Bend's fastest cowboy, Max King, who toed the line sporting a thin white pearl-snap western shirt and cut off jean shorts, blazed to the finish line in record time this year, winning the 10-mile race in 54 minutes, 7 seconds. Katie Caba, also of Bend and wearing a more traditional running kit, was the fastest woman of the day, clocking in at 1 hour, 5 minutes, 28 seconds.
“I do that every year (dress up like a ranch hand) 'cause it's a fun event, it's Horse Butte, it's on the eastside of town, it's Super Dave (race promoter and all around fun guy, Dave Thomason) and it's got that kind of vibe,” King explained. “Though I still haven't figured out how to race in cowboy boots.”
King, who wins everything—including the last two editions of the Horse Butte race (2010, 2011)—bested not only his own top time from years past but also set a new course record under sunny and warm Central Oregon skies.
“I just pushed it from the start and tried to push it all the way to the end,” said King, who opted to bypass the beer feeds offered up on course. Hot dogs and keg beer waited for all those that finished Saturday's race, which although fast, had a few sections of mud on course.
Caba, who also set a new course record on Saturday, bested 2011 winner Kami Semick's time of 1:06:26. Like King, Caba is no stranger to the podium, having recently stood on the top step, along with her husband Jeff, after the pair won their division at the 2011 TransRockies Run in Colorado. Jeff finished fourth overall in 1:01:41 on Saturday.
Notably absent from Saturday's race were King's fellow endurance partners Mario Medoza, who is recovering from an injury, and Ryan Bak, who was racing in California.
Next up for King is the 40-mile Peterson Ridge Rumble on April 15, a race which should set the four-time Xterra Trail Run world champ up nicely for the off-road marathon he's racing on May 20 in the Pyrenees Mountains of Northern Spain.
“I'll probably go a little more high-tech for that one,” King said of his race attire, which will likely not include denim.
Trike or treat
If you see what appears to be an overgrown banana on wheels zip past you on the roads, don't panic, no one slipped you any acid. No, what you're witnessing is real. The crazy contraption is called a Velomobile, a recumbent trike with a fairing, and Mark Waters thinks they're the cat's ass.
“They're more like human-powered go karts,” said Waters of the odd-looking cycle set-up.
Waters is an enthusiastic owner of a bright yellow Velomobile. His enthusiasm for the attention grabbing human-powered vehicle is so great that on April 1 he opened Backcountry Recumbent Cycles in order to sell and expose others to these preposterous looking, enclosed, three-wheeled bicycles.
Or maybe they're not so preposterous after all. Waters' contends that Americans have grown to accept only a very narrow spectrum of bicycles.
“Only a tiny percentage of people here use their bikes to get around,” Waters said of American's bike habits, or lack thereof. In the Netherlands, a country that Waters claims is “probably the most advanced cycling culture in the world,” bicycles are a way of life. The Velomobile simply provides cyclists, or potential cyclists, with another way to get around. Recumbents are nothing new, however. The fairing is what really sets the Velomobile apart.
According to Waters, the fairing has two great advantages: weather protection and aerodynamics. On a cold or wet day, the fiberglass shell allows Waters to remain warm and dry as he zooms past other cyclists. Once Waters gets his 75-pound trike up to speed, he can do 30mph on flat ground with relative ease. Climbing, however, is another story.
“It climbs like a pig,” said Waters, who would know. He's ridden his Velomobile on a number of long distance tours, including one that took him from Florida to Pennsylvania. His new shop, dedicated to recumbents and to trikes in particular, also caters to those who want to tour with their machines.
So far, Waters has sold exactly one Velomobile. An entry-level model will run you about $10,000. Cost prohibitive to most, Waters is so pumped on them that he figures others, particularly in bike-crazy Bend, will soon catch on.
“It used to be that $5,000 for a road bike was unheard of,” Waters reminded me.
Cascades Mountaineers Gear Swap Sixth annual. Open to the public. Bring gear to sell between 5-6pm. Transactions 6-8pm. Mountaineering/climbing/hiking/camping gear. 5pm-8pm Wednesday, Apr 11. The Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas Ave.
Group Run Free to everyone and yoga for athletes on site, in the store for only $5 afterward at 7pm. 6pm Wednesday, Apr 11. Fleet Feet Sports, 1320 NW Galveston Ave.
Hiking Central Oregon From beginner day trips to a multi-day backpacking adventure. For more info and to register, visit noncredit.cocc.edu or call 541-383-7270. COCC Bend Campus, 2600 NW College Way.
Open Ride Night For more info about local horse events, see CentralOregonTrailCourse.com. Wednesday, Apr 11. Rim Rock Riders Event Center, 17037 S.W. Alfalfa Rd.
Wednesday Morning Birders The East Cascades Audubon Society hosts Wednesday Morning Birders, a casual birding field trip to various locations in Central Oregon. Learn the birds and meet other birders. Meets at Nancy P's for carpools to locations. Contact Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ecaudubon.org for trip info. 8am-1pm Wednesday, Apr 11. Nancy P's Baking House, 1054 NW Milwaukee Ave.
Weekly Recumbent Bike Ride The first of many weekly recumbent bicycle rides. Short ride to start. For more info contact email@example.com. 12pm-2pm Sunday, Apr 15. NorthWest Crossing's Compass Park.
Photo Walk of Bend Every Monday at 10am for a two-hour photo walk of Bend, local tours guided by professional photographers. We explore Downtown Bend, the Historic District, and beautiful river parks. $39 adult, $65 family (two adults and children under 16). 10am-12pm Monday, Apr 16. Cascade Center of Photography, 390 SW Columbia St, Ste 110.
Training 201 Clinic with Max King An in depth look at specific training functions. King will lead the discussion answering questions such as: How does the body adapt to different training and environmental stress? What's better, speed or endurance training? 7pm Wednesday, Apr 18. FootZone.