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, November 1, 2011

2011 Tumbling Creek

I have a new reason to call this race Tumbling Creek. It's because I went tumbling in a big way during the race. More on that later. This race is put on by Gainesville SORBA at Gainesville State College trails every year. They have a great time doing it. I know this because all over the course there are creepy reminders that it's Halloween time. We're talking tomb stones with creative writing on them, spider webs overhead, warning signs about impending danger, and my personal favorite was a snake hanging from a downed tree overhead. This snake was dangling a cow bell. If you were so inclined you could smack it as you rode under the tree. Or if you sit tall in the saddle you'll ring the bell with the top of your helmet. How fun!

Kid's Race - Megan & Anna Nabors, Molly Hayes, Thomas Pattillo
This race is basically in my back yard. The College is only 5 miles from my house and I know the trail like the back of my hand. So does my teammate Trace Nabors. We entered the 2 Person Male Division against 12 other teams. However the only team that ended up really challenging us was the team of Dustin Mealor and Rob Butler. They were ready to drill it all day long and unfortunately for us that's just what they did.

The Friday before the race it rained. That made some places a little soupy but overall the course was only made faster. Especially as the race went on. The course was about 6 miles long and we figured our laps could be done in less than 30 minutes. We were right. We also decided to do the laps in the same order we did them last year, when we won this race. I'd start and do one lap and then we'd do two laps each until the last two laps when we'd do one each. You may want to read that sentence again. Last year it took 12 laps to win. This year it took 13.

Trace Nabors in the Field of Doom
To start the race they decided on a short run to the bikes and then we followed an ATV for a 2+ mile parade lap. My plan was to go out super fast and give us a lead. Unfortunately that was Rob Butler's plan too. He got to his bike and went full blast. All I could do was hold his wheel. I was about to pop and we hadn't even finished the parade lap! And I knew then that the first lap would contain TWO trips across the Field of Doom! Rob led the race until a wash out cost him his place in line. But he stayed with me so I knew it was GAME ON! As the race wore on each team worked through it's share of misfortunes. I lost about 30 seconds of time to Rob because of some uncooperative lap traffic and basically because I couldn't keep up with him. Dustin and Trace worked like dogs to keep it close. When I look at the results I can see just how hard Dustin and Rob were pushing.
Things took a strange turn during the 9th lap. I had just completed my first of two laps and was suffering badly. After exiting a horseshoe drop and powering up to speed I caught a large tree root with my pedal. The jolt to the side combined with the speed I was traveling on a slight downhill caused me to hop around like a bull rider. We're talkin' feet in the air, no steering control, cry out to Mommy type of crashing. I hit the ground and covered my head because I just knew my bike was going to come flying out of the air and hit me. I was knocked out of breath. I slowly got up, found my bike, put the chain back on and began my own personal pep talk. It went something like this: "The knee is fine keep pedaling." "Keep breathing deep." "Come on, Chad, be smooth and fast." "Just hold on to 2nd Place."  I also prayed a little bit... although I'm sure God doesn't care if we win a bike race I'm just like any of you...I instinctively include Him in every desperate situation I face.

I've found that saying stuff to myself when things get really tough helps me stay positive. I first started doing it in a road race years ago. It was the toughest race I'd ever been in at the time but I found myself in the final group with an uphill sprint looming at the finish in 5 miles. Things calmed down in the peloton as everyone was trying to conserve before the hard finish. I started telling myself "I don't care how bad this hurts I'm going to keep sprinting!" I ended up finishing second. My first podium ever. I've talked myself up ever since.
My first Podium.

So I kept pedaling and consoling myself. I ran up on some lap traffic and was traveling behind them when we passed a rider using his hand pump to inflate his front tire. It was Rob! As you might expect I was energized. I shifted down and passed the lapped riders. I tried to remain calm and stay smooth because I knew he'd be coming. I managed to get back and hand off the timing chip to Trace with a lead of only 30 seconds. Dustin exchanged with Rob and gave chase. The race was still very close. Turns out Rob's tire was punctured and the Stan's glue sealed it but not until the tire had leaked out enough air to make it dangerous. So Rob picked a good spot to stop and put air back into his tire. That's the way it goes in endurance mountain bike racing.

