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.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Chainbuster Tribble Mill (Taco Stand Classic)

And so it begins. Another season of mountain bike racing in North Georgia.
So many great races to do and I can't wait to do them with friends. Not to mention the atmosphere that most mountain bikers bring to the races. I say most riders because unfortunately there were some out there that don't know how to pass a slower rider and still be courteous. Some were even rude to the women! So before I tell you about the great things that happened at this race I thought I'd start with a little lesson in mountain bike racing etiquette. The topic for today is "How to pass a slower rider in single track trail."

David Shabat is Smooth and Fast!
It's pretty simple. If you are gaining on a rider, then you must be faster, so logic dictates that you will eventually catch this person and need to pass them. You should assume the rider doesn't know this because God only put eyes in the front of our skulls and your heavy breathing may not be as loud as their own. For these reasons you should call out to the rider as you approach. I like to yell "Rider Back!" It let's them know you are there and wish to pass. I personally like to add the words "When you can!" because it takes the pressure off the slower rider and they make fewer mistakes. But you can say what you want... it's your race to loose. Now what normally happens next is the slower rider finds a nice wide part of the trail and moves over to let you pass. I always say "Thank You!" And that is how to safely pass a slower rider.
I will admit that some riders don't work with you on this because they've been slighted at some point during the race and are trying to prove a point... no matter how courteous you are. Ultimately though the courtesy is contagious and there should be no reason to channel your inner Rodney King.

I usually don't care to belabor this issue because it will always exist in a race with hundreds of people on the trails. I guess when the ladies start thanking me for not being a jerk I decided to bring it up.

The kids race was fun to watch.
The kids always work too hard at the start and puke at the end. It's funny to watch their faces immediately after completing the race. Everyone stands around cheering and congratulating them but all they want is oxygen. The medal they get is meaningless at that time but as you can see they quickly recover and love life once more. A scenario that never changes no matter how old you get.

Then it was time to start. I've started a lot. It's intense and exciting and I like it! But this time I wanted to film it so I asked Trace to start. He doesn't like it. And David refused to do it. But to Trace's credit he made it happen. 

Trace Nabors leaps from the Taco Stand!
We watched as a hundred riders vied for the entrance to the single track first. They had to race across the small field and then down another rolling field into the trail. The course was different than any other time we've raced at Tribble Mill. The Chainbuster crew did a great job of mixing it up so that we could shoot from the Taco Stand once more! Based on the pictures Trace evidently lept better than any of us did all day. He came through and put us out front from the start. 

I took the timing chip and headed out for my first lap in the cold, windy weather. If I didn't mention it before the temperature started out in the 30's and stayed there while the wind picked up. Gusts up to 40 MPH. One such gust ripped our neighbors tent right up like a parachute and scattered their stuff all over the place. It was a crazy scene as the race went on.
I tried to stay smooth and fast through the pine straw ladden single track. The evidence of bad decisions was in every corner. Piles of straw followed by a long thin trench leading off the trail. The red ribbon put up to keep us on course was too high and confused me. I assume it was that high for a reason but the only one I could think of was to keep wayward riders from slicing through it. Or maybe it was so it could be seen long before you reached the intersection.
I finally worked my way to the best part of the day... The Taco Stand! This is probably not any different than any other large ditch but it's the only one at Tribble Mill and it's at the end of the loop. Jumping out of it fills you will some needed adrenaline for the last two miles.

My Taco Stand face leaves something to be desired.
So I celebrated in the only way I could think of... I made a stupid face at the camera.
I handed off to David and felt really good. And warm. But after about 10 minutes it all changed. I was chilled to my bones by the wind. So I headed up to the Start/Finish to check out where we were in the race and try to warm up. It was then that I learned that for the first time in the series there were two 3 Person Male Categories. We had signed up for the Just Having Fun one instead of the new competitive 3 man category. After consulting with Kenny, the race director, he decided we should stay put because the race was half over and it's not fair for the other category to not know who they are racing against. So that's what we did.
I stood around and watched David finish and hand off to Trace.

