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, April 24, 2012

Baxter's Saturday Morning Ride...and Cheerleading

I'm kicking back watching bull riding on TV with my girls. Something tells me they've never seen bull riding before. They're just staring at the screen...mouths open. I'm sure I'll be interrupted momentarily with questions. The answers will no doubt be similar to the ones I'd give if they asked me why people skydive? Should be fun.

This Saturday I didn't have a race or anything super cool to do...on a bike. The weather man warned of rain in the morning so I didn't try and put together a ride with friends. And my daughter declared her desire for us to drive to Athens and watch the UGA Cheerleading try-outs in the late afternoon. I decided that I'd get up and see what the radar looked like and make a decision. Sean Philyaw gave me a call to let me know I could ride with him and the Baxter's guys at 8:00am. So my choices were as follows: trainer workout, Baxter's ride.

The morning came, the radar was clear, so I loaded up and headed out to Baxter's Multisport. The weather was perfect. Overcast and 60's. I rolled up at the same time as Sean and I guess I looked like I was in a hurry to get ready because he came over to tell me the ride actually never "really" gets started until around 8:15am. And it's always Nate's fault.

OK. He didn't say that about Nate. But I got the feeling when he arrived last that nobody was surprised. You would think he spends all day there and isn't in a hurry to get back.

That's actually true. Nathan O'Neal (8 Time Australian National Time Trial Champion) works full time at Baxter's. He also recently started a new promotion company called Dingo Race Productions. They have two races on the USA Cycling calender this year. He and I have talked about it some. His main focus is on the racers themselves. He told me that he wants to treat the racers like pro's and not just treat them like "the money". Sounds great! His first race is Saturday, May 12th with a Time Trial in the morning and a Road Race in the afternoon. He's spent time and money to have police officers everywhere so the riders are kept safe. This being their first race I'm willing to give him a break if it's not perfect.

As we rolled through North Georgia I got a chance to meet Stephen Masopust. Seen here on his Green Machine that he purchased while he and his wife lived in Colorado. He's a really nice guy. I talked with him a lot. I wish I could remember the name brand of that bike. It had a really neat pannier on the back. I usually don't notice things like that but I'm working on building up my new Ritchey cross which has braze on's for attaching a pannier. I wished I had it for this ride.

Of course I talked to Sean. He and I are becoming thick as thieves. I can't seem to race without him. So naturally we talk about racing and training and suffering. He's getting stronger every day so we may not be friends much longer. In fact I noticed the band-aid on his arm and Sean has had some anger issues lately. Can't control his temper. Raises his voice and gets belligerent with other riders. I just don't think we can be friends anymore. I mean, I've got kids to think about.

It was great seeing old high school friend and new Daddy Tim Evans. He has a great wife like mine who, even with a new born at home, allows Tim to ride on Saturday mornings. Now that's love.

John Strickland is with out doubt a fixture at Baxter's. He loves to ride and loves hanging out with friends. And he's pretty darn funny too. As well as a bit cold natured. Like me he seems to enjoy watching Pro bike racing as well. He and I talked about the Classics over in Europe.

Mark "Doc" Stautberg is another "up for anything" type of rider. I see him every where. He even likes to race in Duathlons with Ron Miller. Mark always has a smile and a great attitude. I like him.

Others in our ride included Craig Bailey and some guy on a flat bar bike named Nick. It was a great group. We rode a long way into North Georgia. Almost to North Carolina. Almost.

Once back at the truck I had to get out of there and back home. So I loaded up, told everyone bye, and drove the speed limit back home. (No incriminating evidence here)
That effort proved ridiculous because I rushed into the house to find all three girls, still in pajamas, watching TV. This is when my "C" personality kicked in and I started doing the math. It takes on average 1 hour for all my girls to get ready to go somewhere once the clock starts. And the clock was a long way from starting. They were very comfortable. So I mowed the grass and waited for the clock to start.

