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, March 27, 2012

2012 Trillium Trek at Alachee Nature Center

The Elachee Nature Center is located in Oakwood, Georgia. Their mission statement is "Promote Environmental Understanding through Education and Conservation". Located in the 1,500 acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve it offers lots of cool stuff like a Nature Museum, Nature Shop, Birthday Parties, Classroom Complex and plenty of natural walking/running trails. It's a hidden treasure that my family loves. I've written about the Chicopee Mountain Bike trails on many occasions. I know them like the back of my hand but I'm sorry to say I've never run on the Elachee trails. Because...I don't like to run. But my daughter...whom I love very much...does.

Me and Molly before the race.
I signed Molly up for the 5K race of the Trillium Trek Trail Run. There was also a 10K and Half Marathon but she's not ready for that. And as it turns out I wasn't ready for the hills.
A Trillium by the way is a flower commonly found in North Georgia. Thus = Trillium Trek. We didn't see any because we weren't looking but I'm sure they were in abundance. Tis the season for pollen here in Georgia and many things are blooming. The only creature in a better mood than Molly were the bees. It's a heavenly world of pollination at the Elachee Nature Center right now. I told Molly to watch out for snot wads during the race. My skills as the father of a "young lady" become dormant when there's competition to be had. I'm frequently asked by my wife to remember that "they're girls" when I say stuff like snot wads.
Molly just said "Eww...Daddy!" and we moved on.

We arrived late and missed an opportunity to park near the start. We had to park a mile away in a church parking lot and jog down to the start. I think it actually helped. After we registered we started looking around at all the vendor tents and bumped into Mike Stabler. He's beyond old school. When I first started riding I would join groups and he would always be there. He was on every Beach Ride I ever did. Organized by Northstar Bicycles the Beach Ride is held almost every year. Around 30 or more riders embark from somewhere near Oakwood and take two days to ride to the beach. So I've spent many miles with Mike Stabler. He's a great guy. But these days he's only running.

We started stretching a little and spotted Johnny Garner and some others we've seen at some of the Dirty Spokes races. Molly told me how crazy it is that we see Johnny everywhere we go. I told her he lives in a tree somewhere in the woods. She hasn't turned all "teenager" on me so she thought that was funny.

We lined up with everyone else and as instructed we properly placed ourselves around mid-pack based on our perceived skill level. That turned out to be an underestimation. Molly was so small compared to everyone else I couldn't help but want to protect her from a crazy start. But the start was fine. Everyone was very gracious...not like the start of a mountain bike race. We ran up a paved road and then took a left into the trail. I started telling Molly how to pass people correctly by saying "Pass Left" and then "Thank You". She was having a really great day I could tell. She moved easily through the trail and down some slick muddy steps. There were plenty of roots and tricky parts of the trail to negotiate. I told her to breath deep and keep passing people. She actually did it.

It turns out the the first mile or so is the easiest. After you cross the suspended bridge it goes up hill. I think a lot of folks pushed hard in the beginning and when it turned up they started hurting badly. Molly kept a steady pace even on the climbs and we slowly closed in on a lot of people.

After the first climb I could tell Molly had developed a cramp. She was breathing too shallow because of it. As we ran down a long hill it was hurting her. I kept telling her to breath deep or it wouldn't go away. She did and it slowly went away. Then we crossed another, smaller bridge and began to climb again. This is where she made the most of her training. With the cramp gone she flew up the mountain, passing at least four other runners.
After that she was at her limit. I kept encouraging her and telling her we were almost done. Once we saw the 1 Mile to go sign she felt better. Seeing there was only a mile to go let her know she could make it. She widened her stride and we flew across the ridge line toward the finish.

I stopped short and stood by waiting to take a picture of Molly's first solo 5K race. She's been training for weeks. I was very excited for her. When she crossed the line I heard volunteers saying "First girl, first girl!". I thought to myself "She may have won in a kid's category!"

Molly went straight for the free Krispee Kreem donuts. That's my girl. I had one too. And a Cliff Bar. But she wouldn't eat anything else because I had promised to take her to brunch after the race.

We sat on a curb and cheered as other runners came in. It was a beautiful day for a run. After a while we started seeing the 10K runners finishing. Those folks are amazing.

We decided to go ask the timing guys how Molly finished in her category. They were really friendly and happily told Molly that she'd won the Women's division. Holy crap! I tried to remain calm. I told Molly not to count her chickens before they hatched. But in my heart I was dancing a jig. "We'll just wait and see when they present the awards".

Molly Hayes - 5K Women's Division Winner
The medal was a hand carved Trillium. She loved it! And I loved her. She was such a shiny happy person from start to finish. We made yet another awesome memory that I'll never forget.

