer from the Indianola Record Herald will have some shots available to all eventually. You saw him out on the course in a couple of locations shooting us. How many of us had our tongues hanging out at the top of the train track tie climb where he was positioned during one lap?
Here I sit the day after my first attempt at hosting a mountain bike race feeling totally spent from the energy required during the final week to bring everything to fruition. I haven't hiked that much in years as I made my way around the course day after day clearing brush, raking, trimming branches, marking the course and double checking everything. I learned a lot in the process, but my main goals for the event were to provide a fast and fun race venue that was a little different in our series to add some variety and to develop a good relationship with the park manager to make sure I did everything correctly the first time around in case of hosting future events at Lake Ahquabi. Hopefully, both goals were met.
Paul and Christy Varnum, Chris Hansen, my wife and I spent a few hours taking down all the course marking stakes, signs, tape and packing up all of the food and equipment after the awards ceremony. Thank you Paul, Christy and Chris.
I spent Monday riding the course and making sure that all markings and all orange arrows were removed from the grass and gravel. The chalk marks on the pavement will wash away with a rain or two. Outside of the slight trail mark we wore into the grass sections we had to cross, there is literally no trace that we were ever there. That's good in terms of holding future events at Lake Ahquabi. The entire trail was so littered with limbs, branches, fallen trees, honeysuckle, twigs, big chunks of mud, etc... that 2 months ago I didn't see how I was going to be able to get it in shape. Raking my yard will now seem like a breeze after doing 6.75 miles of trail a few times this summer. ;-) I will mention that the section after the train track tie climb was filled with logs crossing the trail that had been there for at least a couple of years as those trails are no longer maintained by the DNR. I really was planning on them being a part of the race, but I think the DNR felt it was better to remove them from the trail for maintenance and liability reasons. Oh well, it made that section even faster and the climbs and descents were hard enough without them being filled with logs.
I learned a lot by hosting an event for my firs time. In an effort to improve, I would welcome any comments and criticism or opinions on how to make it better for next year. While the race is still fresh in your minds, please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts on what you liked or disliked or offer any suggestions on improvement for next time around. I would appreciate that as I am still learning.
Thanks again to all the racers and all of my volunteers for a successful MOB the Quab!
Time to catch up on some sleep and recovery.