Once the decision was made to go, I took a shower and we were on our way. My daughter Molly has decided to start "cheering". I won't explain in detail what that means...both literally and monetarily...let's just say it's the next big thing. My wife Lisa was a Varsity Cheerleader and a coach. She has strong feelings about how a sport can help a child mature. She also has strong feelings for her alma mater UGA. This is all good for me. After all...Happy Wife, Happy Life.

We arrived at the Colosseum in time for the final round of try-outs. You would think that being a red blooded American male that I'd enjoy watching the scantly clad young women bouncing all around. In fact I was kind of looking forward to it. But there I sat next to my little girls and my beautiful wife. And all I could think about was how I wouldn't want some dirty old man staring at them.

So I decided to focus on what was most important about this trip. We talked about who did the best and who should make the cut and who had the best jumps and tumbling and energy. And did you know that the cheerleaders at UGA get scholarships! No wonder it's a competition to get on the squad. Now I'm really on board with Molly's cheerleading!

After that we ate a Little Italy downtown. The whole trip was fun. I love my family!

So that's it. Another great weekend. And we'll be back in Athens, GA for Twilight next weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2012 Georgia State Criterium Championship

I'd never been to Historic Tattnall Square Park in Macon, Georgia. I'd never been to the campus of Mercer University. To be honest, other than the City of Macon, I didn't know where we were going when we loaded up and left Oakwood at 7:30AM this Saturday morning. But let me tell you people it was a beautiful campus. No wonder people love going there. Joining me on this weekend's quest were my friends Star Bridges, Sean Philyaw and young punk Robert Loomis. I looked forward to everything...even the 2+ hour drive because we would all be together and free to be...guys.

So before I tell the story of the day let me tell you who the players are:

Star Bridges - Married now for about a year and a half to Mrs. Lisa, Star had been a bachelor until that time. He's my age which gives us the same life history but Star has nearly 25 years of bike racing experience in his head. He started racing years ago when men would carry tires on their backs like Rambo carried bullets. He has seen it all. A veteran of the Athens racing scene Star raced with the fabled John Deer team. He was  Director Sportif for the United Community Bank Cycling Team during their glory years at the Tour de Georgia. He's been to every decent southern state there is to race his bike and some non-decent states too. There's nary a downtown manhole cover that hasn't felt the rubber of his tires and/or kept a piece of his skin as penance. When he speaks...I listen. And he's back in shape after taking some time to earn another degree in college. What's that all about?

Sean Philyaw
Sean Philyaw - Hardly a spring chicken, Sean is racing his bike for only his second season ever. Like me he picked up the habit a little late in life but boy has he made strides. We met last year during some rides my church's cycling ministry put on. He likes to tell people that I pressured him into racing. That's just silly. Every man is born with a racing gene. Some give into it wholeheartedly. Others try competition every now and then so they can satisfy the itch. In some men...the gene is dormant. But Sean has a double dose. All I have to do is mention a race and he's ready.

Robert Loomis
Robert Loomis - At 23 years old Robert is a lot younger than any of us. This is his first year of racing and it shows. I believe his first race ever was the season ending Grant Park Crit in Atlanta last year with Star and me. He's like a sponge. Soaking up all the advise and trying everything. He's great fun to pick on too. It's kind of like having a rookie to play tricks on and stuff. We like to shake him up and watch him go. He's got a great attitude and is very polite. I like him a lot. He hasn't really bought into the cycling thing completely though. It's our belief that he'll never have success until he settles things with the cycling gods and shaves his legs. We're just sayin'.

Preparing for battle at the State Crit Championships
We arrived and found a perfect place on the course to set up shop. Robert's CAT5 race was an hour away and our CAT4 race was two hours away. The Junior races were happening. We registered and came back to the van to start pinning numbers on while Robert got ready to race. After seeing the course we had some final advise and off he went.
CAT5 Start - Robert Loomis

I was able to make some video of the CAT5 start, the middle, and the finish. Before you watch it I'll tell you what happened. Robert was great! He was all over the front without a problem. He even attacked them one time to see if he could get away. We cheered him on every time the field came by. Then on the final lap Star and I went to the finish line to watch the sprint. Two pictures above you're looking at the final turn and then there's a slight uphill to the finish of about 150 meters. We fully anticipated Robert to be sprinting for the win. Sean was back at the van and said Robert was leading into the final corner. He stood up and hammered down on the pedals. His weight was too far forward and it caused his back wheel to hop up and shift over. The whole action caused him to loose control and crash. His second crash in as many races. The equivalent of being two inches short of the game winning touch down. Can you say "character building experience"? Robert can.

