I was reading with great interest the first reports trickling in from the Kokopelli Trail Race that was just held over the weekend out west in Utah/ Colorado. That epic event is held in the high, arid part of the world that can be a rather brutal but beautiful place to ride a bicycle. The "father" of the event and this years race promoter, Mike Curiak was to be at this years Trans Iowa, but for having to run this event and other reasons, he was unable to come.
I've only met Mike once, but that's about all it takes to realize that this is a no-bull, straight up, down to earth charachter. Mike has a very impressive resume' and has probably forgotten more about ultra endurance racing than anybody else knows. Let's just say he's highly respected, okay.
So, it is with great grief that I read today that apparently several people were caught cheating at this years KTR. Not only were they caught, but they denied/ rationalized thier actions right to Mike's face! Wha........What is going on here? Well, apparently it's enough to have put Mike off of the event for good, that's one thing it is!
I know that for the sake of cutting short the immenent crap he would have gotten had he pressed the subject, he just let it go, and scored the people anyway, but this is very disturbing. I feel that due to the simple rules of the event, these folks who have violated the rules cannot have been ignorant of those rules. Follow the course, and even if you get off course, for whatever reason, at least have the spine to admit it. Especially when confronted about it by the race promoter. Don't accept outside assistence. Is that hard to understand? I don't get how you cannot understand that!
I see it as a failure to yeild to what is right by the event, the promoter, and especially to the other competitors in the event. Now you have an accomplishment that is tainted. In the case of the cheaters, it's not an accomplishment! It's hollow, and it sucks the life right out of the very thing that all these ultra endurance races stand for. Yes, these cheaters failed to yeild to the good and chose what they thought was good, for themselves......selfishness!
To be fair, there may have been a few extenuating circumstances in a few of these cases, but I know Mike. I know that he's not going to pull any B.S. on anybody, so I'm feeling that this situation is as he has called it. And that's too bad! Mike is certainly feeling the emptiness that accompanies such actions at this time, so his response to this is certainly understandable. Especially by me, since I've gone through this on a smaller scale. Hopefully, time will bring healing and a new vigor and the KTR will be under Mike's guiding hand again. But I wouldn't blame him a bit if it wasn't.
What can we learn from this? Well, for one your actions affect others. Cheaters make the race a thing not known for glorious accomplishments, but for controversy. The people that worked so hard and put in so much of their time get stabbed in the heart, sucker punched by those actions and having to deal with them. The other competitors have to wonder, did I really compete against a fair competition? What can we learn?
Cheating sucks! Don't do it!
Yeild to what is right and you won't have failure!
Finally: Congratulations to all those KTR competitors that played according to the rules. If you finished, fantastic! If you didn't, at least you can hold your head high, if you played by the rules.