On the walk back to the car I let Molly call every body on the earth to tell them she'd won. My Dad was working at the dealership in Oakwood so we drove by there to let her tell him in person. She calls him Granpa. He was as excited for her as I was.

Victory Celebration at the Waffle House!
I fulfilled my promise to take her to Waffle House for brunch. We sat and watched the cooks do their thing and talked about the race. I think she learned a lot about how to race and how to push through the tough times in a race. We finished the day relaxing...OK I cut grass but it was still a lazy sunny day.

On a side note: I was dragged kicking and screaming to a place in Gwinnett called The Melting Pot. It's a goofy, fru fru, fondue serving place that was very expensive. Probably because it takes 2 hours to eat there because you basically cook your own food. There's 4 courses. They place stuff on a burner in the middle of the table like cheese or chocolate. You dip your food into it. For dinner they bring you little bits of meat you stab with a long fork and stick it in the pot to cook. You can see how long it must take to eat a meal this way. I was very full. It was very good. My only suggestion for you is to make sure you like the people you go there with. Fortunately I had fantastic company that made time fly. Our waiter, Patrick, was very entertaining as well (aye, Greg?). My only regret is not fighting to have "Flaming Turtles" for desert. I really liked the name. I think it could be a great Mountain Bike Race Team Name. "Team Flaming Turtles!" Yeah, baby!

Well that's all for this edition of Chad's News. Join a ride this weekend. The weather is fantastic!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 Chainbuster Granite Grinder Mountain Bike Race

The Georgia International Horse Park is a favorite venue for all kinds of great events. Fortunately for me both of my favorite series have events there, Chainbuster Racing and Dirty Spokes. This weekend they were both out there putting on separate events. Dirty Spokes Productions is run by a great guy named Tim who did a trail run at 8AM. Then Kenny and his Chainbuster Racing series put on a mountain bike race that was a classic.
Racers prepare for a great day of racing.
On the way there I drove through some rain and starting thinking about whether I had the right stuff for racing in it. But that wouldn't matter because we didn't get a drop all day. The course was packed and fast but that wouldn't matter either because it was tough. Lots of rooty climbs and some nasty soup mud. And then the heat took everyone by surprise. It was 85 degrees and humid.

Bill Mashburn get ready for the 6 Hour Solo Beginner Race
After the kids race I began my pre-race routine. A warm up on the first two or three miles of the race course and a last "nature" break before the gun went off. By then my team mates had arrived. David Shabat and Clint Sanders agreed to have some fun and do the 3 Person 6 Hr Race with me. The course would be 8 miles of single track pain.
 We started in the middle of a field in the grand tradition of mass chaos. The usual suspects were there including Wild Bill Lanzillota who has shaved since last year. That fact alone kept him from being recognized right away in conversations at the starting line. Down the hill to my left were team mates Rob Butler and Dustin Mealor (2 Person Male Category). And behind them was Bill Mashburn (Solo 6 Hr Beginner Category). Rob is young, lite and strong. He'll prove it during this race.

The start was a perfect example of why it's important to pre-ride the first few miles. And it's the reason I always get with Kenny on how the start will be. The trick about the start was that it drops you onto a gravel road that you can't see from up on the field. What happens is the start is so wide with riders and when they top the hill and see where they have to squeeze into it becomes a problem for those on the outskirts as they try to figure out what to do. Unfortunately for Bill a rider lost his mind and plowed into him from the side. He consequently started his race in last place. You can see the aftermath in the video.

Clint Sanders
I however was very fortunate to get with the lead group of riders and entered the trail without stopping. I was blissfully unaware of the bottle neck that occurred behind us. The first few miles of climbing really busted the lungs after that start but it didn't seem to effect Rob. He took the opportunity to pass us all and lead the group over the top. He was killing it!
Rob did the courses first lap in 30 minutes and 9 seconds. That's after making a wrong turn in the parking lot and having to cross back over a ditch to get back on course. My first lap took more than 60 seconds longer. I handed the timing chip off to my good friend David and he blasted off. I started telling Clint about the courses climbs and pitfalls. He looked...unsure. He doesn't ride single track and would be riding his new Cannondale Flash 29er Hardtail for the first time in competition. I was excited for him.

Because I wanted to take pictures I wasn't much help during their exchange. David traded the chip and gave Clint a push. Now we're having fun!

During all of this Bill Mashburn was putting forth a great solo effort and we did our best to support him. His knee was bloody and he was dehydrating but kept plugging away.