Robert is OK. His knee is messed up and his elbow...again. But mostly he was just disappointed. I just can't wait until his next race. I'm channeling my inner Mr. "T" when I say, "I pity the fool that races against Robert next time!"
We started getting ready for the CAT4 race. I gave Robert the cameras and he did so much better at taking photos than I did. We warmed up by riding around the Mercer campus a little. When we got back to the van Robert was missing. I didn't see him again until the race was over.
The three of us rode up to the starting line just in time and took great positions at the front. Then we were surrounded by, according to Robert, about 58 fellow cyclists. The largest field that day. I have to tell you that I don't remember anything after that. It was a strange race when I think back on it. I don't remember anything that didn't happen within 10 feet of me. I never looked around. I never heard any noises, not the announcer, not the music, not anything. I was very focused because basically I had no choice. We were moving so fast and it took big effort to stay near the front.
Each lap was .7 miles in length. Basically we raced around one city block. The corners were nice and wide. There was a hill on the back side of the course and a 150 meter slight uphill to the Start/Finish line. The picture on the right shows the last corner before that uphill finish begins.
I followed Star's lead and we kept ourselves near the front. I never saw Sean but as you can see in the pictures he was right there with us.
I tried to focus on my breathing and making the best gear choices. Each lap I tried to think about how to attack the last one. Especially the sprint.
Riders would take advantage of a downhill on the back side of the course to try and move near the front. Sean and I were both almost taken out by riders advancing on the outside left who would not declare their presence or intent. One rider hit my arm as he passed by and nearly took me down. These are the perils of Crit racing. I politely informed him of his mistake. Due to a lack of oxygen my suggestion was limited to only a word...or two. Many such words are used during a criterium race. It's common.

The picture on the right was taken as the climb on the back side begins. You can see how everyone is gasping for air. Check out Sean's stressed out leg muscles.
There were attacks all during the race but the pace was so high that none of them lasted even an entire lap. We hammered around the course as if it were the State Championship or something.
With about 5 laps to go the cycling gods struck a blow to my veteran friend. A rider avoiding another rider steered into Star's back wheel and broke Star's derailleur along with about 4 spokes in his rear wheel.
Miraculously he held on and didn't crash. He slowly dropped back through the field and got safely stopped. Star's race was over.

But I had 5 more laps to go. And now the field ahead were energized by what they must have thought was a crash and possibly a resulting gap in the field. The pace increased. When we swung around to the climb again I heard Star call my name. He was standing on the side walk holding his bike in the air and yelling something. It was the first time I remember anything happening outside my 10 foot radius. It started my mind spinning about tactics for the remaining laps. I was sitting in the top 20 and needed to be closer to the front before the last lap.
 Experience has taught me there are only so many options in a situation like this. The pace was high. The energy required to move to the front would be close to sprinting power. If I made it up there and nobody would let me in then I'd be stuck in the wind, blowing myself up to stay there. Then I'd have nothing left to sprint with. Instead I chose to use the course to advance on the outside using the least amount of energy possible. Under the circumstances I only gained a few spots before the last lap began. So I waited.

There's also the "agreement" to think of. You see the three of us agreed that on the last lap if one of us found our self behind the other then the guy in front would lead out the sprint. All you had to do was say the rider's name.
So I listened for Sean to call out my name. When I didn't hear it on the final stretch I knew it was all mine to sprint for.
The last turn came really fast and we were sprinting like mad. My plan was to start one gear lower than I'd been in for that section. If I needed more gear I could pop it down during the sprint. But I didn't need it. Or maybe it's more correct to say I couldn't have pushed a bigger gear. My sprint maxed out at 1300 watts. That's really good for me because I'm skinny. I managed to hold my place and took 15th out of the 54 guys that finished the race. 25.6 MPH Average Speed and 320 Watt Average (I don't know how to do "normalized power"). Not bad for a 40 year old in the State Championships.

