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, January 29, 2013

Something that Inspires Me

Over the past few months I've been impressed and influenced by some great things happening around North Georgia and beyond. So many things that I thought I would share at least one of them. Hopefully you too can find some encouragement from this story and know that either; you are not alone or that you can overcome when crap happens that you can't control or don't deserve.

Most recently is the diagnosis given to Benny Bohanon after over a period of a week he went from riding his bike 50 miles to unable to stand to now unable to walk. Benny has ridden countless miles with and without me. He is always invited on any trip we take because Benny is great fun. Always smiling and willing to sacrifice for anybody, Benny is a true friend.
Benny Bohanon

Two weeks ago he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. An unbelievable and totally unexpected event in any one's life but even more so given Benny's love for cycling. I've received many updates from him about the doctors predictions and his own take on them but none made me more proud than this update on January 25th, 2013.

Good Friends,
As many of you may know, I am off the bike for now, I was diagnosed with MS, the day after New Years, and am spending my time in a wheelchair these days. Dr. says it is temporary, and I will be probably be back on the bike this summer. I can’t wait. Right now my legs are useless, my calf muscles that I was so proud of are just loose skin.
I know God has a plan for me in all this, and it has to be patience, and learning to go on his schedule, not mine.
Then last night I was praying. I had this long prayer about everything I wanted God to do for me by Monday, then by two weeks, then by a month, then 6 months. Then it hit me, I was doing the same thing to God that I do to everyone else around me. Giving orders, then expecting it to all get done by a certain time. I had to stop and ask for forgiveness for my demands.
Then I immediately started thinking about some of my bike rides. We rode to the top of some of the biggest mountains in the Southeast, including Hogpen Gap, Brasstown Bald, and Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. Mount Mitchell was the biggest, with 20 miles of uphill grade to the top, and only a couple of short descents to rest. Whenever I was on a really big climb, I would count my pedal strokes, 1, 2, 3, all the way to 100, then start again. Many times I would count over 1000, I remember counting over 3000 pedal strokes once. The guys would laugh at me, when they would be talking and I would tell them they were messing up my count. See what I was doing... I was taking those big mountains one pedal stroke, one Step, at a time. It was like God showed me that, right after my prayer.
So that’s what I am going to learn from all this, and more things too, patience, perseverance, learning to depend on others around me, and learning to go one step at a time. We’ll just have to wait and see how long its going to take to get over this mountain.
Hope to see you all on the road soon.

Your Friend, Benny

That's why I like Benny so much. He just throws it out there. If it's on his mind it's coming out of his mouth. He's just happy to be "in the mix" when he's with all of us on a ride. But don't let me mislead you. Benny can hammer. He works hard and never makes a bad decision. And like I said he's great fun.

So this week I declared my need for a Group Ride. After being a host home with 9 middle school girls for our church's Winter Weekend I was ready to put some miles in with friends. I put it out there on an email and 8 roadies showed up in downtown Lula, Georgia to ride together. Only Stephen Sisk and I knew about the trip to Benny's. I sprung it on them at the start of the ride. Of course they were just fine with it. So we prayed and off we went.

My only concern other than Benny not being there was the first time group rider Alex Fuentes. He was nervous. But he had all the right gear and smiled a lot so I wasn't worried too much. He was riding an old school Litespeed Ti bike with a triple chain ring his father-n-law gave him. He has no idea how cool it really is. Even though I keep telling him.

And speaking of old school, Star Bridges was rocking a vintage 90's John Deer jersey from his glory days on the team in Athens. I really envy him sometimes.

David Latty was wearing a funky green and white jersey that I'm sure I would never have bought from seeing it in a picture. But on him it was totally different somehow. It was so ugly is was cool. And that doesn't happen often. At least not to me.

So we headed towards Maysville on a long road called County Line that was mostly down hill. Not the best start to a ride because we never got warmed up. But we talked and I got to catch up with my friend Sean Philyaw. The back roads in Banks and Habersham are the best for riding.

