2010 Western Pickle Puff

Guest Post by White Trash (Alan Abbs)

Nothing motivates one to get in shape like a good goal, and I came up with a good one at Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop in Red Bluff the other day while eating a Reggie-Reggie with Monkeyboy and the Thornleys. I was a couple days off my 3 week rest break, it’s the beginning of December, the nights are dark, cold and wet, and I needed some motivation. I know Craig’s a betting man because he’s sooooo sure of himself, so when he mentioned that after Western States he was going to race the Cascade Cream Puff two weeks later, a 100 mile mountain bike race in Oakridge, OR, I didn’t hesitate. “You vs me, combined time at Western and the Puff,” and without skipping a beat he said “Sure, how’s $1,000 sound?”

Alan running

Alan running

Now, I don’t want to take all of Craig’s part time job money like that, so we agreed to lower the stakes a bit and then sealed it with a fist bump. Not since Doug Schnelzer told me in high school that I wasn’t good enough to join the cross country team have I been as motivated as I am now. And thus, the 2010 Western Pickle Puff was born: 200 trail miles, 2 sports, 2 mountain ranges, 32ish hours, 35,000+ feet of climbing, countless gallons of electrolyte drink, and maybe a bit of vomit and tears. Two old men reveling in their past and the wives that love them. And besides trash talking rights before and after, the loser makes a donation to the winner’s charity of choice. When I win, Craig will be donating to the City of Oakridge Oregon’s Trails Implementation Plan to create some more sweet trails. I don’t think Craig’s decided his choice of charity yet, but does it really matter whether it’s the Ski Patrol or someone else?

Craig running

Craig running

Western States comes first (end of June), and I know right off I’ll be giving Craig a cushion heading into the Puff. One of the ground rules being that we can’t wish ill performances on others, I’m accepting that things will look bleak for me at first. Craig’s PR matched with my worst showing gives him a 3 hour advantage, and turning it around (my best vs his worst) still gives him a 1 hour advantage. In 2007, Craig was in my sights on the Elevator Shaft after Cal 2 (mile 70ish) before I faded and came in 90 minutes or so back. I figure a 90 minute gap is about what I can allow and still pull it out on bike, since the Puff will be about 9 hours shorter in duration.

Alan cruising on Alpine Trail

Alan cruising on Alpine Trail

This gap dictates my strategy at the Puff. You see, Craig only recently went on a mountain bike ride, doesn’t own a mountain bike, has a bike helmet from the 80’s that looks like a foam beer cooler, and may in fact break his collar bone coming down the Alpine Trail if he goes faster than 15mph. Bikes shoes? Nope. Gloves? Nope. Shorts? Shirt? Repair kit? NO, NO, NO! All he’s got are shaved legs and misplaced confidence. How hard can a series of 2 hr climbs punctuated by 30 minute screaming downhills be, right? Ask your butt, back, and forearms that question at the finish. Craig was a bit stunned to learn that I actually have been racing bikes for 20 years, including jumping into some cyclocross and mountain bike races within the last year. I still got my skills, and I’m going to be doing tabletop jumps all the way to bank at the Puff! 90 minutes I can make up, perhaps even 2 hours, and I’m going to eat and have a massage before I even hear your screams on that final downhill into Westfir.

Craig on Alpine Trail

Craig scared on Alpine Trail

And, I’m going to put pressure on you up front, because in getting ready for Western, I’m going to run in the rain, the cold, the snow, and the mud. I’m going to attend training camp for a few days, and maybe even do the Ice Cream Sandwich Run and clock a 1:15 to Cal 2. I’m going to lose a few pounds, and do a lot more stretching. I may even do a bit of track work at our dirt track to get the leg speed. I’m going to bring the gap to an hour, and I’m not going to puke this year. In short, I am motivated. Dougie Schnelzer-level motivated. And yes, I kicked his butt too. I will let the City of Oakridge know to start warming up that trail machine so we can cut some trails the day after the race.

So let’s hear it: Who do you think is going to win, and if you think it’s Craig- how about offering up some trails money when he lets you down? Anyone have some tips for Craig on how to ride a bike, best type of chamois cream, and how to crash the right way?


  1. having ridden and run with both parties. i feel obligated to level fair and even odds without the benefit of a lottery.

    i’m going to open december odds by saying that white trash wins by one hour and 12 seconds. thornley does not own a bike. a helmet. a pair of suitable riding shorts. he has no idea what chamois butter is and he doesn’t realize it’s not something you consume on the ride…though i do feel he’ll be excited by what it’s intended use is, after all, he is lord balls.

    so, does craig take the chance on bike training affecting his race at WS in order to be better prepared at the Puff, or does he believe in the power of two wheels and come into WS better balanced and healthier than his last M10 year of 2005.

    as of now, the odds are on abbs. as if the pickle puff smackdown isn’t enough, these odds ought to be motivation to at least have thornley purchase a bike.