Here's a video Robert took during the race:

 Sean finished in 26th and was not very happy with it. He's extremely competitive. I told him, and it's true, that it was a great result. When you consider that he broke his elbow three months ago and that it's only his second year racing I call it a great result.
We all met back at the van to calm down and talk about the race. It took me the entire cool down lap to get my bearings. That sprint really hurt! I found my friends all smiling and jovial even after the mornings events. The stress of the race took some time to get over.
We sat and recovered for a while. Talking about the race and watching the Master's race. We talked about the crashes and near misses and lack of oxygen in the Mercer University air.

After changing clothes I walked up to the finish line to see the official results. I watched with much envy as the CAT4 podium was awarded. It would be so cool to win a State Championship. I probably never will but it won't keep me from trying again. The Road Race Championship is coming up so I'll get another crack at it.
Broken spokes.
We packed our things and headed north. Our job here was done. But we were hungry so we found the nearest Moe's and scarfed down some TexMex. Then we got back on the road but a Starbuck's called to us in harmony with the Dunkin Donuts right next to it.
An opportunity presented itself during this time. A teaching opportunity for the young Robert Loomis. You see I didn't buy just myself a doughnut. No my friends. I bought my wife one and my two girls one. And I used this humble act of selflessness to show Robert how easy it is to keep the women in your life happy. You just have to always...sincerely...try.
I'm not saying it works every time. I'm not saying they always appreciate the effort. But you have to always look to show them you are thinking of them. You even get points for trying. Oh yeah. And that's better than no points at all.
We made it back to the park-n-ride in Oakwood. I wish I had a voice recorder to record all the stories and recounts and banter that went on during our trip. It's stuff you can't recreate. In a way that's what trips like these are all about. It's why I look forward to them. It's why I love bike racing. A beautiful day, a great destination, some competition, and great friends. I can't wait for the next one.

After that I went home and unloaded the van so I could join my family at the church. It was Respite Care night and we volunteered to help. From 4pm to 7pm the church provided parents of special needs children some time to relax. They can drop off their kids and we play games and make crafts and eat pizza. My girls love it. They buddy up with one of the kids and play with them the whole time. I was too late for some of the best stuff but did get there in time to hang out with them at the finale. They gave away prizes and had a dance party. You can imagine how much these special children enjoy being spot lighted and set apart. Watching them made me feel blessed in so many ways. How could anyone complain about anything while these children and their parents struggle mightily yet still find joy?

Well...that's my weekend. Better than some, worse than others. Like I said, I wish I could record every moment so you could hear all the great stuff that went on. Guess you'll have to make your own super cool memories. And maybe next time you can join me on one of these trips.

Last Place is better than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.

Oh, and here's the progress on my new Ritchey Ti Cross bike. I'm just waiting on a new front derailleur. I hope to be riding it next week!
Lots a Love!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gainesville SORBA Ring in the Spring

SORBA - Southern Off Road Biking Association.
Here in North Georgia our mountain biking trails are incredible. The trails drain well. They are always clear of debris. They have bridges and jumps and scenic ridge line riding. And the reason for all this biking joy? SORBA. This group puts hundreds of man hours into our trails here and my family and I are very grateful. SORBA ROCKS!

Gainesville SORBA works particularly hard on a trail system that is famous here in our area - Chicopee Woods Trail System in Oakwood, Georgia. This weekend they hosted a festival at the trail head that they called Ring in the Spring. My wife Lisa and I made plans to attend...right after breakfast. :)

Chicopee Woods Trail Head, Oakwood, Georgia
We took our time getting out of bed because...we had no kids! Oh yeah. The kids spent the night at their cousins house so we slept in and then went to eat breakfast at Curt's Restaurant in Oakwood. Lisa...my southern belle...got biscuits and gravy and I had some hotcakes. We arrived on the scene a little after 9:00AM. There were already some vendors there and a lot of riders on the trails.