Once in Maysville we took a left across the tracks and on to Benny's house. We rolled up and I knocked on the door. His wife came to the door and looked really puzzled. I said "We're here to see Benny?" Then she smiled really big and went to get him.
She pushed him to the door and he was surprised. His face was beaming. I felt really great.

The guys were gathered around as I wheeleed him down a few steps. He started thanking us and telling us the story of what he'd been going through. His wife brought him a jacket and took pictures while we talked. He must have thanked us a hundred times. I felt like we hadn't really done much. But to him it was obviously a great encouragement. We were all moved by his sweet attentive wife and his relentless positive attitude. The whole thing weighed heavy on all of us as we rolled away from Benny's home. I started thinking just how many wonderful things just happened?

Our Sunday ride to Benny's house was more than just a visit.

When we rolled to the end of the driveway there was a decision to make. How do we get back to Lula? At that moment nobody really cared. David threw out a suggestion and we took a left.

I found myself on the front with Star Bridges and we rode for a minute just soaking it in. Then he said "Makes you really enjoy every pedal stroke doesn't it?" I said "Yeah, it sure does."
I'm pretty sure every one's conversation for the next 10 minutes included words like that.

During the ride back I broke the cleat on my right shoe and couldn't clip in. This created an annoying but challenging problem. Evidently I've had those cleats for a long time. We rode down a road called Carson Segars and I took the time to hang out with our newbie Alex. It was on this road that he began to ride farther than he'd ever been. His legs and lungs new it but his head must be pretty stubborn because he kept on mashing to keep up. I think Alex would love racing his bike some... he has the head for it. 

We regrouped a couple of times on the way back up to Lula. I stayed with Alex and we talked cycling. His friend Mark stayed with us and we got him back in one piece. I thought it was especially nice of the guys to wait on us just outside of Lula and we all rode in together. What a great day on the bike with friends!

The next day I received an email from Benny. I'm posting it because I know all the guys with me will be reading this and I want to extend the good feeling they carried away from our ride. I was told one time by a good friend that the greatest measure of blessing that God can bestow on a man is when that man gives selflessly to someone else. "The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself" (Proverbs 11:25).

Thanks again for the Bike Group visit Sunday. I know it was your idea to get that together. You will never know how much that meant to me. What an encouragement! I was beaming the rest of the day, I haven’t felt this good in weeks. Looking back, I believe Sunday will be a turning point in my MS flare-up, and God will start his healing on my body now. 
I hope you get a real blessing in return for your good deed.
Thanks again,
Hope to see you all on the road real soon,
Your Friend,
Benny Bohanan

 Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Snake Creek Moutain Bike Time Trials - Race#1

I asked my friend Dustin Mealor to tell you guys about his first of 3 Snake Creek Gap Races. This is a mountain bike time trial series. A race on the first Saturday of Jan/Feb/March that gives no consideration to weather, rising river water, or life threatening terrain. In other words it's a super cool experience. I have to this point never committed to it. And each year I regret it.
For the elite racers there's money to be had. But for everyone who completes all three races (the Trifecta) there's a sweet belt buckle for you. It makes me sick to think about missing it again so I'll turn this blog over the Dustin.

RACE #1 - by Dustin Mealor

The Snake Creek Gap Time Trial Series is not just any mountain bike race.  The Snake is a race that takes 34 miles of trail and crams in 4,000 ft of climbing, huge rocks littering a 1-2 mile portion of the trail, fast descents, a very wide and deep “creek crossing” and cold temperatures.  I’ve been racing mountain bikes for about two years now and this has been on my list since the beginning.  I was finally roped into doing it this year (through very little coercion from friends).  I’ll give a quick little story of how the day went.
We drove in the night before and planned to get up around 7AM so we could eat breakfast and be to the shuttle area ready to go around 8AM.  Once we got over to the shuttle area around 8:30AM (mountain biker time) we ended up waiting for around an hour just to make it on a shuttle to the start line.  Couple this with standing outside in spandex in 32 degree temperatures and it made for a long hour.
Once the shuttle arrived we headed off on about a 30 or so minute drive to the start line.  Mind you when we left in the shuttle the bike shuttle had yet to arrive for our bikes.  Once we got to the start line we had another 30 or so minutes to wait before the bike shuttle arrived.  This is not to say the race wasn’t run well.  I can imagine the logistics of this race being a nightmare.  There were 437 racers for goodness sakes!
Once my bike arrived my buddy and fellow faster-than-me cyclist Rob Butler were off.  Rob dropped me on the first area because I don’t know how to pull up my leg warmers well enough and had to stop.  After I fixed this problem I was off again through sloshy uphills from the recent rains.  When I say uphill I mean uphill.  I swear this course has 85% climbing and technical, 10% downhill and 5% flat.  It’s a tough course.

