Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Oklahoma State Cyclocross Championships

I've been diving into HD video as of late. "Late" is the keyword, considering many photog's have been in this media for quite sometime now. But nonetheless, it's a great tool and a nice addition to offer clients.

A recent video I put together from the OK State Cyclocross Championships....

Oklahoma State Cyclocross Championship 2010 from Andy Chasteen on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell 2010

“How do I keep these people coming back each year?”

That was the thought that shot through my mind as I sat at my computer at 9 am, watching the registration fill up. It was August 3, 2010. With each new year, more routes are added to the Ranch so I’m able to allow additional competitors. This year we had around 15 new routes that had been put up since last 24HHH, so I had the number of competitors set in 240-250 range. Registration was full in a day.

Anyone who has ever put on a large event knows it can be a draining experience. Rules. Logistics. Swag. Sponsors. Money. Logistics. People. Stress. Logistics. Paperwork. Lists. Logistics. Did I mention logistics? I started 24HHH in 2006 with a massive level of psyche and determination to make a successful event. It has grown exponentially in each year since, and continues to pick up steam. My steam, however, has faded a tad with each passing year. My life is a whirlwind of busy-ness, and 24HHH just adds to the mix. In addition, my wife and I had a beautiful little girl named Maverick in early 2010. So I went into 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell this year carrying mixed emotions. Did I want this event to continue on? Was it worth it? Should I pass the torch to someone else? I had a lot of unanswered questions leading up to Sept 24, 2010.

Packet pick up

Alex Honnold receiving a 24HHH mohawk

Rain was in the extended forecast. What’s new? It always plans to rain during 24HHH. Every year it’s in the forecast. But God seems to smile down on us each and every year, and we always make out like bandits on the weather front. Friday afternoon the party ensued with packet pickup. Free mohawks, mullets and anything else our resident barber, Adam Peters, could think of. Yes, there were lines!! The pasta dinner never disappoints, and as the sun was moving low into the sky everyone flocked to the deceptively large barn loft for the evenings festivities. The slackline comp. Dancing. David Chancellor from SoIll Holds started the tag team slideshow with some fun skits and shorts, followed by Matt Segal showing us how to fall on a rope. Alex Honnold finished the set up with a little slideshow/FAQ on how NOT to fall, without a rope. Last but not least the people were treated to the annual Pimpin N Crimpin/Urban Climber Magazine after party. Kegs, cocktails, basketball, dancing, slacklining, crate stacking, and speleo box action. Shenanigans, I like to call it….

Slackline Comp

Chancellor, Segal, Honnold slideshows

The temps were perfect for sending the next morning as competitors crept out of their tents and made their way down to the trading post for the mandatory meeting at 9 am. Roll call, questions, answers, and the climbers creed were the topics of the day. Team names were at times sensored. Costumes were in full force. Nervous laughter was heard. Masked focus on the next 24 hours. Without warning the shotgun blew off it’s rounds, 10 am was here, and 242 climbers scattered to their planned beginning points.

Climber Meeting

Jer Collins leading the annual Climbers Creed

24 hours is a long time to climb non-stop. The first couple of hours are run on adrenaline, excitement about the event. You’ve been training, planning for this. You are on top of your game. However, at a certain point (which is different for each competitor) it really becomes a game of survival. You have pain everywhere. You typically climb lower rated routes than your usual because you have to pace yourself. This leads to blisters in places on your hands that aren’t used to being overworked. Imagine pulling on and off your climbing shoes 100 times in a 24 hour period. Or even worse, imagine having your climbing shoes on for a 24 hour period. Have you ever belayed for 24 hours? Lowered a partner from the top of a climb 100+ times in a 24 hour period? Can you say “raw hands”? Imagine the amount of fluid and food needed to fuel 24 hours of non-stop climbing. Then imagine having to carry that with you along with your other gear. Oh, and don’t forget your headlamp because you’ll be climbing in the dark for about 11 hours. Did you remember batteries? Ten competitors this year climbed the equivalent of El Capitan twice. Seventy (yes, I said 70) climbed the equivalent of at least once up the Big Stone.