Vendors set up at Chicopee Woods
I registered for the Discovery Ride and we began mingling. The UC3 SORBA President Dustin Mealor was there to support the cause. We met lots of great people including a past president named Stan who was selling stuff I wanted but couldn't buy for reasons I'll tell you about later. As I prepared to go do the Discovery Ride I saw a good friend Andy Johnson who has worked for Hayes Automotive for years. He's also one of those crazy single speed riders. You know...only one gear on the front and one on the back. I tell you I just don't understand the fun in that. But I'll will say this, the single speed riders are the smoothest riders in the woods. They slip through the trail and don't waste a bit of energy. Late in the endurance races I find myself behind some of them and it's really impressive. Very smooth and fast.

The Discovery Ride works like this. You get a "punch card" with ten circles down the left side for the ten punches you must get from punch tools hanging throughout the trails. For each punch you bring back you get a raffle ticket for cool prizes. My goal...get all 10 punches. Duh! To do so you basically had to cover every patch of trail out there. Because I was leaving so late I had only two hours to get it done. Andy decided to try and do it with me. On a single speed. I like it!

The Discovery Ride Prize
We rode together for 1 hour and 45 minutes and collected 8 punches. We found ourselves on the other end of the forest. As far from the trail head as possible with 15 minutes and two punches left. Andy graciously told me to go for it so I left him and time trialed back, collecting my last two punches and getting my tickets to prize heaven.
But let me just tell you that my man Andy made it back with two minutes to spare. How's that for some hard riding? We celebrated by having a burger and oreo's. Then we stood around as they pulled the winning tickets out of the bucket. Andy won some socks I think. I ended up with nothing, nadda, bumpkis, zilch. But it was for a great cause and we had a blast. Lisa ran the Alachee trails while we were gone. So we were all tired but happy to be out in the beautiful weather.

Riders enjoy burgers in the shade.

This Wednesday will be our second group ride of the Spring/Summer. The first road ride was in great weather despite what the weather man said. I drove a SAG van and managed to spot other riders and invited them to join us this week.  We should have a good group leaving from Anytime Fitness in Oakwood every Wednesday at 6:30pm.

The Mountain Bike Ride from Chicopee Woods meets at 6:30pm as well. Usually lead by Matt Williams and Bill Mashburn this is a relaxed No Drop ride through the trail. Matt told me the first ride was really great thanks to a super cool Veteran. He lost his leg below the knee fighting in the middle east. He rode the trails using a prosthetic limb with a clipless shoe on it. How cool is that! I'm sorry I missed that ride.

Join us each week for those rides and other SAG Vehicle Supported Rides we'll be putting on this year. Watch my blog for news and dates. Remember, these rides are No Drop, Easy Pace, Recovery Rides of around 14-15 MPH Avg. If you want to hammer you can find that at a Tuesday or Thursday night throwdown ride from any area bike shop. I do. :)

Ritchey Breakaway on the way!

I got tired of waiting on the 2012 Breakaway Cross (White) to be released. And Joe Elam must have guilt ed the Ritchey Rep into giving me a great deal because that's what put me over the edge and caused me to order a 2012 Ritchey Titanium Breakaway Cross bike. It should be here this week!
But I'm not very excited. It's not a big deal. I could take it or leave it.

It's going to be GREAT!

I don't know if I'll have time to write about the construction of my new bike next week because I'm racing in Macon, GA with Star Bridges, Robert Loomis, and Sean Philyaw. It's the Georgia State Crit Championship. Hopefully Robert got all his crashing out of the way in the Carolina race last month. Either way I'm very excited to be racing with friends this weekend.