Screen print of Dustin's race.
The first part of the race was uneventful minus me nailing the “creek crossing” hard enough to soak myself from the waist down.  It was about 37 degrees probably by then so I didn’t freeze quite as bad.  I passed people here and there and honestly didn’t have any mishaps or anything.  My bike got gunked up and started shifting bad but that’s to be expected when you’re racing in the mud.
Once I crossed the road to start the second 17 miles (there’s a 17 mile option that starts from here) I met a girl named Casey that tore me up.  I’ll be honest when I say I’ve never ridden with a girl or lady that could handle a bike like this girl.  I rode with her for probably the next 8-10 miles and she pushed me.  She would drop me on the twisty and downhills and I would catch her on the uphills and motor sections.

After losing touch with my new friend when she stopped at the aide station for a banana I rode the rest of the race with a friend/acquaintance named Brian DeLoughy.  I stayed with him for a while but he finally dropped me and I had the rock garden section followed by the downhill to the finish.  I rode quite a bit of the rock garden that I’ve never made it over before but still had to walk quite a bit.  I caught up to Brian later yelling in pain from a cramp in his calve that I could visibly see locking up from behind (ouch). 
The rest was boring.  I went downhill really fast on my mountain bike.  The top speed on the descent was 44.1mph, which honestly is a bit scary on a mtb!  I finished the day at 3:48 which put me in 6th place for the series.  A great finish to a great weekend!

Here's a cool VIDEO!

Dustin Mealor

Thank you Dustin for sharing your experience. Now can you people see why I want to do this series!

I am looking forward to the Chainbuster Series this year as well. I hear it's bigger and better than ever with some super cool sponsors and BIG prizes!

Here's a local racing EXCLUSIVE - New North Georgia Cycling team Prima Tappa Cycling Club in cooperation with Dingo Race Productions will be hosting a downtown Crit on Saturday July 13th in Flowery Branch!! Oh yeah! Put that on your calendar and smoke it!

Shout out to my Triathlon friends!!!
Also in the planning for April 2014 is a HALF IRON MAN in Hall County presented by FCA Endurance! More on that and it's lead up training weekends soon.

Check back on my blog home page often this year for the lastest race and ride information.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 New Years GAP Ride

Hog Pen Gap, Helen, Georgia
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 1st this ride had to be rescheduled because of rain. We moved it to Saturday morning and prayed for sunshine. Turns out our prayers were answered but we should have been praying for warmer weather.

23 degrees at 9:00AM. That's what we stepped out of the cars into. But that's when the fun began as well. Guys arrived and began to get ready. My friend Wojtek Wysocki (pronounced Voitec) declared his intention to ride his elliptical bike (Zike Saber) all the way to the top of Hog Pen. It weighed 41 pounds.
Okay then.
We all gathered around staring at him as he checked the tire pressure, shaking our heads in disbelief. Odds were not being taken on if he would make it. We were betting he would be in the car with his eliptobike on the rack within 3 miles of the 7 mile climb. But Wojtek was full of energy and so happy to be there. I like him a lot.

Curt Badura
Our group headed out into the cold, anxious to get warm on the climb. The Brave Ones were David Shabat, David Latty, Stephen Sisk, Curt Badura, Trace Nabors and our valiant driver Gary McCarthy. And me.
Curt and Me
The bravest of the brave would have to be Curt Badura who was riding in the Gaps for the first time and against the will of mother nature. His ride would be a new miserable experience that we could all sympathize with for we have all been there. Hog Pen is ruthless.