  2. Yeah, I’ve got to go with white trash.
    You guys seem reasonably even on the run and a biker vs. a non-biker are tough odds to overcome. I’m bummed you guys got scared of throwing down the 1K as that is serious enough for some “running-through-gut-wrenching-dry-heaves” type of money. But, a good bet none the less. You are both really old and both really consistent so I will predict a LB WS finish of 20:48 and a White Trash finish of 21:37. Then, just a good ole fashion spanking on the bike. Craig lick the end of that pencil cause it looks like Red Bluff will have just a few less bottles and cans on their trails thanks to WT.
    The very best of luck to both of ya.

    • @Rod Bien, I never got scared of throwing down 1K, that would be White Trash who peed his pants over my suggestion. I’m still willing to bet $1000. And, it will be Oakridge trails, not Red Bluff. Still not sure what my charity will be. Maybe my brethren at the backcountry ski patrol – the guys who run the Maiden Peak aid station at Where’s Waldo. They have a very small budget and could really use $1000.

      Come on, Alan, let’s make it $1000.

  3. I haven’t been on a mountain bike in a few years but do spend plenty of time in the saddle on my roadie. As MOnkeyBoy mentioned, balance will be my focus this year so I am in the process of ordering my new ride and planning to be at Cream Puff as well. It will be fun to watch these two go at it or maybe not go at it. Best of luck LB! New trails in the Oakridge area – nice!

  4. A couple things:

    1) How come White Trash balked at $1000? Even though that’s more than half of my part-time monthly take home pay, it doesn’t seem like that much money. If he were that confident in his abilities then I might have expected a response such as, “How about $2000?” or “Deal.” But instead, I get a strange scared look on his face that said, “Uhh, I could lose this bet and Bev would divorce me if I lose.” or “Craig’s such a great athlete, and he’s not run to his potential the last two years at ‘Western’ and most of the time spent on the bike at the Puff is going uphill on gravels roads and I know he can do that, he’ll just be slow on the downs.”

    2) In all fairness, I do have biking experience. I rode a bike from Canada to Mexico in the early 80s (that’s where my Vetta helmet and the great clothing I have comes from). I just can count the number of times on my fingers I’ve ridden a mountain bike.

    3) I figure that mountain biking is like snow boarding. If it were hard it would be called “Top Ten at States.” And, I think several of you can relate.

  5. Yeah man, a super bitchin challenge you’ve thrown out! When talk began of the double Lynn & I started laying the odds for Craig’s CCP 100 finish time and in turn thought ( if I were entered) I could close the gap on Thornley and possibly make it a race of minutes over the two events.
    One things for sure, you’ll both be supremely fit come race day(s). This will be a hoot, worthy of following ;
    White Trash by :17

  6. Craig,
    I too am but a poor and humble government servant, working in a state with a $20 Billion deficit. I get no respect, as recently evidenced by the newspaper article that found it newsworthy to actually report that someone called me a “smartass.” I have to sue people to get them to pay attention. Being a Northern Californian, I’m not as materialistic as you. And so while I’d love to take your money so I can give it to Oakridge, I feel an obligation to save you from yourself. You didn’t mention in your rebuttal that your offer of $1,000 made Laurie’s eyes fly wide open as if to say- “are you _____ crazy?”

    As BK said, this will be good. And when are you going to find a fan to predict a Lord Balls victory?

    In addition to a bike, when you go to the local bike shop, here’s some other stuff you should ask them about, in lingo you’ll understand:

    One of those thingys that you fix flat tires with.
    A doohickey to adjust stuff that needs tightening.
    An air-making device.

    Also ask for some rim grease- it makes you go faster on the downhills, and a bell will let folks know to yield the right of way.

    More tips later, LB. Remebember not to look too far over the cliffs- it’s a long way down!!

    • @whitetrash, Laurie is used to me making crazy bets. One night I put the title to the truck on the line that a friend couldn’t break 4:30 for the mile the next day. He had just run a 50K and had done absolutely no speed work. Don’t remember what his PR was but 4:30 would have been a huge one. Then it got escalated after a few more beers and his talk of “well, maybe I’ll try to break 4 minutes” to the house, too. We stopped by my house on the way home and I gave him a pair of spikes. I arranged to have a crowd show up the next day, but he chickened out in the morning. For that bet, I won a dinner. Yeah, it was a little one-sided. So, I’ll give $1000 to Oakridge Trails if you win, and you can give $500 to Willamette Backcountry Ski Patrol (not my patrol) if I win. Deal?