Since the laps were only taking less than 40 minutes we rotated really quickly. Once we looked at the standings we knew our efforts were paying off because we had a sizable lead. But I could tell the heat would start taking a toll if I didn't keep the fluid and Hammer Enduralytes coming. And the box of Honey Stinger Waffles from Sanders Drugs helped too. I love these races. They test you in so many ways. Just ask Dustin Mealor...

The Crash Master, Dustin Mealor
Dustin flipped into a pool of soup mud and horse poop. Well...it smelled like it anyway. And that started his pain filled trip into crampville. He sat in my chair and when he got up it was soaked with sewage sweat. But he still had some humor left in him as you can see.

David Shabat rubbing out cramps...and smiling.
David was too happy. He's always too happy. I can't understand how he can trash himself and still remain so... happy. I like David.
Because of our great spot at the finish line we randomly picked people to cheer for when they came through. I had the cow bell for full effect.

In case your wondering about my shoes...it was St. Patrick's Day! Lisa bought me some green duct tape. She loves me that much. We also taped up our helmets but that wasn't as cool looking.

Bill Mashburn finishes 7th 6Hr Solo Beginner
I'm most impressed with Bill's finishing 7th out of 34 racers after such a crappy start. What a great performance. David's last lap featured a splash of horse poop mud in the eye. After getting Clint on course he quickly flushed it with water. As we sat around debating the medical complications of this, Dustin delivered his expert opinion..."you're going to get the flesh eating disease".     Nice.

Rob Butler brings it home.
With our race well in hand (we were leading by 15 minutes) we focused our attention on the heated competition in the 2 Person Male Category. Dustin and Rob had been in 1st all day but Dustin's misfortunes and cramping gave the lead to the Gault Innovations Team of Shu Elam and Brent Clymer. And Rob was going to have to do the last two laps. When he came through after his first one he was only behind by about 40 seconds. But the other team had changed riders. They had fresh legs. We didn't give him much chance but Dustin tried to encourage him by letting him know how close he was.
As the time came close Dustin and I stood at the finish line watching to see how it would unfold. Riders came flying out of the woods and down by the fence. We examined each one to see if we could tell who it was. Then Rob came tearing out onto the field. We started screaming and yelling at him. The other rider was nowhere. He was going to win it for them! As he rounded the last corner and ran through the finish line he looked exhausted. He was done. But what a great finish!
Taking in some well deserved oxygen.
It turns out that their competition broke his chain. An unfortunate happening that is as they say "racing". Rob experienced this very thing in a race called Tumbling Creek last year. The guy still managed to finish within less than 7 minutes of Rob's time. A great effort also. Congrats to them for a great race!

Rob Butler and Dustin Mealor, 2 Person Male 6 Hr
Clint Sanders, Chad Hayes, David Shabat - 3 Person 6 Hr Podium
So we had a blast. As usual. And to celebrate we went to Cracker Barrel and had breakfast! Oh yeah! When I finally made it back home, there's no easy way from Conyers, I found my beautiful wife cutting grass. Can you believe that! It's a spoiled life I lead. The Pattillo's were hanging out with us and we just took it easy the rest of the day. After a great morning at church on Sunday we enjoyed the sun and some burgers with friends including the Pattillo's (of course) and the Peck's. Good Times!!

Star Bridges and Robert Loomis raced in the Upstate Cycling Classic this weekend in South Carolina. Star was kind enough to share the tale of Woe with me...and now you. Enjoy!

This past weekend myself and young Robert Loomis went to contest the Upstate Cycling Classic in Pendleton, SC.  Pendleton is a sleeping little hamlet right next to Clemson University, but you'd never know it.  It looked like any other small, old southern downtown district with a few blocks and a even fewer red brick commercial buildings.  It was complete with a square that was home to confederate war memorials.  Just like any other town around here.

