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 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

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