Brittany Griffith early in 24HHH

Sun fading on the east side. 24HHH

Fast forward to 10 pm on Saturday. The competitors have been at it for 12 hours. All are required to check in at one of three checkpoints. At this checkpoint each climber turns in their scorecard and receives a new one to continue recording on. Fireworks shoot off all over the canyon in bright blasts of red, green, purple, and white. The acoustics produce deafening tones as energy is renewed, screams erupt from all corners of the Ranch, and all feel lucky to be witnessing a moment like this. Every hour on the hour throughout the night an uproar of 242 tired but motivated climber voices pierce the canyon walls. It’s the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear. 242 people competing against each other, unified in one voice of camaraderie.

10 pm fireworks

2 am. Rumors of Alex Honnold and Matt Segal shredding somewhere in the canyon. “Can Alex beat Tommy Caldwell’s record from 2009?” “Some guy from Oklahoma had over 100 routes at the halfway point?” “Are their lines for routes over at the Cliffs of Insanity?”

Night life on the North Forty

Lighting the walls of the North Forty

4 am. I hit the North Forty and am blasted with an overwhelming energetic buzz. Climbers are psyched. Past 24HHH’s have brought numerous exhausted climbers to sleep during this time of the night. 2010 is a different story. I see smiles, I hear energy in voices, I see climbers on 5.12. I’m amazed. I arrive at The North Forty a tired mess. I leave a rejuvenated soul. No caffeine needed.

Planning under the lights

Seth staying awake late

7 am brings the light. It’s a cloudy morning, cool, breezy, with a few sprinkles making their way to the ground. Daybreak brings another natural energy boost, and climbers begin sending hard again. I just hope the rain stays away.


9 am. More rumors of fantastic climbing, records being broken, and people climbing HARD. Set up begins for scorecard turn-in. Volunteers begin sweeping the crags, giving final directions for climbers.

10 am brings the shotgun blast. 24HHH 2010 is in the books. Tired faces begin arriving at the Trading Post. Celebratory beers are opened. Stories are shared. Food is consumed. Scores are tallied.

Clay Frisbie tallying his impressive score

12 pm comes and we find all the climbers back in the loft for the awards ceremony. Swag is flowing like milk and honey. Tunes are blasting on the speakers. Some are energetic, running on fumes. Others are dozing off into zombie-like states. I take the mic. We celebrate another 24HHH success. Awards are handed out. Horseshoes are earned. We thank sponsors. We thank Barry and Amy (owners of the ranch). This is my favorite time of 24HHH. We are all proud. We accomplished our goals. Our best friend is the person sitting next to us. Our best friend is every person in the place.

Waiting on awards to begin

To Every 24HHH 2010 Competitor:
Thank you for renewing my passion for this event. Your energy, psyche, enthusiasm and thankful spirits have brought me back to the roots of this comp. It’s not about winning. It’s not about the numbers. It’s about pushing yourself to the limit. And then pushing past that. It’s about new friendships made. Laughing together. Pushing through the agony together. And sitting in that barn loft on Sunday morning knowing that every other person in the place just went through the same thing you did. You all came out stronger and prouder. I’ll never forget 2010 or the people who made it the best we’ve ever had.
I’ll see you all in 2011,

For full results go to

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lincoln Road Race, Arkansas

I've got a beautiful baby girl sleeping in my arms right now. While it makes for a wonderful daddy moment, it cramps one's typing style in a major way. This race report might be short.

My first couple of category 3 races have been fun, and interesting in a new sensation sort of way. A couple of Wednesday nights ago was my first, a category 1/2/3 criterium here in the good ole Oklahoma City. My goal was to hang on to the pack and not get dropped. Yes, that was my goal.

This was to be a 35-45 minute crit, so I expected the pace to be quick. Almost from the gun we had Erin off the front with Jeremy Miller the behemoth from Team Undiscovered. Either I was in a fog of fatigue or I just wasn't paying enough attention to notice, but Jeremy somehow shook off Erin 1-2 laps into it and was off the front solo. Mark, Phillip and I needed to pull Jer back. After twice on the front I realized that one more pull would pop me off the back, so I sat in and tried to just hold on. Mark did quite a bit of work on his own, and God bless him, he was already hurt from a fall he had taken earlier in the race. In the end, Jeremy soloed for the win while we had approximately an 8-9 man sprint up Fire Hill for the finish. I'm not sure on the exact placing, but I passed a few and did not finish last in the sprint. I settled for satisfied with the top 10 finish.

Unfortunately Mark ended up with a broken collarbone from the earlier crash in the race and finished 4th with that injury, which is pretty amazing.