Saturday was the Road Race which took place on a 11-mile loop from the start/finish in downtown to way out in the countryside.  Rolling to flat is what I'd call it.  There were 2-3 good size hills that burned the legs and made some selection in the race.  Robert and I entered the Cat 4 race with @ 30 other participants.  Every thing held together until the 3rd of 4 laps.  Four strong riders got away and were quickly advancing their gap.  I read this to be the winning move and quickly got Robert on my wheel near the back of the pack, on the yellow line.  I signaled him with my hand covertly to be ready and after a few seconds, the left side opened up.  I jumped with Robert on my wheel and buried it to try and get him across to the Break.  I only made it 1/3 the way and pulled off, shouting encouragement to him to "GET ACROSS!"  Robert nearly made it but fell back after burning out.  He was excited and determined now that he realized the danger in letting the break get away so only after a moments rest at the front of the peloton, Robert jumped again hard as we crossed a bridge at the bottom of a hill, going probably 40mph.  Then the catastrophe happened.  Robert had received from my secret Chinese supplier a new set of 50mm carbon tubular wheels just that very morning.  I had glued the tires for him two days earlier but we threw on his new wheels without properly testing the gearing alignment.  The result:   Just as Robert stood up at 40mph to launch himself across to the Break....his chain slipped.  Robert was throwing everything he had into the pedal-stroke and it slipped...BAD.  From my view at the back of the peloton, I saw Robert stand, take 2-3 quick hard strokes, then he went over the handlebars.  I will never forget the look of surprise on his face, upside-down, in FRONT of his front tire looking back at me. Catastrophic is how I would describe it.  Robert tumbled and several riders directly behind him went down without a chance to avoid him.  I went left and saw as I past the carnage, Robert quickly leaping to his feet and reaching to untangle his bike.  I continued on with the diminished pack for about two minutes but couldn't really see the reason for finishing the final lap.  I kept thinking of Robert's girlfriend, Amber who would be very distraught seeing only me come through the start/finish on the last lap.  The money was up the road, as they say, so I slowed and turned back to check on Robert.  I found him on the side of the road with a few other unfortunates, bleeding but more concerned about his bike than anything else.  His rear derailleur was trashed, the handlebars crooked but otherwise it looked okay.  There was some cracked paint on the top-tube but I didn't pay much attention to it due to it had nothing to do with the functionality of the machine.  I straightened (read, bent) the twisted components and got him riding again.  His knees were bloodied with Road Rash but otherwise he was okay.  Young people tend to bounce well.
We got back to the start and as predicted, Robert's girl didn't handle it well.  Bless her heart.  She really loves that boy.  Robert finally convinced her he didn't need a Medivac helicopter and we all walked back to the van.  I cleaned him up some with what first-aid I had but the guy had nothing but optimism about the whole thing.  The bike was his main concern.  The derailleur was gone but the new wheels took it well and only the front needed truing.  Later he reported that Nathan O'Neal at Baxter's took a look at the frame closely and pronounced it cracked.  BUMMER.  Cervelo has a replacement policy but it can take up to 4 months to get a frame back.  Nathan though lent him an old Cannondale Supersix of his to keep riding.  What a Guy!  The report I got from Robert this evening (Tuesday) was that his knees are healing nicely and Amber has agreed to allow him to race again one day.  Yay!

Sunday saw me solo in Pendleton lining up for the 45+ Masters Criterium.  I should have known it was a bad idea when the guy who just won the 35+ race, comes back to the line to race again.  Oh Boy.  Then I see there's this guy in a team kit with little American flags ringing each sleeve at the bottom.  George Hincapie has these on his jersey.  They show that the individual was a previous NATIONAL CHAMPION in some cycling discipline.  Great.  As I expected, these two guys put on a clinic.  They jousted back and forth for the 45 minutes we raced as the other 15-20 of us desperately tried to hold on.  I'm surprised they never got away.  They probably didn't really try to.  Turn 3 had a man hole cover 2 feet off the curb and was the fastest corner by far.  You had to thread the needle every lap between the curb and the cover.  It was unnerving.  Surprisingly nobody crashed in that corner.  The National Champ and the Old Pro went 1-2 (no surprise) and I held in for 7th.  I had nothing left at the end.

That's the story.  Robert has immense potential and incredible enthusiasm.  He's just had some bad luck lately and I bet he'll be killing it later this Spring.  He might be our Guy for the State Champ Crit.  With a leadout he could be unbeatable.


Thanks for reading! Enjoy the pollen!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Dirty Spokes Duathlon at Fort Yargo

Dirty Spokes, Inc.
Finally! Finally my daughters are getting old enough to actually enjoy competing in something more than a 5K fun run. Our first real race would take place at a familiar location for my family, Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. After deciding to quit Gymnastics my oldest daughter, Molly, wanted to stay fit and have an event to train for so we started looking at the calender. Last year my friend David Shabat and I were very successful in the Dirty Spokes Duathlon Series but I hadn't considered it something Molly could do because it was so much running. But when I checked the website I found out Tim had a Parent/Child category. Done!

These great folks put on some of the best races in Georgia. Despite the name they're actually known best for their XTERRA trail running series. And in case you are new to my blog let me tell you "I don't run." It's not what I do. I only have time to be good at one discipline. So running is only for bone density and nothing else. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt so much if I ran all the time. It might actually be fun. But right now it's not fun...to run.