We left Wojtek before the climb ever started. As we rode past him he was stepping away at his machine and declaring his will was unbreakable. I thought to myself, yeah I can want to run a marathon but it's not all up to my brain. My body has to agree.
I climbed with Curt for a while and gave him some advice he didn't ask for. Then I moved up to David Shabat and rode with him for awhile.
Trace and Stephen were always just around the corner and soon David and I tried to catch them before they reached the first plateau
David Shabat, Stephen Sisk, Trace Nabors

We reached the top and took some quick pics for good measure. Curt decided to get in the car at some point so he was there and ready to try and survive the decent. When David Latty arrived we asked Gary to drive back down and rescue Wojtek. He was probably lying in a ditch at mile 3.

Three Amigos at the top of Hog Pen Gap

If our layers and covers don't convince you about how stinking cold it was I snapped this pic of Trace climbing past some frozen evidence. A nice reminder of our insanity. And yet we were having a blast!?

Trace Nabors and the ice.
Ice Climbing on Hog Pen

When we started our decent of Hog Pen there were about 6 guys with ice picks climbing the ice on the back side rocks. They looked at us...we looked at them...and we just smiled at each other. No doubt an exchange of some sort of screwed up understanding.

Our shivering journey to the bottom of the earth was interrupted by some vehicles taking it easy. It was so cold I didn't worry one bit about heating up my rims and popping a tire. We rode together all the way to Hwy 180 and made the turn toward Brasstown Bald before Gary and Wojtek caught us. By then the climbing had begun again and Curt was suffering. He climbed as long as he could before finally pulling the plug and getting in the car. I was really proud for him for being brave enough to come out there.

Wojtek Wysocki, our European Connection.
When we reached the top of Jack's Gap we learned that he'd done it. Wojtek had actually ridden his bike all the way to the top of Hog Pen. I was amazed and impressed he had done it. It took him 1 hour and 15 mins.
Pretty cool.
He spent the rest of the trip filming our ride and talking about all the cool stuff he was allowed to demo. He also let us know he would be heading to the Cross Worlds and hanging out with Sven Nys. I seemed to be the only guy who's up on CycloCross news so I was probably the only one  who knew how cool that was.

Trace Nabors, David Latty, Stephen Sisk
We made our way around to the Unicoi climb where I decided to empty the tank before our decent back into Helen. Turns out my fuel gauge is rusty and my tank was already empty. But I gave a good strong effort for my part and brought us to the top in short order.

After a short break we began our decent. Trace and I agreed that the Unicoi and Woody's Gap descents are the best of the six Gaps. Not so steep you would even touch your brakes but curvy enough to lean in and slice up the road like a Ninja Cyclist!

We all enjoyed the ride down and came back together for the final miles. By that time the temperature was a sunny 35 degrees.

The Brave Ones return.
When we got back Wjotek had laid out some really messed up looking bikes for us to play with. David Shabat quickly jumped on the Hog Pen stepper and stepped his way to a stand still on the hill behind the church. Very funny stuff. I gave him a 10.

I tried out a bike that required snow skiing muscles I have never developed. It took some instruction to get it figured out but once I did it was fun. David pulled a groin muscle when he tried it. Again...very funny stuff. Thanks Wjotek for adding something fresh to our ride!

Me and Gary McCarthy
I don't have any photos of him because... well... he was taking the photos but our driver was Gary McCarthy. If you don't know Gary then you are sorry. Very sorry. Because he is a blast to have around. He drove all the way up there to take care of us and that's what he did. I can't imagine how this trip would have turned out if Gary hadn't volunteered to baby sit us. We all owe you Gary! Thanks for doing it!

Wjotek's Wild Ride

Riding with Friends

Ice Climbing Video (The actual guys that day)

And so ended another adventure in the GAPS. 2013 could now officially start. It's time for new plans, new goals, and new adventures. I've signed up for my first one. I'll be doing the Gran Fondo New York in May.
Rest assured I'll be taking a ton of pictures and video. It's not Europe but it's a start.

Check back on my home page here for the listings of rides and races as they become available.

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes