Getting a bunch of mountain bikers together to race bikes, cheer on teammates, drink beer and raise awareness for important stuff like colon cancer prevention. That’s what I wanted to do and it came together as a first-class event!
The MBAA’s team relay race, “Marc in the Park” is a super fun way to boost team camaraderie and racer confidence and it was a perfect opportunity to promote the March campaign for colon cancer awareness.
Thanks to some pretty awesome sponsor support, we had rad schwag to give away while educating the folks out at the race. Northern Arizona Gastroenterology and Forest Canyon Endoscopy had Dr. Hawthorne on site to answer questions, a tutorial life-like colon (not to be confused with life-size) and fun prizes like necklaces, footballs and noise-makers…which were a hit with the kiddos, much to their parents dismay. GU Energy Labs, always stepping up to support a great cause, provided some of their newly branded bottles, caps, gels and recovery mix to hand out at our display. Nothing draws people in like awesome free stuff…then ya nab ’em quick and teach them a thing or two before they know what hit ’em! 😉
I created a ball-throw game to lure people in for some fun. They got questions based on their throw and after an ‘open-posterboard’ quiz, got some cool prizes. Dr. Hawthorne made sure to elaborate on all the hard stuff and helped people assess their own risk of colon cancer. I think we reached at least a few people and definitely brought attention to how important prevention is to a lot more out there. Prevention is better than cure!
Team OVB faired quite well at the race! We put together 5 quad teams and came out with a 2nd place Mixed team finish and a 4th place Master Men. Everyone had a blast and rode their hearts out! I saw our peeps sprinting into the exchange both on bike and on foot after the dismount. There were some PR’s to be captured and some peeps with super fast laps. It was truly awesome! I chose to ride my singlespeed Fate since the Epic was needing a front shock resealed and in the shop. It was a last minute decision, but turned out to be a good one. With two of our Mixed squad on SS, we still pulled out that 2nd place! Sweet!
There was some wildlife interaction out on course. As I followed a Nationwide racer on a smooth descent, two deer came into view. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I may not have believed it. I thought to myself, those deer are going to cross the trail. As I feathered my brakes in anticipation of them running right between us…it didn’t exactly happen as my mind’s eye thought it should. Deer #1 slammed right into him and while it kept on running, that biker was flung into the air-rear wheel tumbling over front-rider still attached and smashed into the dirt. Deer #2 ran behind me. I crushed my brakes. “Oh my God” is all I could say at first…the shock of what just occurred…that deer just took him out! Then finally I could see if he was ok. After a few moments to remove the shock from himself, he told me he was ok. Nothing seemed broken (bones, I’m talking), he remained conscious thru the crash and he let me go on to inform the others at the venue what had happened. I hear he is quite sore, but doing ok…lucky…it was not a small deer. I kept my eyes peeled, searching the desert for the rest of my lap.
Then there was a temporary stoppage for one of our teammates (along with multiple other racers) for a trail blocking rattlesnake. With a toll of one venomous bite that no one wanted to pay, they waited. If you’ve never encountered an angry rattler, they are fast and dangerous when its hot out, and you’ll need medical assistance ASAP if bitten. Don’t fight them, you won’t win, go around…and don’t believe those macho men out there who say otherwise. After checking the surrounding cacti filled desert around the trail, they proceeded to walk around the snake (bikes between) and on with the race.
Junilla Arrieta LMT joined us for a little post-race massage to help keep the muscles loose. You can catch her at Rubs on Oracle right here in Tucson or she can bring her table to you!
After the race, the team chatted and helped out with the awareness campaign booth while enjoying some tasty brews from Catalina Brewing Company. Keep your eye out, they will be opening a taproom in NW Tucson soon!
What an event this was! I’m thankful to be a part of Team OVB, who cheer and encourage each other, who help out and volunteer where they’re needed, who work their butts off on the race course, who come together to promote the sponsors we believe in and raise awareness for things that might hit very close to home for some of us. Thanks for a great day, everyone! And thanks for a great event, MBAA!
For more information on colon cancer, prevention and how you can spread awareness, please visit the CCA website, our friendly neighborhood GI doc (<—- click on the sponsor! Over there! <—-) and check out a previous post.