Monday, March 31, 2014

NWA Spring Classic Road Race

Superb weather + classic race course = Ozark goodness. 72 miles on flat, to rolling scenic roads. Wind was the major protagonist of the day. I have always (except last year) really enjoyed this race. It's a well run event and the proceeds go to the Fayetteville Wheelmen/Athlete Forward U23/junior development program. Three Happy Cows Cycling had eleven guys in the category 3 race. Our team plans included me trying to get away early. Received & executed...I set off at the first turn after neutral. Tyler K from Competitive Industries came across and jumped right in. The gap was solid. Eventually we could see a small group coming across and I knew at least one of my teammates would be in tow. Tyler and I decided to ease up. The group consisted of Scott W & Danny H two of my teammates, two Walmart, one Tulsa Wheelmen & one Air Assurance (8 total). This was a good mixture of teams so immediately I knew it could go the distance. My 'new' teammates for the time being started working well together and before we knew it the peloton was long gone. Another reason bicycle racing is so interesting. Rivals work together to increase the chances of a smaller group staying away. This puts the responsibility on any team not represented to bring it back. Near the end of the first lap my teammate Scott W rolled up and said a small group was coming across. Again, I knew at least one of our teammates would be in tow. We (3HC) started easing off the gas half a notch. Sure enough about midway on the second lap one Soundpony, one Tulsa Wheelmen and my teammate Curtis L made it across. With Soundpony almost all the teams were represented. Four 3HC's in the break was a solid position to be in. Then Curtis rolled up and said his front tire was flat. So I gave him my wheel. He's been riding lights out lately. I got passed shortly thereafter by two more of my teammates who were trying to go across. It was a long while before I saw the peloton/wheel truck. My teammate Nathan B dropped back and turned himself inside out to get me back on. To be honest I didn't think we were going to make it and I dreaded the thought of riding by myself in the wind. One selfless act leading to another. Whether you are in the winning break or back in the bunch it's pretty cool how teamwork and sacrifice play out in road racing. That's one of the reasons I enjoy this sport so much. Just that experience alone left me satisfied. Mark G and Michael K did make it across. As far as the winning break goes Scott W took 2nd, Curtis L 4th, Danny H 7th and Michael K 10th. The boys said they made some tactical mistakes on the last lap. Nutrition and hydration also played a big part but all in all we are a bunch of Happy Cows. Congrats to Duncan W (Walmart Cycling Team) on a well deserved win and thanks to the good folks who put on a great race.

Great turnout. Over 300 participants.


Plenty O'sunshine.

Rolling on a flat tubular.

Back with the bunch.

Scott W for 2nd. (photo by Joel R)

Classic for a classic. Let's Eat!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Ride Notification 3/28

Awwwww shucky ducky now! Three weekends in a row of bicycle racing. Good luck to everyone competing in the NWA Spring Classic this Sunday. May all your stretchy pants fit well, reduce drag & save watts.

WHF Ride
Wheels hot @ 8:00 from Brits & Turks. With the race on Sunday, the plan is to take it easy and get in about 1.5-2 hours of saddle love at a chill social pace. Route: probably a version of Savoy Loop.

Also! NWA Spring Classic recon ride with the Athlete Forward crew. They are meeting at 11am at the start/finish line (Prairie Grove High School).

SUNDAY SUNDAY...SUNDAY. The NWA Spring Classic is what's on tap. One of the great courses for bicycle racing in the Natural State. If you are a first time racer this a perfect course/race for getting your feet wet. Over 200 already registered. Click on the link above for more information. The event is still in need of some volunteers. Please contact Dori Hornbaker 479-387-1569 

12:30 ONYX Coffee Lab ride. Probably pretty sparse with the race going on.

Ride fast, be safe & steer clear of getting caught wearing stretchy your room...for fun,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pre-Registration. What's the Point?

Is it just me or does it seem like most races are penalizing for not pre-registering online. What's the penalty? Entry fee increases $5-$10 if you don't commit early. I realize most promoters want to get as many participants committed as soon as possible since they have money & labor invested in running an event. I realize weather can totally ruin participant turnout so it's always a risk for the promoter. But the customer/participant getting penalized seems like the wrong approach to me. Shouldn't it be the other way around? How about a small discount for pre-registering online. The promoter gets commitment by way of dollars and the racer catches a small break for committing early. I might be missing something but it seems like pre-reg., only benefits the promoter and is used to penalize it's potential participants. What are the benefits for the racer? Is it any quicker? In most cases not. You still have to wait in line to sign a waiver and get your number. Not much difference. Is it cheaper? Don't even get me started on the fee for registering online. Insult to injury.

Now...having said that I'm super grateful that we have so many quality events in Arkansas and over the last couple of years new people with great ideas for races are promoting new events. That's really cool and a sign that the sport is growing. For me, it's not about a couple of bucks saved. More so, it's the feeling of getting pushed around over a couple of bucks. When the dust settles, participants are the customers. We are paying to play and someone is making money. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Maybe I'm way off base. Leave a comment below.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Bike Route Highway 71 Classic

Highway 71 Classic is a must do around these parts. It's a fundraiser ride for the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks. What is the BCO? Well now, glad you asked. "Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks, a 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission of creating a more bike-friendly Northwest Arkansas through education programs for all users of the road and advocacy for bike infrastructure" (BCO website). Click on the link above to find out more about the BCO. If you ride a bicycle in NWA chances are these folks have helped make that a more enjoyable experience. BCO partnered with some great sponsors for this event. Places I shop and eat at regularly. A big thanks to the BCO for putting on a great ride and for all the advocacy work they do. Good times.

Registration at the Greenhouse Grille. Have you had the fried mushrooms yet?

The Bike Route. Always PRO.

Two incredible inventions. The wheel of course and the bicycle. 

Great mixture of cyclists. Common denominator? Bike riding!

Paxton Roberts, Executive Director.

Fast group. Cold start.

Refuel stop at the midway point in Mountainburg.

More bikes.

No more photos from this point on. Why? I was too busy suffering. Ever have one of those days when it feels like someone flipped a switch and the power just shuts off. Big thanks to the small group that towed me back to Fayetteville.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Avoca Road Race

Three Happy Cows Cycling Team rolled up to Rogers to participate in the Avoca Road Race series put on by Jason Evans (Walmart Cycling Team). These local training races are great for the local cycling community. If you are a cyclist who has wondered what racing is like but the bigger regional races are a little too intimidating I encourage you to jump in one of these events. Smaller fields with folks who already kinda know each other is a way better introduction. 3HC focuses on building race fitness, team tactics and communication which is more challenging in the bigger races. And of course we want to win! A big thanks to Jason Evans for putting on the series. If you missed this one don't worry another race is coming up. Click here to find out more.

Three Nine Happy Cows.

Pretty good turn out.

Jason Evans (promoter) on the right.  Ben C (far left) must already be tired, his tongue is hanging out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekend Ride Notification 3/21

Well folks, the dust has settled from last weekends races. Guess what? We are going to kick it right back up again! With two great Fayetteville events.

Iron Pig Festival has something for runners & cyclists. For some, they get to run, bike..wait for again. For others it's a straight up test of truth in the time trial. Click here to find out more.

WHF Saturday Ride
Wheels Hot @ 8 from Brits & Turks. 46 miles, about 3 hours of saddle love. We will preview part of the NWA Spring Classic course. Click here for route details.

Alllllll yeaaah! It's The Bike Route Highway 71 Classic. Distances for everyone and even a gravel road option . See below. Don't miss it! Click the link above for more information & to register.

The Bike Route Highway 71 Classic Flyer

Ride fast, be safe & steer clear of missing out,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Promoting a Bicycle Race Part 2

Three Happy Cows Cycling Team just finished promoting the Fayetteville Grand Prix & Hell's Kitchen races. Once a year the team pulls together to give back to the sport we love. It really does take a team effort to make this all happen. Unfortunately we cannot control the weather... A HUGE thank you to our volunteers who sacrificed time & equipment to make all of this happen. A HUGE thank you to our sponsors. A HUGE thank you to the racers. Your passion for cycling was evident. So cool to be apart of all this. 

To read a recap through the eyes of PRO rider Stephan Hall (Incycle-Predator) please click here for a link to Cycling Illustrated. 

This is what the back of a race a promoters vehicle looks like.

Bottom of the Hell's Kitchen climb.

HK promoter Mark G getting in the thick of it. This year was particularly terrible.  

Making friends with local Arkies is important.

Switching gears. The Fayetteville Grand Prix was held at a spectacular venue. A HUGE thanks to Mel Collier for allowing us to use CDS Farms & Motorsports Park.

Masters field...going up.

FGP promoter Nathan B having a chat.

I think the moto refs had as much fun as the bike racers.

Super backdrop.

At the crest about to...

bomb the descent.

Going, going...


Last corner before the start/finish.

Ben U hamming it up.

Danny H doing everything to cheat the wind.

Winner winner chicken dinner.

Three Happy Cows Yogurt was a huge hit among bike racers, spectators & kids. Click the link, like them on Facebook to see when they will hit grocery shelves near you.

Big thanks to Greg Martin for bringing the Arvest grill and feeding a bunch of hungry folks. He's a regular on the Saturday ride (when it's not hunting season).

It was cool to watch racers negotiate this high speed corner.

JV in no man's land chasing for 3rd in category 4.


FGP promoter Jason B leading the bunch.

Tons of great shots on this course.

The Captain has a go.

BMC chases. Came down to a two team duel. Super interesting race regarding tactics.

Curtis L for the win!

Even the kiddos had a great time.

UCI continental team Incycle-Predator dominated the PRO field.

BikeRace from Patrick Carter on Vimeo.

And then...

all Hell (frozen version) broke loose.

The old white church, saving us from the elements.

The coveted pitchfork. Super cool (& practical) awards provided by Creative Awards, Inc. Are you in need of awards for an event? Click here to find out more about Creative Awards, Inc.

We have a super USAC officiating crew in NWA.

Bike racer turned corner marshal for the day.



Suffering & victory.

Johnny Law, a regular on the Saturday ride raced both days with great results.

Racers came across the line in shock. It was amazing to see.

I thought this STRAVA ride title was appropriate.