Molly has plenty of nervous energy at registration.
But Molly is young and carefree. She doesn't know that running isn't fun. She's motivated by anything. So we signed her up to race with me in the Duathlon. She would run 3.8 miles in the trail and then I'd bike 11 miles. Of course it being her first race we let her Mom run with her.
So that meant that Mother and Daughter were obligated to start training for the race. Cool.

They both made running a priority for weeks leading up to the race and by the time we got there they were ready to complete the task.

I packed my bike and all our gear into a van and we headed out on what was a beautiful Saturday morning. It started out in the 40's but warmed up to the 50's by lunch time. The breeze coming across the lake kept our jackets on though. Especially the girls. Because girls are always cold.
The park is a fantastic place for events like this. There's plenty of trail to allow the runners and bikers to stay separated. There's camping areas and play grounds and boat docks. If you bring the right stuff it's down right relaxing. I almost always bring the right stuff. I had chairs and blankets and food. Sock hats and gloves. The last thing I want is my girls to be miserable. I need them to like this.

At the start I think I was just a nervous as they were. I felt the erg to jump in there and push some people around if they got to close. But that's just my Daddy/Husband genes kicking in. I know they'll be fine. So I took pictures.
Molly and Lisa are lined up and ready.
My Angels!
Molly was wearing our number which had the timing chip built into it. I'd never seen that before but I liked it. The crowd began to swell with runners of all types. There were the super serious guys who had been waiting at the starting line for 30 minutes. Then we had some mid pack guys seemed intent on going after a personal best. And in the back were the folks who simply wanted to complete the course. I was especially inspired by the lady you see in white behind the girls. I won't say her age but she did fantastic! I only hope I'm doing stuff like this when I'm that age. I love these kinds of people. Most everyone was fun loving and grateful. It good to be around and good for my daughter to be around.

Johnny Garner aka String Bean at the start.
And then there was Johnny Garner. He is evidently warm blooded. He was almost naked. Even I felt over weight next to his skinnyness. But he must know what he's doing because his relay team won their division.

I also saw my good friends from Baxter's Multi-Sport. Ron Miller won in the Solo Single Speed Division. Doc (I don't even know his real name) took Second in his division. The team of Ray Mullins and Nathan O'Neill were Second in their division. Kelly Woodard was 1st Place. And little miss Betty Hodges took home a 1st Place in her category. Great day for the Baxter's crew!

The Start.

The Exchange.
Chad and Molly at the Finish.
After my girls were on course I headed to the van to get ready. My plan, regardless of Molly's time, was to time trial the course. So I needed to warm up. I got ready and went down to the Start/Finish to enter the bike course and pre-ride the first few miles. But by that time the speedsters were back and the transition area was full of action. I rode up next to Johnny who had just finished his first run. We watched folks coming in and I got worried that I would miss Molly (I've done that sort of thing before). So I went and got the camera and asked Johnny to take pictures for me. Molly came running up and we made our exchange. I underestimated the amount of traffic on the trail and had to dial down my expectations. It took me 54 minutes to ride what normally would take between 45 and 50.

Molly waited at the finish for me to arrive. I loved it. I've said before that events are more fun after you've completed them than while you're suffering through them. I know how great it feels to be nervous, take the start line, push through the effort and finish the race. I know how great it feels to finally sit down and relax afterwards. Knowing that you did something cool and maybe beyond what you thought you could do. I was excited for Molly. And for Lisa. Now we were having fun.

 We waited around for the awards ceremony to start, hanging out with the Baxter's guys in the sunshine. Which wasn't enough for Molly who wanted to stay bundled up in the chair. I spoil her, I really do. I met a nice guy who rides for Team Iron Data named Jim. He won the Solo division. Really nice guy. The announcer came by to congratulate Molly on a fine win and told her she needed a faster partner. Tim (Dirty Spokes Promoter) came by and encouraged Molly as well.

So there you have it. We did our first race together. And I hope there are many more to come. We had a great time thanks to the Dirty Spokes folks. It gets better the more we talk about it. A lot of the credit has to go to my beautiful wife Lisa. She puts up with me and my training and now has another trainee on her hands. But it's not so bad...she's just as competitive as I am. Perhaps one day we'll compete in the Coed division (hint, hint). 

On Sunday it was biking with friends at Gainesville College. I can't help but share some of those great pictures.

Next up is the Chainbuster Race at Conyers Horse Park. I've somehow convinced David Shabat and he's somehow convinced Clint Sanders to be on a team. It's a special team with a special team name. You'll have to wait and see what it is though. It promises to be a ton of fun. I'll take pictures.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! Check the top of the page for the latest ride and races in North Georgia.

Chad Hayes