As any reader of my blog knows, I’ve just spent the past weekend crewing for a buddy of mine in an ultra bicycle race in Utah. The race is called the Hoodoo 500. It’s put on by Planet Ultra, which is owned by my friend Debbie Bowling. She’s been in and around the ultra game for years. She knows how to put on a world-class event.
For those of you in my reading audience who are not familiar with ultra-style events, let me give you a quick explanation. Ultra means any running or cycling event that goes beyond what any sane person would do.
I’m a fan of this type of athleticism. I compete as often as possible in these events. When I’m not competing, I try to contribute by crewing for a friend in the event. Again, for the uninitiated, these events go on for way past 24 hours in most cases. It’s necessary for a cyclist or runner to have a chase vehicle with crew members who can hand food and water as the participant runs or cycles.
So that’s what I spent my time doing this weekend, crewing for my friend David Holt in southern Utah.
I told you that to tell you this. The Planet Ultra Hoodoo 500 offers plenty to love. You can sign up for it close to the event time. In some races, you must put up your money and sign up several months ahead of time, not knowing if you will even be available at the time.
The event also has a unique voyager class. This is a solo division, but the rider has no crew following and must fend for themselves.
One of the things most people love about this event is that the pre-race meeting the night before is very short. I timed the event from when Debbie said her first words until she concluded with, “I hope everyone has a good race.” It lasted 19 minutes. This allowed racers and crew to put the final preparations together. We also had a good night of sleep before the race started Saturday morning.
As you can imagine, the race course was absolutely beautiful and scenic, offering mountains, bluffs and hoodoos. The scenery is so amazing, cameras never seem to fully capture it.
I love this race and may be back as a crew member or competitor in the near future.
Now for the bad. The only words I can come up with are bad ass. And by that, I mean David Holt, Joel Sothern and Dave Elsberry. Let me explain what these three men did. David Holt, my good friend who I was crewing for, won the event out-right. At 58, he didn’t just win his age group. He beat kids half his age. Joel Sothern, 53, won the Voyager class out-right, beating people half his age. And Dave Elsberry, 59, came in third place, behind Holt. These men prove that age does not matter.
I had breakfast with all three of them this morning. I think Joel and I will start training together. I hope so, he seems like a pretty cool guy.
Now for the ugly. From what I can tell, the people of Utah, for the most part, are idiots. At the very least, they hate cyclists.
They all seem to drive big pickup trucks with diesel engines. They will purposely pull up to a cyclist, let off of the pedal and then punch it to blow a cloud of diesel smoke at the cyclist. They all seem to get as close as they can to the cyclists to let them know they’re not welcome. And then the oddest thing I’ve ever seen, they actually sit on their horns when driving in the opposite direction to let cyclists know they’re not happy to see them.
Then again, I would be pissed off too if I knew I was headed home to eight wives.