When I jumped off my bike and ran through timing I was forced to remember my crash. My bruised knee reminded me. I went to our tent and started trying to get ready for a final lap. All season I've done the same thing before the final lap. 3 ibuprofen, 1 double caffeine gel. Works like a charm. Unless you bruise your knee. Plus I was more tired than usual thanks to Dustin and Rob. I was not looking forward to the last lap. Even if it was only going to take less than 30 minutes.

Trace put together two great laps and kept us in 1st but still by only 30-40 seconds. Dustin was mashing his head off to keep them in contention. When I headed out for my last lap I was determined. Determined not to let Rob catch me. Determined to give my teammate a bigger lead. Determined to ignore my knee. I could tell it was a bruise and I happen to know that while a bruise hurts...you can't do irreparable damage by continuing to use a bruised limb. It's just gonna hurt. My drugs and gel did the trick and I handed Trace over a minute lead for his last lap. To be honest, I think Rob went too hard in the beginning and then did the last two laps of the day. Besides that, he not only had to chase me but he continued to chase Trace on the final lap. He's the man! And he's a really nice guy too.

Trace finishes to his cheering family.

Trace brought it home for us. Dustin and Rob got 2nd. And my good friends Todd Fisher and Trent Smith took 3rd. What a memorable race! A true battle. I would have taken more pictures of the course decorations but I couldn't think about anything accept racing my tail off. You can blame Team Maverick and the Goose for that!

Our families were back from softball/flag football games and were cheering for all of us. You can hear the kids in the videos. I can't say enough about how great it is to have their support. We stood at the lake and cheered for the riders as they came through on their last laps. What a great day!


6 HR Solo Male - 1st Chad Edwards, 2nd Robert Rentz, 3rd Stephen Dean

Other notable finishes were my friends Chad Edward and Stephen Dean. They both competed in the 6 HR Solo Male category. I really thought Stephen would take 1st but a late flat tire cost him. Chad Edwards remained steady and strong throughout the race and it paid off in the end with him taking the top spot on the podium. Great job both of you!!! 
2 Person Male Podium
 I was DONE. I began looking forward to getting home, getting unpacked, and getting a shower. Then our plan was to watch the DVR'd Georgia vs Florida football game. My wife Lisa had been avoiding her phone and other update giving things all afternoon. Our goal was to get busy being lazy... and yell at the TV. My other goal was to get some serious food into my body.

Team Hayes Automotive Wins!

The next day after Church I cut wood for 4 hours with my Dad. When I was growing up my brother and I spent our winter Sunday's following my Dad around in the woods sawing up trees. This was relaxing and gratifying to him. My Dad worked 6 days a week and I couldn't understand working one more at home back then but I do now. It's the same mindless, stress free type of thing we all do. Fishing, hunting, riding a bike, watching TV. Men need that time to decompress. Of course some of us take it to extremes and end up forgetting our real responsibilities. Some of us actually never "compress" (Occupy Atlanta?). I enjoyed cutting wood with my Dad on Sunday. We talked a little and laughed a little and just hung out while still doing something productive. Very satisfying I'll have to admit. And now I have enough fire wood to keep my girls warm and cozy all winter. Nice.

I hope you all enjoyed another installment of Chad's News.  Stay tuned because this weekend is FAMILY BIKING DAY!!! Join us at the College for a wild time with the kids and then a few "Daddy" laps.
Then the next weekend my team mate David Shabat and I are headed to Oak Park, Alabama for the final race in the Chainbuster Series. We're going to try and hold our podium spot in the overall. And we're considering staying the night and racing in the Dirty Spokes Duathlon the next morning. It's a tough call knowing that the very next weekend is the Currahee Adventure Duathlon. Can you say "Glutton's for Punishment!"

Have a great weekend!!!


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