Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chainbuster 6/9 Hr Mountain Bike Race

Carter, Molly, Thomas, Parker are ready to race!
Tribble Mill Park is a great place just outside of Lawrenceville, Georgia to take the whole family. You can bike, hike, fish, swim (not recommended), picnic, play on the playground, visit the water wheel and just plain have a great time. This Saturday morning I loaded up my daughter Molly and Thomas Pattillo and we headed there for a Chainbuster Race. The kid's race was really fun for them and I especially enjoyed watching Parker Mashburn race his bike for the first time. Everyone gets a medal from Hayes Automotive. To see him finish and then walk around with that medal and just smile was priceless. Think about being that age and racing around the course with all those adult racers cheering, clapping, and celebrating for you. They spent the rest of the day playing all over the park. I love those kids.

After setting up the canopy tent and what not I began preparing for the race. My team mate David Shabat arrived and we formulated our plan. Here was our plan: Ride Hard. Other than a good start it's really the only thing you can do in a 6 hour mountain bike race. Speaking of the start, here's how that went. Kenny (who's race this is) had us start in an open field. Across the field was the opening to a trail that lead us straight thru the Start/Finish line and out on course. If you wanted to be the first into the trail then obviously you need to be the first one across the field. Are you looking at the picture? It wasn't pretty. Why is it important to be in the trail first if the race lasts 6 hours? Well, if you are super mega competitive it doesn't take but one race to figure out that having to pass a lot of slower people on the first lap can put you behind on time. That's time I myself am not strong enough to make up on the other super mega competitive guys that went into the trail ahead of everyone else. Plus, if you're in the single track and someone in front crashes it stops up the whole trail. So, when it came time to cross the field I hurried. I managed to enter the trail in about 5th. During the first lap I heard three crashes somewhere behind and the leader off the front took a wrong turn and gave up his position. The pine straw and loose sandy corners made the first lap scary. Once I got a good start I new I had

to dose my effort because it was already 90 degrees. Unless I want to fade terribly at the end I need to be smart about what I do right now. I tried to keep my heart rate from spiking by not mashing a hard gear on the inclines. I shifted a lot more than I usually do. I drank Hammer Perpetuem exclusively during the whole race. I took in 12 Hammer Enduralites, used 1 bag of ice and 2.5 gallons of ice water. Each lap I poured a bottle of Perpetuem and ice into my Camel Bak. When David was on course I dropped ice down the back of my jersey and kept an ice cold "Frog" on my head. (Frog: a chamois that stays cold, popular with golfers) I continually sipped Perpetuem. Oh, after each lap I would pour ice water on my head and wash the dust off my face. Before the last lap I took two Advil, ate a caffeine gel and prayed.

As is my custom I totally underestimated my partners speed. He came in after his first lap to find no team mate waiting on him. I hate myself sometimes. We lost at least a minute because I'm an idiot. And I pride myself on being prepared. If I loose I want it to be because I got beat by a person. I don't want to loose because I didn't drink enough, or my bike wasn't ready, or I didn't know the course, or I forgot to watch the clock! David was good about it and as it turns out it wouldn't have made a difference but at the time it gave me some extra motivation.

The carnage on the trail increased as the day wore on. During one lap I was navigating the switch backs and kept hearing riders ahead of me in the trail say, "Are you OK?" I soon learned who they were talking to when I rode past a man, jersey off, leaning on a tree, puking his guys out. It wasn't long after that I passed a guy laying on the ground with his hands behind his head and his foot on a tree. At first glance I thought he was relaxing, and he was, as he stretched out his cramping legs. Because of the heat everyone was in survival mode. My friend Dustin Mealor tried his luck in the 9 Hour Solo Category. He would say Pain is temporary, Glory last forever. I say stupid is as stupid does. But Dustin has a strong will and usually backs it up. On this day he did with a strong 5th Place in the Expert division. He's a cyborg. I'm just sayin.

Trent Smith and Bill Mashburn - 5th Place
Two good friends of mine teamed up to race their first mountain bike race. 20 something Trent Smith and 40 something Bill Mashburn. They did incredibly well. I was very impressed how each man fought through his own personal battles during the race to come away with 5th Place. What a great last minute team they made.

No, I'm not praying, I'm exhausted.

David and I gave everything we had out there. It was stupid hot. But we knew it would be and were highly motivated. My family was there, David's parents were there and we had a lot of friends in the race. Our friends the Pattillo's were there too. Last year before TJ Pattillo was called home he entered this race. He'd been riding about a month. Although ignorance is bliss I felt it was my duty as his friend to convince him that a 6 hour Solo mountain bike race may not be the best way to get his feet wet. Jumping in head first was his style believe me. Instead we raced Tribble Mill as a team last year. It's hard to say how I felt being back out there. After TJ was killed, Kenny the owner of Chainbuster's, who'd only met TJ once, decided he wanted to raise money for his children. Many of these very same racers gave what they could for the rest of the season last year and blessed the Pattillo's with that gift. It was one of many moments that kept all of us faithful. TJ had strength of character. He was a man of integrity who I'm sure would have approved when we all continued to follow our hearts and God's plan for our lives. I for one feel like I honor him when I forge ahead, when I make my family and his smile, when I choose righteous over easy. The future is bright and I've got things to do before I see my friend again. We all do. So keep at it people. Don't waste your time on pity or selfishness, anger or bitterness.

We took 3rd Place and moved into Second for the series. Curse those Gutbusters (Alex and Bill). We had a blast and can't wait for Jack Rabbit Trail in North Carolina next month!
BTW - I'll be celebrating my 40th Birthday by racing Jack Rabbit on Sept 24th and then riding the Six Gap Century the next day. If anyone wants to join me (help me make it through) for Six Gap you'll find me at the start holding a balloon. I will NOT be trying to set any records. It will be a hanging out with friends day. Star Bridges has volunteered to tow me and David up Hog Pen. Clint Sanders will be doing it on a single speed.

Thanks for reading! Finish well!



  1. My VAN will be strategically parked at the foot of Hogpen to assist any who need it. Chad and I have the front seats reserved. Everyone else can pile in the back with their bikes.

    TJ continues to give to us through the inspiration and personal insight that we all continue to gain.

    Great write-up, Chad.

    You forgot to mention the Anderson RR this coming weekend where you have Guaranteed victory! Come everyone and watch Chad win!

  2. thinking about 3 gap, may see you there. And if I can find a partner for Jackrabbit I will be there also