      As for people predicting an LB victory. The readers of Conduct the Juices are a good and sensitive lot and don’t want to hurt the feelings of one of my guest bloggers. Plus, they know I can take anything thrown my way. They don’t know but might suspect that your feelings would be crushed if they publicly bet against you.

      Thanks for all the tips. Here’s one for you: practice running from Foresthill to the finish.

  7. Lord Balls,
    What is the price of pride? A $1000, no, no, no, let’s make that $2000. So two grand is the price?

    A bet is a bet…I gotta go with the hefty-bagged Whitetrash, he’s big and fat (like me) most of the time….but when he takes things just a little serious — loses some weight for something worth it, like his pride, he can bust out a good peformance, sans the cash.

    I say you, LB, breaks 20 yet again at States — you’re more predictable than a union coffee break at States, Trash isn’t that close at States, however, he crushes you on the bike for the win, an easy win. Bike handling skills count for a lot — gravity is free and Whitetrash has a gravity advantage on a bike. Hell, what’s next? Whitetrash actually beats his wife in a race — no, that’s impossible, so he picked you LB an easier target?

    Sad thing is it takes 200 miles and over 2 days to settle these bets…can you choose somethig easier?

  8. If it’s a hot year at WS, I say WT easily wins the double, as the heat seems to bother him less than it does LB. If it’s a more normal temp year at WS…well, I still gotta go with WT. The downhill bike handling skills are HUGE in mtn biking – way more so than technical downhill running (I know this for a fact, as I am an expert in sucking at both). One thing LB does already have going for him, as WT pointed out, is that he does shave his legs. So at least that’s one bike skill he won’t have to learn before the CP.

  9. I love bets! I think it’s great that you guys will be giving money to charity, but money just isn’t personal enough. You guys need to add some humility to it.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_8s5YYEpc7sU/Ss78lZh2W6I/AAAAAAAAAPA/eCN8cr83jiU/s1600-h/IMG_0677.JPG here’s an example of what happens to someone who loses a bet to me.If I could make a suggestion, how about on top of the money the loser gets the winners name tattooed on them.

  10. @Craig- I have to say, the tip to practice running from Foresthill to the Finish, made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. And to you and Cougarbait, you’re right, I didn’t follow through on my 2009 Resolution, unless you count me beating her at the Lemurian MTB race. So yes, I have to switch sports to keep my pride.

    And as Sean implied, I’m hoping for a scorcher on race day. Throw in a few miles of snow in the high country beforehand with 100 in the canyons, and it’ll be game over before we even get to day 2. Like when we had to medical rescue you at Cal2 during the Peace Run one year.

  11. OK I`ve heard enough,first of all I will be pacing LB at States and although I haven`t told Craig yet we will be running 18:30 so I`m not sure where you guys are getting this 20 hour crap.Further more I will be loaning Craig my prized Bontrager (that`s a mountian bike Craig)for this little bet,I`m not going to let him use my shorts but I will give him a class on how to deal with such things as a sudden loss of tire pressure etc.Anyhow Craigs already got this thing won so lets move on to the next bet.

  12. Talk about obsessions for the lottery…………here we go again boys! What a motivator for both of you! This will be fun! So, now Craig you just have to learn to ride a mountain bike. What will keep you going to the finish Craig is you’re driven, disciplined and determined. So is Alan for that matter. He has already conditioned his buttocks to a seat, so you’ll need to get some calluses built up down there, amongst other parts!

  13. I’m predicting LB will run 18:59 this year, and WT 20:20. Then WT will annihilate LB’s lead at the Puff. I’m predicting WT by 49 minutes when all is said and done. Sounds like a reason for a bunch of runners to go volunteer at the Cream Puff! What a show down!


  14. Sorry Craig ~ on this one I’m going to have to go with Alan. Alan was telling me about those long hauls up and down I5 driving your big rig and stopping at rest stops and other hidden ‘points of interest’. While you have been driving Alan has been out running with his hip lamp at night in the rain, cold weather with the wind blowing you sideways; this guy doesn’t miss a beat! I hear his new sauna has been providing him with pre-race motivation ~ lots of friendly ‘get togethers’ since that thing arrived. Keep training hard!!

    • @Craig, The environment, Craig? Is this how it works? You take it personally that my choice is trailbuilding, so you have to one up me and try to out-enviro a regulator by picking the environment?

      But folks will be happy to know that we have held our competition summit, and agreed to a minimum out of pocket for the loser of $500, and that we’ll be soliciting our separate fan base for support on top of that $500.

      Hope your pinky has healed and you’ve been riding again.

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