I've started working on the 2012 Lt. Governor's Ride for FCA in October. It's going to be huge! I'll keep you all informed of my progress and what we've got planned. I'm told HealthNet will be a big part of it as well as some fancy dignitaries. We'll see.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Saturday Morning Group Ride

The Saturday Morning Group Ride. Every cyclist in the world has been on one. It's as diverse as America itself. Some are aggressive and become a race after reaching an agreed upon spot on the route. Other rides are semi-aggressive. They may have sprint points along the way and after each one the riders slowly come back together to talk about what happened. Other rides are simply "No-Drop" rides from beginning to end. These rides can be the best ones. They usually last the longest and bring out riders from every end of the fitness spectrum. The character's you meet and friends you make can be like going from "Little House on the Prairie" to "Jerry Springer". But that's the fun of it.

In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity. - Ambrose Bierce

The Habersham Bicycles Saturday Morning Ride

This weekend I was really looking forward to a Saturday Morning Group Ride with some friends at Habersham Bicycles. Every bike shop has a Saturday ride but I'm usually committed to a race or something with my great family and can't make them. Last week Trace Nabors called and said he "finally" had a Saturday morning with no softball practice and needed to get out. I immediately thought of getting with Stephen Sisk and others to put together a long ride. Once David Latty found out we wanted at least 50 miles he went to work on an extended route to the normal 20 mile spin that Habersham usually does. I was excited. A ride with friends.

The rain over night had passed but the roads were still wet for the first hour. We rode through the back roads in Habersham County without the pollen! Yippee! We rode and talked and shuffled the order and talked some more. There were some sprint points that some of us tried for. And then I messed up and missed a turn because... well I just did. Trace and Benny chased me down and then we had to chase back on. That messed up my happy ride mojo for a while.

Joe Elam and Kim Cantrell

Joe Elam was sporting the new Shimano Electric Ultegra on his bike. I wondered if the wet roads would do anything to it but he never had a problem. Trace however had two rear tire blow outs. But it never dampened our spirits. After what is normally considered the basic Saturday loop we headed East toward Gillsville. The air was crisp and clean. The grass and trees were remarkably green. Nobody was mean, I felt really lean, it was a beautiful scene... ok that's stupid.

Trent Smith and Trace Nabors
For a while I thought I new right where we were. Then we turned right and I was lost as last years goose. David somehow knows the backest of back roads and took us on a journey through time. It's been a long time since I felt helpless on a ride. The scenery though was awesome! Quiet farms and hay fields. Bridges and creeks. The dogs we encountered had no idea what to do about us. We started seeing animals everywhere from horses to turtles to field mice. I only say that about the mouse because we nearly took one out when it sprinted across the road in front of us. Quick little suckers. But very predictable. Not like a squirrel.

Benny Bohanan, Bill Floyd
 As the morning rolled on we sliced through the country, climbed up a hill and bam! there was Hwy 441. This is where Trace's first tire change occurred. Thankfully we had our bike mechanic along for the ride (Joe Elam) and he made quick work of the tire. We hopped onto the Highway for about 50 yards and turned left on Old Hwy 441. This short stretch of single file sprinting is evidently known as "Running the Gauntlet". We safely made it and rode our merry way to where Old 441 meets the famous Apple Pie Ridge Road. This is where Traces second flat happened.

Stephen Sisk and David Park

The rest of the group slowly made their way to the final obstacle of the day, Baldwin Mountain, while Joe, Trace and I stayed behind to fix-a-flat. After that we chased back to our friends and enjoyed a leisurely tour of downtown Baldwin, Georgia (it took about 15 seconds). A great ride by any standard though. It was 48 miles of physical fitness that most couch potatoes will never understand. I was home before most of them rolled over. And I felt GREAT!

Public Service Announcement

If you or someone you love is suffering from "Couch Potato-itis" there is a cure. It's an age old remedy that was first used in the mid-390's BC by Democritus who said, "Throw moderation to the winds, the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains". His antidote to the rising tide of "I'd rather play with my X-box" was...in a word...Shame. So here is the cure for Couch Potato-itis...updated for the 21st Century.

Well that's all the shame I have to bestow in this edition. Join a ride from a local bike shop near you. There's a list of the best one's located on my "WEEKLY Rides in North Georgia" Page on the right hand side of this page.

Join us on Wednesday nights at 6:30pm in Oakwood to get started! See the top of my page for details.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes