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RATPOD smackdown 2016

Kevin & Nate - Logan Pass - Blog post image

It all began so innocently. So hopefully. Nate Bender and Kevin Keohane, new co-workers at PartnersCreative, decide to train together to ride in RATPOD, the annual fundraiser for Camp Mak-a-Dream, a camp for kids and young adults affected by cancer. Just two hirsute and happy do-gooders bonding on bikes while barreling along the back roads of Big Sky Country.

But before they knew it, the wheels started to come off this heartwarming story. Kevin explains what happened.

I’d never been on a road bike for more than half an hour in my life, and Nate was kind enough to help me out. I started out on a 1985 vintage mountain bike and Nate seemed happy and supportive. He helped me find a bike and shared some great training routes. Everything was going great.

Then on one long ride, I passed him.

Everything changed.

He allegedly injured his wrist and “couldn’t train with me” any more. But at the same time he was off winning “He-Man” competitions. And growing this crazy beard. His eyes started reflecting this spooky thousand-yard stare. He started getting weird and competitive, even around the office, taking pride in visibly outsmarting me, like using the photocopier and double-sided printing.

I started soliciting contributions to sponsor my ride for Camp. He started putting threatening posts and videos on Facebook.

Wait, wait, wait. Nate would have you know: that’s not what happened at all.

Leave it to Kevin to twist the truth. I took him under my wing when he realized he’d gotten in over his head with this whole RATPOD thing, but it doesn’t surprise me that this is how he’d tell the story.

It’s true I injured my wrist, because I straight-up broke it. Couldn’t get on the bike for two months. Honestly this is what sent Kevin over the edge. It was like he had his safety blanket ripped away and didn’t know how to adjust because I was no longer there to point out good local rides, or explain the difference between a Presta and a Schrader valve. He’d walk by my desk muttering under his breath, would slap the brace around my broken wrist when I wasn’t looking, just to make sure I reacted like I should.

But it’s also no secret I’m competitive. Though I haven’t been able to bike I’ve still been trail running, training up for the various mountain ultramarathon events I’m doing this year. So on Memorial Day weekend I thought it would be fun to let Kevin know really how much I’ve been training. Over three days that weekend I ran 85 miles and so I posted this video simply letting him know the facts.

Either his Metamucil had run out or the video struck a chord, because that’s when things kicked into high gear.

Next thing I know, Kevin is posting direct fundraising appeals on Facebook to my closest friends, unashamedly trying to twist my friends against me.

Keohane’s response was unequivocal and unrepentant.

And the online feud continued:

From Kevin: Methinks the lady doth protest too much, my friends.

I’m trying to help out Camp Mak-A-Dream, and if Nate is too busy getting his endorphin rush crashing around in the woods, hooting and hollering like some crazed Banshee, dreaming of a ribbon for showing up, that only means that sponsors are going untapped. It’s all about winning to him. As you can surely see, it’s all about Nate; me me me me me.

Well, folks, I’m all about the kids and raising funds for this great organization. And if I have to break a few egos to make this omelet, I’ll do it. My eyes are locked firmly on the end goal. I’m new to Montana so have fewer friends here than Nate (which, knowing what I do now, surprises me greatly), so I can use the support.

And there is a principle at stake: In a world obsessed with youth, can a 48-year-old compete with a 27-year-old? Those who know me know that I’ll give him a run for your money. Let’s place some chips on experience and willpower. The willpower that means once we’re off the steep climbs where Nate’s endorphin-crazed training regime dominates, my old man’s thighs just don’t stop as I grind the massive gears relentlessly. See video proof here 

… and here … 

Nate responds: These videos hardly tell the whole story, grandpa. Of course you beat me on the flats, I had no reason to push that hard. Perhaps you forgot, but this was an “easy” weekend for me. I’m only running a 108-kilometer ultramarathon next weekend. Gotta make sure I’m well rested.

You know folks, I tried. I really did. Just this last weekend I took Kevin up to Glacier National Park to ride the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road before they open it to vehicles. There is a sweet spot each spring, often only lasting a weekend or two, between when the road crews have cleared the snow off and when the road opens to vehicles. In this short time this already spectacular road becomes something even more special: a cyclist’s paradise.

But the beauty just didn’t sink in for Kevin, and his surly nature continued. It got to the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to put him in his place. He obviously didn’t take that too well because he came charging at me fists-first at the summit. It’s a good thing I can out-sprint him — on the bike or off.

kevin_attacking_200x267It’s crunch time now in the last couple weeks before RATPOD. Gloves off, old Mr. Keohane.


We’ll be tracing the back-and-forth in the days up to RATPOD on the PartnersCreative Facebook page. Come see how it all turns out.


You can give these guys something to fight over by donating to their efforts. This is, after all, about raising money for kids with cancer.

Donate to Nate’s fundraising campaign at this link. Or, donate to Kevin’s campaign at this link.

Better yet: Give ’em both a buck.