Story by Chris Vargas
Photos by Mark Scheetz and Chris Vargas
The first 12-hour event held in Orange County at the Flying B Adventure Park
was a great success! Although the rain threatened to delay the race - Mother
Nature was some what forgiving and the heavy showers that were predicted did
not happen. Although it did rain on and off in the days prior to the race
it was not enough to delay it; but it did present some problems for the
The Warrior's Society designed course (8 miles, 1600 feet of climbing per
lap that club members Ron and Monique Sawicki laid out), including the
"Warrior's" single track the club built for the event, did suffer some
damage. Karen Lundgren and Paul Romero of West Coast Adventure Racing (the
promoters of the event) had a lot of work to do to get the course ready.
Although they have promoted Adventure Races, this was the first mountain
bike event they have promoted and they wanted to make sure it was a success.
They were up the Thursday night before the race putting the finished touches
on the course.
As Karen Lundgren wrote to me after the event "Paul and I worked our butts
off getting the course in shape in time and Mother Nature cooperated and our
hard work paid off.
We have received tons of positive comments and based on those comments we
are pleased. The things we wanted to accomplish happened - we wanted a
racer friendly, family friendly event and people said they thought it was.
We wanted people to have fun and hang out - they did. We wanted people to
feel like they got value for their money and they did. We wanted to offer
cool prizes that people were excited about - it happened (to some extent).
We wanted a professional looking event that would surprise people - it did.
We wanted the timing to be flawless and it was.
There were of course some things we learned and things we will do different
next time, but that's all part of the game and part of the fun for us. If
the majority of the people walked away happy we are happy, that's what it's
Paul added "We are only just now going to sleep since the weekend. What a
week it was. From our perspective it was great to meet many of the riders
of OC. We are in a recovery mode for a bit, before we make any firm
opinions about our experience of last weekend. There are some striking
differences in mountain bike and adventure races that are...interesting."
"In retrospect, a few things we learned quickly, i.e., we love the idea
(from 24 hrs of Adrenalin) of every rider brings/donates a volunteer. We've
never had a need for this in adventure racing, but it's apparently needed in
the MTB world. There are some exciting sponsorship prospects in the works
that could aid in the boosting of mountain biking in So Cal, and as we firm
them up, you all will be quick to know."
The course was tough with many steep climbs up trails and roads named
"Elevator Shaft" and "The Staircase." Cameron Brenneman a member of the 1st
place coed team (16 laps), "Big Gears, No Tears," was looking to continue
his winning streak after his record setting first place finish in the 56.5
mile Vision Quest endurance event (held 3 weeks before on March 5th in the
Cleveland National Forest in Orange County) - and he and his team mates
delivered. Cameron told me "One of the most memorable moments was when my
teammate Sean Donovan said, 'Is there any downhill on the course? It seems
like you go uphill the entire 8 miles.'
"I agreed that the course was one of the most challenging courses I have
raced in awhile. I think the hardest part of the race was having to get
back onto the bike several times."
Warrior's Society Race Team member and solo rider Jason First summed up
the effect the course had on the participants: "I actually enjoyed the first
6 hours, after that it became extremely difficult and slow. People
everywhere were hiking rather than riding up the climbs. But everyone on
the course was encouraging each other, we all struggled together. All in
all, I'm happy I did it and learned a lot from it." Jason went on to
complete 10 Laps for an 8th place finish.
The "Warrior's Trail" single track also gave some people trouble. The trail
was designed to be as steep as possible. The trail tunneled through heavy
brush and had many hair pin turns. The trail ended with a 60 foot
drop/runout called "Dan's Drop" after Dan Dulac one of the owners of the
Flying B Adventure Park.
The trail was designed by Warrior's Society member Tom Taylor, a
noted Orange County technical trail designer and Warrior's Society founder
Chris Vargas. Warrior's Society members spent over 400 hours building the
trail by hand.
As previously mentioned the Warrior's Trail is steep. Those that had quick
releases on their seats were advised to use them and lower their seats when
descending the trail; those that did not have quick releases and little
technical riding experience wished they had them.
The course was challenging enough for the teams, and even more so for the
Warrior's Society Race Team member Mario Correa finished first in the
solo male category with 13 laps - 104 miles, 20,800 feet of total elevation
gain. Mario is an accomplished solo racer having competed solo in many 12
and 24 hour events and other distance events such as the La Ruta de Los
Conquistadores multi-day stage race in Costa Rica, the Transrockies
Challenge and the Cascade Cream Puff 100.
Warrior's Society member Monique Sawicki of Team Mata finished with 12
laps in 11:20 hours - 96 miles with 19,200 feet of total elevation gain.
She was the first female by a long shot and was also 2nd place solo finisher
overall right behind Mario Correa. Monique is currently defending her 2004
female NORBA National Marathon Series Championship title. In 2004 Monique
set records riding solo in the 12 Hours of Snow Summit and in the Vision
Club member and Club Director Ned Reynolds completed 7 laps as a solo rider
riding a singlespeed.
The first place Corporate Team was Ellsworth Bicycles with 12 laps and the
first place Open Team was "Partners in Grime" with 13 laps.
The Warrior's Society coed team was the first place single speed team and
finished 4th overall with 14 laps. Two of the team members, Calvin Mulder
and Keith Eckstein, rode fully rigid bikes. Keith showed real grit and
determination by riding with a broken hand.
Many thanks to Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren of
for promoting the event and to Dan Dulac and Allen Dean, the owners of the
Flying B Adventure Park, for hosting it.
Thanks to all that participated. We hope to see you back at the Flying B!