This past weekend was the annual Dayton Muddler in Dayton, VA, just a few miles south of Harrisonburg.
The Muddler is an obstacle race where participants compete as individuals or teams in a race against the clock on a course a little under 4 miles long. The purpose behind the event is to raise money to help Veterans. This year, the fundraising was for Boulder Crest Retreat.
The distance isn't the difficult part of this race, it's the crazy obstacles (and mud) that Dayton's Chief of Police, Chief Daniel Hanlon dreams up. He's got everything from three story hay bales, to "shock-therapy", to dumpster full of water and ice, to a slip-and-slide, to sections where you carry heavy bags of gravel, and the list goes on!
To add to this year's fun, Chief Hanlon wanted to add a bike component to the course. So, we helped him dream up a 13 mile course that covered some of the great back roads around Dayton. The course was a mix of gravel and paved road and had one major hill climb, Mole Hill.
It was designed to be a course that most any cyclist could tackle, but we didn't want it to be easy, because the rest to the Muddler certainly wasn't!
It was neat to see 25 or so riders sign-up for the first ever bike component of the Muddler, the Omega course (the Muddler run component had over 800 participants!). As we staged the bikes there was everything from carbon race machines to family hybrids, which was fitting, because the event is serious, but fun at the same time.
At 9am the cyclists began the route, which started with a gradual climb to the top of Bowman Rd. straight out of Dayton. After another turn the participants were on their first stretch of gravel and starting to wind in-and-out of the local farms. I (Kyle) was driving the support van. It was around mile 4 when I saw the first rider, Wes Douglas, blasting on the gravel as he headed to Majestic View (which certainly lives up to its name). Wes, would go on to win the cycling portion and set a very hard to beat record for next year's participants!
A special part of this event was the support that the local youth mountain bike team provided. We set-up Shen-Rock team members as course marshals at almost every turn (which was a lot). The brought their cow-bells and cheered on the riders - especially as they crested Mole Hill!
I helped with a few mechanicals, but for the most part the ride started and finished almost flawlessly. I spoke with a few riders after they completed the entire event (ride and run) and they couldn't have been more happy with their decision to do both parts of the event. As far as I'm aware, there aren't any other mud/obstacle races with a bike component and from what I can tell, it's a great addtion.
Kudos to Chief Hanlon and the town of Dayton, VA on job well done! We can't wait until next August to do it all again!