This past Sunday marked my first road race as a 3 and I wanted to do well. I knew that if I could race smart I figured a top 5 wasn't out of the question. Boy was I wrong. About 3 miles into the race we drop a 56 mph technical descent into a bottom, followed by a 1/2 mile climb that all but popped me for the day. You know when you are in trouble when you are scrambling to catch the field after the first climb. Well, I caught back on. By that time there was a break up the road and DNA wanted to bring it back. We all moved to the front and proceeded to reel it back. We swallowed the break up about 1/4 mile before the second climb of the day. Wow. I was popped again. So was Chad. And if my mind wasn't playing tricks on me, so was Zach. Again, the stragglers form a group on my wheel and we promptly (a mile up the road) catch the pack.

First lap done. I realize that I've done way too much work in the first lap and the second will be reserved to sit in and recover. Here is where I'll sound like a broken record. First climb of the second lap. I get dropped. I take a mile to catch back on. I sit in and recover. Second climb of the second lap. I get dropped. This time it's more serious. The pack is well up the road and has picked up the pace. Looks like someone attacked at the top of the climb. I swallow up Chad and a guy from BOT named Raton Parmain. I yell them to get on my wheel, we're gonna catch them again. I'm burning match after match trying to catch the pack, and Raton is taking pulls with me. We pass through the start/finish and I realize Chad's not on my wheel anymore. Raton and I still have quite a bit of ground to make up and we finally do somewhere 2-3 miles into the 3rd lap. We are back at the huge, technical descent. Then the first climb of the 3rd lap. I'm dropped. Many are dropped. Many quit. Some walk their bikes up the climb.

The lead pack is small, maybe 8 guys. At this point Raton and I are working together just trying to make it through the 3rd lap. We swallow many stragglers who have been dropped in the lead pack. Some suck our wheels, some can't hang on. I "hang on" for 13th on a day when almost half the field DNF'd. Not being satisfied with that finish, I take solace in the fact that I am no climber. I could also use to lose 10 lbs.

All in all it was a good day for DNA Racing. Erin Elliott took on 2 guys working together against him and came in 2nd place. Zach Perkins climbed well, and took home 8th, I nabbed 13th and Chad Hodges right behind me in 15th.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Northwest Arkansas Classic Road Race

I had been hearing for a couple weeks from those in the know that this was a good course for me. So even though I'm a new daddy and responsibilities at home are heightened, momma gave me the go ahead to make the 3.5 hour one-way day trip to northwest Arkansas to try my hand at another win.

Erin, Chad and Zach met me at my place at 4:30 am. Yes, 4:30 am. We figured out how to fit 4 bikes, pit wheels, and gear into the FJ Cruiser and we were headed east. I was looking forward to this trip cause I wanted to fellowship with the guys. It's much more fun when you can carpool with the team (or at least part of it) and chat it up on the drive.

The weather in Ark was bad as we headed north from I-40 towards Fayetteville. Rain. Fog. Wind. Cold. Luckily for us all, when go time came around the rain and fog was gone. Only the wind remained.

This was my first race with Aaron. Aaron Highfill had joined the team some time back, however we really hadn't had the chance to ride or race together. Aaron has a triathlon background, and is a strong rider so I was excited to see what we could do together.

We would pedal two laps, giving us a total of around 49 miles on the race. Uneventful would be a good word to describe most of the race. There would be a a few attacks, solo's, and surges as the day went on. The course included two hills, neither of much distance. However the last hill was doozy of a grade. It was steep and seemed to stretch forever, even though it didn't.

Aaron stayed near the front all day. He would sit 3rd to 4th wheel, sometimes sitting on the front, and always keeping the pace high, or helped chase down a break. I sat mostly in the back, relaxing, checking the scene, and plotting my attacks. The first lap unfolded and as we crested that last steep hill I moved my way nearer to the front of the pack. My plan was to try to get away near the end of the lap, hoping that I would have a couple of dudes go with me. With 1-2 miles left in the first lap, I attack. No go. They're on me like stink on dookie. So I sit on the front for a bit keeping the pace high. Not sure of my strategy, I attack again......from the front of the pack. 20 seconds later I look back and I have a 50 yard gap on the group. The bad news is I burned a match getting away and couldn't hold it long enough. I sat up and let the pack swallow me. One more attack near the end of the first lap and I settle back into the pack to recover and lick my wounds.

Second lap sees a couple of attempted breaks with no success. My goal is to do the exact same thing I did the first lap. We near the top of that second brutal hill and the small guys attack. I engage the burners and fire my 220 lb frame up the hill and get into the attack. The lead pack is now around 20 deep. I now fire off a series of 3-4 attacks. One attack gets off, and I find myself with another rider about 50-70 yards off the front. He can't pull through, and I can't hold it solo. We get swallowed again.

A mile from the finish and the pace is high. Riders jockeying for position. I find out later from Aaron that they have all conspired to prevent me from getting off the front the entire race. Looks like it'll be a field sprint. I have no idea if I'm a good sprinter. I've never really had the opportunity to pit my strength against anyone else.

So I find myself in a sprint with a guy named Tanner Culbreath. We have gapped the pack and it's him and I. 200 meters to the finish. I make a move and I'm off in front. He's on my wheel. My mistake. He sits in and with less than 50 meters left he's made a counter move and is gaining my position fast. We cross the line and I am not fully sure who won. I think I edged him, but it was CLOSE!

A quick trip back to the finish line. I win. It will be my last category 4 race.

A huge thanks to Aaron for keeping the pace up, covering for me, and racing huge for the team. He's strong, and will soon be a 3 as well. As for me, I'm excited about joining Erin, Zach, and Chad in the 3's. Race!

Monday, March 15, 2010


The Cowskin Road Race marked my 5th race as a category 4, and my 6th race ever. I'm still very new to this sport, and each race presents a barrage of new lessons to be learned. I'm lucky to have good friends and a team full of experienced guys who have taught me a lot in my short time of racing.

My first two races in Austin a couple weeks back had not gone according to plan. In all honesty, I had planned to dominate the 4's down in Texas. However, I had recently run a 50 mile ultra marathon, leaving it all out and PR-ing which had left me very tired and my recovery was moving along slower than I had expected. The Walburg and Pace Bend races in Austin had kicked my butt, and scoring a 15th in both of them was far from acceptable for me. So I rested quite a bit in the days coming up to the Cowskin.
I headed out early on Saturday morning for Keystone Lake, as the 4 race blasted off around 9 am. Coming down the road to the parking area I observed that the finishing 3/4 mile of the race was downhill. Score for us big boys, and immediately I felt good about winning a field sprint in the end.
The race itself was fairly low key most of the way, not too fast. 4 races are much less organized by nature, however there were some big teams that showed up and they were trying to get some things going early on. There were quite a few attacks, most of which were solo and reeled back in quickly. No one was willing to let anyone get off the front for a long amount of time. I chomped at the bit most of the race, sitting in the middle of the pack hanging out. I had been talking to Dustin Sallee from Team Undiscovered, trying to talk him into a break together but his recovery week hadn't gone well and he wasn't feeling it.
My initial plan was to win a field sprint with it being conducive to my body type and abilities, however I thought that if I could get a couple guys off the front with me I could attack them at the end for a win. So I conserved. There were attacks, and they would get brought back in. I sat in.
This was a circuit style race in which we did 7 laps on a 5.2 mile loop. 2 hills. One a long easy slog for approximately 3/4 of a mile. One a shorter steep incline on the backside of the course (in a cross wind) that gets the heart rate pumping. At about the 28 mile mark, we hit that hill on the backside of the course. About that time Dustin leans into me and says "go dude". I figure what the heck, if I get caught I'll still have time to set in, recover, and maybe win a field sprint finish.
So I positioned myself at the back of the back, get to the crest of the hill, shift two gears, and drop the hammer. By the time I reach the front of the pack I'm over 40 mph and no one has a chance to immediately bridge. So I'm off the front solo. My first time ever. The next 8 or so miles are a blur of sorts, but I remember looking back frequently to check the scene.

...I see a solo rider trying to bridge. Then I look back again and he's been swallowed by the pack. Then 5-6 guys trying to bridge. Then another solo rider off trying to bridge. Then he's swallowed. I crest the long hill on the last lap, look back, and they are 20 seconds back. A mile later I look back, they are 45-50 seconds back. I hit that last short steep hill in the cross wind. Look back. 20 seconds back. I make the last turn for the finish line 3/4 mile away. The chase group sits at least 40 seconds off me, and I let out a primal scream of joy!! They have no chance of catching me......

I've always been a sucker for adrenaline. Exhilarating experiences are addicting to me. I thrive on excitement in my life. Always have. If you do too, jump off the front of a bicycle race and let a pack of 60 hungry dogs try to chase you down. Be the hunted. Even if they catch you, the experience is highly worth it.