Buffalo Stampede puts runners, bikers to the test
Doug Crytzer, of American Adventure Sports, usually produces adventure races that involve a variety of disciplines, can last for days and take place as far away as Belize.
By that regard, the Buffalo Stampede trail running race is fairly straightforward, but it's also no joke.
Whether running the trail or tackling it on two wheels in the Dash 4 Cash mountain bike race, held at the same time, no one ever has accused the South Buffalo course of being easy.
More importantly, the Saturday event is something close to the heart of both Crytzer and Dash 4 Cash organizer Jarvis Lindsey, of Mason Dixon Resources.
It acts as a fundraiser for the South Buffalo Fire and Rescue Squad, which not only served Crytzer's family farm growing up but also had its beginnings in a barn on Lindsey's family farm.
“When they got their first fire truck, that's where it was kept, and that was probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s,” said Lindsey, 47, of South Buffalo.
“It doesn't get any more grassroots than having an event like this to raise money for your local volunteer fire department. Those guys are volunteers, and they're typically charged with raising all the money they need to put everyone else's fires out.”
The event started as a mountain bike race some 17 years ago, although Jarvis isn't sure of the exact year.
The trail running option came after Crytzer was unable to ride it after a crash on his bike and decided to run instead. That spawned the Buffalo Stampede several years after the Dash 4 Cash was born.
The races are followed by live music and a cookout open to all racers and spectators, and last year's event drew approximately 140 runners and 100 mountain bikers. Jarvis estimates they've raised between $35,000 and $40,000 over the years.
Crytzer said the fire department answered the bell for his family so many times that he's happy to give back.
“Farming is dangerous, very dangerous,” said Crytzer, who also grew up on a farm in South Buffalo and was a childhood friend of Jarvis. “It's just an old-school volunteer fire company. It doesn't matter if it's a brush fire or a tractor rollover or something with the cattle or horses, lightning strikes, whatever. All those things happened on my farm growing up.”
The races begin at the Lindsey farm in Freeport, and the trail remains mostly on the family's property. This is the only time of year that mountain bikers and runners can use the trail, and it isn't designed to be easy.
Runners start off on a five-mile loop, then have the option to do a 10-mile loop. Anyone who's feeling strong then has the option of doing the five-mile loop again, but that often doesn't happen, Crytzer said.
“Lots of people pull out at 15, even people who run marathons and ultra-marathons,” said Crytzer, who owns Greensburg-based American Adventure Sports. “It's doable, but you have to pace yourself.”
The mountain bike course is 14 miles long, and Lindsey said it's 14 miles that will make you pay the entire way.
“Lots of climbing, lots of rocks, a lot of water,” he said. “It's a great course. If you really like to ride, you'll like it. If you're just starting out, you'll never come back.”