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 28, 2012

2012 Chainbuster Heritage Park Race

 6/9 Hour Mountain Bike Race
 In the past this course has been the worst one I do all year. It starts out with a about 2 miles of fun, mostly downhill single track. But after that it becomes anything but smooth or downhill. For some reason I always found my way onto the ground multiple times on this trail. My first time racing here was after an evening of rain. The roots were greasy. The mud was soupy. The corners were loose. I went down 4 times during that race alone. It put this trail in my head and every time I race there I crash... and it hurts. So when the race at Paynes Creek in Hartwell, Georgia was moved to this trail I was not a happy camper.
Now to be fair they have improved the trail since then. No more soup mud, they built bridges and filled in bad spots. No more ridiculous 90 degree turns for no reason. The trail does flow better. It's just not ever going to be smooth and rolling. It will still beat you to death.

I immediately started trying to enlist team mates who would race at a friendly, more subdued pace.

I couldn't find any.
Trace "Pretty Boy" Nabors
So I settled for my usual ultra competitive friends Trace Nabors and David Shabat. They were definitely up for the challenge. And not nearly as scared of this trail as I am.

Our team was set. A motivated 3 Man team of friends dedicated to high degrees of suffering. Because we all know that pain is temporary...but results posted on the Internet last forever.

David "Zombie" Shabat
I arrived early so I could lead the 8:30am Kids Race. I love doing that. We had some really super cool kids who got goodie bags and a podium shot for racing.

Kid's Race!!
I found Kenny (Mr. Chainbuster) who was putting the finishing touches on everything before the start. He looked a lot less stressed than I predicted. His wife is pregnant and due any second. She was there working under strict instructions to keep her feet up. I was also surprised that she wasn't completely miserable. She was...having fun?

What a woman!

Dustin Mealor & Rob Butler
Then it was time to get psyched up for the start. I got our spot under the pavilion set up and then proceeded to get my "fuel" organized. While I was doing that along came Dustin Mealor. He and his team mate Rob Butler were gunning for a win in the 2 Person 6 Hour Category. I was sure glad not to be racing against them today. I follow Rob on Strava and he's been killing it out there for the past few weeks. I was sure he knew every inch of the course. And he weighs about 24 pounds. Dustin always buries himself in every race he does. He may actually be the king of suffering.
Personally I think Dustin will treat his body like a playground until it decides to fail him so badly that he's in the hospital. Then he may take it easy. Maybe.

The Start
 I lined up for the start next to John Galley. I've never met him before. But because we both had the same American Classic wheels we struck up a conversation. He's leading the Beginner 6 Hour Solo Division. (BTW - He won again today) I liked him. Very friendly and excited about racing.

The start was the usual craziness. Everyone wants to be the first into the woods. It's......safer.?

We busted it around the "parade" loop and flew into the woods. I was in the lead group with only 4 or 5 ahead of me. At least until the crash. I found out later that Rob was cut off in the first sharp turn and caught his handle bar. It allowed several riders to get a big gap on the rest of us. With Rob behind me somewhere I lost my rabbit to chase. But that didn't last long...he passed me about 15 minutes later.

Bill Mashburn
I forgot to mention the presence of my hero Bill Mashburn. Bill is an old school racer who still likes to torture himself in vain on a hard tail mountain bike. He owns his own business in construction and renovation. No time to train. But still he signs up for 6 Hour Solo efforts and gives everything he has. You gotta love a guy like that. He's great fun to hang out with. I just need to get him  on a road bike with us.

The field spread out during the first lap. I found myself all alone toward the end of the lap. When I handing off the chip to Trace we were in second place. That's where we stayed for 6 hours.

Trace handed off to David Shabat. A man who had worked until 3:00am that morning. I man who was already in a fog of sleepiness now had to muster the intestinal fortitude to power out a lap that would keep us on the podium.
No pressure.

He did it though. His first of two laps was enough to hold our position. I took the chip and took off. David took a nap.

Rob Butler
Meanwhile the race in the 2 Person 6 Hour was heating up. Team Maverick and the Goose (Rob & Dustin, not necessarily in that order) were in first place even after multiple incidents of heresy including Rob's 2nd crash and Dustin's broken spokes. It's the trail guys...I'm telling you that trail is evil.
They were being chased by our friends Dave and Matt (Team Engine) who's troubles started from the moment they got in the car that morning. It wouldn't start. Then Matt had a problem with his geared bike and had to race on his single speed...hard tail. Yikes!
I blame the trail. Still.

Dustin Mealor
Toward the end of every race Dustin does he is visited by the cramp monster. It's like clockwork. It will happen. I can't figure out how to help him. He says he drinks and stuff but none the less he always ends up rolling around in the transition area grabbing one muscle or another.
Wait. That didn't sound right.

Anyway, we all battled our own demon's out there. Lately both Trace and I have had some problems finding the time to train like we're used to. We both suffered more than we wanted to. And David has been running... not biking. So for him it was even tougher. (Is that a word?)

Trace Nabors
 Our fun finally ended with 7 laps done and 2 Place. We gave a big push to win but it wasn't enough. Trace had to leave early so that's why he's not on the podium with us.
6 Hour 3 Person Team Podium
Bill had to give up his dream after about 4 hours in the saddle. I couldn't believe he lasted that long.

Dustin and Rob brought it home and took 1st in their race. I was really happy for those guys. They were so nasty. They had so much dirt on them I called it mountain biking War Paint. I'm sure they smelled bad too but I couldn't get past my own manly odor.

6 Hour 2 Person Team Podium
Chicken Legs
And so we put another great race in the books. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did not crash. Not once. I hammered with reckless abandon but found my way into nary a tree. The cramp monster was too busy with everyone else. And I felt really darn good.
I was very dirty though.

Congrats to everyone who gave their best! That's really all that matters in the end.

Now I look forward to the plethora of charity rides coming up in the next three months. I hope to see many of you out there! Save me a PB&J!

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

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