As fate would have it (and some expert planning) I only had to do two laps. There simply wasn't enough time for me to do a third. Darn it all! So I took the tent down before the wind did it for me and sat in the car with David. Man was it cold!
 Trace made it back and completed our 7th lap. Securing our victory no matter which category we had been in.
He looked beat. The crazy ever changing weather made clothing choice a tricky thing. Trace was drinking his usual concoction of Hammer Nutritional; 1 bottle (1 scoop Perpetuem, 1 scoop Heed), and two electrolytes per hour.

The Nabors Family are happy as can be!

We all have awesome and highly supportive families. They must be to brave the cold and wind in support of Daddy. 

Our efforts were not in vain. We and many others were winners at the end of the 6 hours race. The day was really fun and we didn't receive any injuries we couldn't deal with. And even if we did injure ourselves badly it's ok because... Scars are Tatoos with better Stories.

Our friends Dustin Mealor and Todd Fisher won the 2 Person Male Category thanks to Dustin's highly melodramatic sufferfest show. I'm telling you that nobody looks to be suffering as much as Dustin. 100% maximum effort all the time. I like him.

My first race of the season was in the books. Not my usual killer effort but it'll do to get me going again. The next Chainbuster race will be at the Georgia Intl Horse Park in Conyers. In fact I'll be there this Saturday at the Southeast Bike EXPO. It will be raining but who cares right?

Till next time...

Chad Hayes    

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships

I've been following Cyclo-Cross closely this season for several reasons. First because I bought a cyclo-cross bike and wanted to learn how to ride it. Second I knew the World Championships were coming to the U.S. this year. And third... Cross is getting BIG! I see new races popping up all around Georgia these days and they look like a ton of fun!

Shay Lindner
For those of you who don't know what Cyclo-Cross is let me tell you this way; Take your road bike and put thin knobby tires on it. Now race it through grass, dirt and mud. Oh and there might be some stairs or 2 foot tall barriers in your way so you'll have to hop off the bike and carry it. All this is done on a circuit loop small enough to allow the fans to be intimately involved in your suffering. A race lasts about an hour or less so think of it like an off road criterium. Accept in these races there's no benefit from drafting. And it's not like a mountain bike race because the effort involves more than just riding skill. You need running skills too.
What I've learned is that being smooth with your transitions on and off the bike are a key. It takes practice. Otherwise you'll find yourself red lining early and never get recovered.
I would love to see some Cross races up here in North Georgia around Hall County. I think we have many places to do it. Maybe I'll get that ball rolling this year. Hmmm.

My good friend Michel Van Musschenbroek took his son to the 2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships held this year in the United States. That's a big deal because the "World" usually goes to Europe for any cycling championships. That's just the way it is. America's love Football and Baseball... Europeans love Soccer and Cycling. So when he told me he was going I told him he had to write a story for my blog. That's just the way it is. And without further adieu I present to you...

2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships
by Michel Van Musschenbroek

Louisville KY, was the site for the 2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships and not knowing if I would ever have a chance to see them again, I seized the opportunity and bought tickets for the Saturday events for me and my son Gabriel.

We left on the Friday so we could try and see the presentation of the riders ceremony for the press.  That however was cancelled, because the Ohio River was rising so fast from the recent storms, there was a fear that the event would be washed out if run on Sunday, so all events were to be run on Saturday.  No way to say it but wow!  All four events; Juniors, U23, Elite Women and Elite Men on one day.  Our tickets were good as they were and we did not have to pay more!

So, with the presentation ceremony cancelled we thought we would still drive down to see the area and scope it out.  Interestingly, the Worlds Masters were run on Friday and we arrived just in time to see the break down of the event.  Did not see any of the action, but we did get to see and talk to some riders. They were all very friendly guys from Boulder, CO. asking Gabriel all sorts of questions about his interest. When we asked them how they did we found out we were talking to the bronze medallist and fifth place finisher!! 

Bronze medallist Peter Webber on the left, Dwight Brandon (3x National Champion) on the right.)

Dwight reached in to his bag and pulled out a beanie for the National Championships next year in Boulder and gave it to Gabriel.  They were all part of a team and they have a very informational website  :  http://www.mudandcowbells.com/

They told us they had over 50 riders from the ages 10 – 18 that ride CycloCross.
Back in our hotel preparing for the day to come we talked about how tough the course was that we saw that day.  The mud was 6 to 8 inches deep in some spots and the weather was -4 degrees Celsius ( -10 with windchill ). These guys are tough and do it for the love of it, not the money. 

So, Saturday morning arrives. Rise and shine!  Nope, rise and 3 inches of snow! This was going to be a real Belgian style day, not for the faint of heart. Having scoped out where we could park on Friday night, we arrived with plenty of time and walked our way in.  Watching the warm ups of the Juniors, we quickly realized it was going to be hard. The windchill had the temp at –12C according to the road signs. Here we are with winter coats, mittens, snow boots, touques (wool hats for those not familiar with the Canadian word), and cowbells, and these boys are riding around, warming up as if it were a spring day.

Michel and Gabriel on course and ready.

The organizers brought the official Bugler for the Kentucky Derby to play the National Anthem and Eva Bandman Park stood silent as we listened to the Star Spangled Banner fill the cold air.  A few minutes passed and then soon we heard the call to the gate by the Bugler over the sound system, a mild cheer filled the air and Junior riders were announced.  Off they went and cheering escalated throughout the park.  Methieu van der Poel was clearly the strongest and showed amazing speed when compared to the other riders and won the event with ease. 


Next were the Elite Women.  I was really pumped for this as Katie Compton was one of the favorites, and all I could imagine was the roar if she could win on home soil.

Unfortunately, this was not the case on this day.  A poor start by Katie had her in sitting behind a half dozen riders and by the time she was able to maneuver past them, the amazing Marianne Vos had such a lead, she was never going to be caught.  Coming second at the world championships to a multiple world and Olympic champion is nothing to hang your head down for.

At this point the Dutch had won both events and were looking quite strong, as the U23 race was about to begin.  Again the race proved to fit the Dutch riders well and as the temperatures warmed up the mud began to show itself.  Once hidden by snow and freezing weather the soil began to soften, and the strain to maintain a straight line became more and more apparent.  Riders began to fall more often; the lines in the corners became more critical as the slippery nature of the mud reared its ugly head.  The Dutch won the U23 event also.  Mike Teunissen was clearly the strongest and while the pursuers were a little closer than the previous two races, it was evident that he was racing with caution the last couple laps.  The color orange was being waved about more prominently after winning three consecutive golds.

A break from racing and a walk through the vendor exhibit to see some cycling products always makes a cyclist feel like a kid in a candy shop.  Wheels, frames, clothing and tires displayed for all to see.  Walking away from the vendor expo the Kentucky Derby Bugler rang through the sound system and the crowd erupted.  The event was here.  The best of the best were about to take to the course.  People ran to the various areas and quickly abandoned whatever they were doing to catch a glimpse.

The race started and the speed was incredible.

500 meters in and the Belgian squad was already controlling the race as five of the first seven spots were from the Belgium.  The pace was visibly faster and the skills incredible.  Mounting and dis-mounting with such precision and ease was incredible, realizing this was being done in mud at speeds normally for the road, indescribable.

My son was cheering for Sven Nys and who better to be with then the boys from Belgium.

Sven Nys (1st), Klass Vantornout (2nd)
Lars Van den Naar (3rd)

As the race progressed the mud got worse, but the speed remained.  In the end Sven Nys won Gold,  Klass Vantornout – Silver and Lars Van den Naar Bronze.
It was a spectacular weekend with memories to last our lifetime.  What was the best thing my son remembers; that I told him if there isn’t mud, it isn’t cyclo cross.  These world championships surely proved my point.


Big thanks to Michel for the photos and story! What a great and even historic event to be at. Maybe one day I'll get to see something like that.

That was last weekend but this weekend saw some road racing at the first of 4 Hincapie Training Series Races. Many of my peeps went up there to get their early season legs figured out. One such peep was Sean Philyaw of CAT4 fame who was even kind enough to share this video of his last lap demise. Enjoy!