HOLY SMOKES– I have to say that Sunday was way more than I expected. To be honest I wasn’t sure what the event would be like (turnout, course, finish times etc.). I did my best to build what I thought would be a challenging course, but still be ‘fun’ (one that I personally would want to ride). I wanted to include checkpoints to keep people honest on the course, but also add a scavenger hunt to the event. I pictured more of a journey than a race. People took it both ways. I was surprised to see the number of people
who ‘raced’ the course. I thought it was awesome. My perspective of what the event might/could be has shifted a bit(and I’m cool with that). I am humbled by all the positive thank you’s, high fives, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and all around congratulations. I love doing things like this, and it only makes it more satisfying when people are grateful for the work. Native Lands Classic will be back next year for sure. I can only hope and pray for similar road conditions and the white puffy clouds that graced us on Sunday (next year there will be sunscreen at checkpoint #1….don’t miss it!).
SUPER SUPPORT– Also, a huge shoutout to our event sponsors. DoubleShot Coffee hooked it up Sunday morning. Amazing coffee, and amazing pastries (I think I had 6 donuts). Shelly Womack baker extraordinaire really put together an amazing spread! They also provided our winners with some great prizes. City Cycles in Jenks for their support as well. They helped a ton with registration, event prizes (see Stanley flask, fill Stanley flask), and course support. McNellies Group hooked up the grub, and it was good eh? Fajita bar and beer! What more is there? Thank you to McNellies for great food, and their support. Last, but not least, Prairie Artisan Ales. Thank you for the great start and finish venue, and of course the great libations. The weather could not have been better for some porch sittin’ and beer drinkin’. Some truly delicious brew. It is sponsors like these that make events possible, and fun to attend. I am always appreciative of support like this! Please stop in to DoubleShot, City Cycles, any McNellies Group restaurant, or Prairie Brewery and say thank you. Thank you for supporting cycling in Oklahoma, and grass roots events like these in Oklahoma!
WINNERS– I think everyone was a winner in some way. I know that sounds cheesy, but really, if you were on your bike that day and had a post ride beer, you won! Some however were faster than others, and crossed the line in a time that was the ‘fastest’. Our team winners were Team 3P for our ladies, and Team Tulsa Wheelmen for our men. For our solo racers, Ben Watkins was the champion (more on that in a few). Congratulations on a speedy pursuit.
I made some mistakes. These happen at events. I am learning, and will be correcting them next year. Some of the mistakes however were not as bad as I originally thought, I just had to shift my thinking. The only ‘downer’ (if there was one) of the day was how the ‘solo’ race turned out. It was not a downer on the part of the racers, but more of how I thought/expected the race to go. Starting the group in mass was a mistake. I take the blame and do not fault the riders. To ride solo is impossible unless you are willing to concede victory and let the guy in front of you just ride away. This means that people will bunch up, attacks will happen, riders will get brought back (wash-rinse-repeat). When the group came over the hill my first though was that the riders were working together, clearly breaking the rules. Yes they were riding together, but not with the intention of making the race easier/faster. It was the opposite in fact. Attacks were launched, brought back, launched again…and again (to get away). People slowly began to break down and this is when the separation started to happen. People may see this as a clear violation of the rules, and it was in part, but as a racer myself, I can see how this played out. Back to the ‘winner’. Ben Watkins did not have the fastest time. He did however meet every checkpoint. Which was a big part of the event. Ben also finished in a stout time. Not like he was 35th and won by default. Ben raced a great race, and did exactly what he was needed. Congratulations Ben!! Official finish times for all solo riders, and teams are listed HERE. These are based on total time on course (like a time trial).
I leave you with a few great shots from the day (found HERE). Thank you James Gann for the photos, and all who Instagram’d their endeavor. Thank you all for your support and attendance. If you enjoyed the event, please stay tuned for the Native Lands Tour. Similar roads, and a similar journey. Slower though. Consider it a ramble sandwich with bluegrass music, steaks, camping, beer, and good times in the middle.