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, March 28, 2013

2013 Georgia Rides to the Capitol

I've wanted to participate in Georgia Rides to the Capitol every year since it started 8 years ago. But the fact that it takes place on a week day always kept me from doing it. This year I decided to plan ahead and make it happen. Joe Elam was happy to join me and it didn't take but one time asking to get Stephen Sisk on board. The final and as it turned out crucial part of the plan came together when David Latty decided to join us. The initial plan was to meet at 6:30AM and David's wife would take us to the Reality Bikes start in Cumming. There we could ride to Roswell (20 miles) and join the police escorted ride into downtown Atlanta. A total of 40 miles. After the festivities my wife Lisa would pick us up and take us back to our cars. It was the perfect plan.

The weather would be less than perfect however. Temperatures predicted to be in the 20's to start and we would never see 40 degrees. The day before our adventure we learned why they call it Reality Bikes... the reality of the weather caused them to cancel their leg of the ride. Our plan was thwarted.

But by the afternoon a new plan was born. This plan included a start from Alpha Bikes in Alpharetta, Georgia. Where cyclists are men. And one girl. Shivering like children.
We met with a great group of locals and hit the streets with a fantastic police escort. It was really awesome! And snowing! The group was made up of some diverse riders too. The most diverse was a kid named Buli on a mountain bike who evidently doesn't have any cycling specific winter clothes because he seemed to be prepared to snow ski. During the ride he would jump the curve and ride on the sidewalk (which is illegal in Georgia) but he was obviously trying to get warm so I didn't fuss at him.

We rode out of Alpharetta under escort and began picking up riders along the way. Our group of 13 soon swelled to around 30. By the time we made it to Roswell there were even more.
Java, Java, Java!
The pace was just enough to not really help me get warm at all. I had no fingers. My jaws were aching and I had the cold weather speech impediment going on. When we rolled up to the gathering place for the Roswell departure I saw it.
Coffee! Piping hot coffee! Stephen and I could hardly contain our excitement. I could feel myself getting warmer already. We'll call it the Java effect. It's common among cyclists.

Next we gathered for the journey to the center of Georgia's universe. Atlanta! We would be starting with around 200 cyclists and pick up twice that many along the way.
There were plenty of dignitaries from all around the state. The Mayor of Roswell Jere Wood, an avid cyclist, gave instructions and told everyone who wanted to ride back to Roswell they could join him. That's 40 miles of riding so he truly is a cyclist. Jackson Brevet founder Robert was there to lead the riders and keep us out of trouble. He did his best but after we got into Atlanta the number of riders made his efforts seem more like herding cats.

We left Roswell and started our 20 mile ride to downtown Atlanta and I lost my fingers again. We rode and talked and checked out some cool bikes people were riding. I didn't take too many pictures because I couldn't feel the phone in my hand. One interesting bike I saw was a guy riding was a hybrid, hybrid. His bike was a carbon road bike with disc brakes, a road bar with mtb paddle shifters mounted in the middle next to the stem and a Niner rigid fork. It was like the duck billed platypus of the biking world.

I looked around and saw plenty of people who ride for sport but just as many who obviously ride for love. They just love riding a bike. Any bike. Some folks rode travel bikes complete with what seemed to be fully stuffed panniers. Just in case we got stranded at the Capitol I guess. Some people were completely unprepared for the cold. I rode behind one guy shivering so bad he was creating his own death wobble at 9 miles per hour. He had a thermal underwear shirt on with a 1980's jersey pulled over it. I didn't ride behind him long.

As we got into Atlanta there were more and more folks standing outside their businesses waving and cheering. The moto police were flying up and down the streets working frantically to block intersections and get our cycling caravan to the Capitol without incident. It was crazy and exciting.
They stopped us just before we were to make a short climb to the Capitol and asked the dignitaries to come forward and be first up the hill. Joe Elam is on the Baldwin City Council so he got to go up the hill with them.

It was then that I realized we were waiting at a merge point. Another ride originating from Duluth was waiting on an adjacent street.
The merging of the two rides would create a huge spectacle of cyclists to ride over the hill and in front of the Capitol. It was impressive. I can only imagine how much bigger it would have been if Punxsutawney Phil was a better ground hog.

Video of the Capitol Parade

We finally rode up the hill and in front of the Capitol. There were snacks and drinks and giveaways and banana's. But no coffee. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining. I was just... spoiled.
We hung out at the Capitol steps and listened to the Brent Buice from Georgia Bikes encourage us. He introduced each dignitary scheduled to speak and it was great to hear them declare their support for our healthy life style and for the "Complete Streets" initiative.

 “In a nutshell what it says is that public roads are for moving people, not just combustible machines such as cars and trucks,” Buice said. “Really what we’re talking about is dedicated funding at both the national and state level.”

Photo Slideshow

Our very own cycling Lt. Governor Casey Cagle took time to speak to us even though it was a really busy day in the world of government. It goes without saying he supports cycling in Georgia and I would say he got the biggest cheer. He's a friend of mine so it was no surprise when he called me out in front of everyone. I guess I deserve it for DROPPING HIM LIKE A ROCK every time we ride together.
My blog Casey. My blog.

Full video of his speech.

After that David jumped in with the Mayor of Roswell's ride back. Joe, Stephen and I gratefully accepted a ride in the van from my wife Lisa and daughter Ellie who got to walk around in the Capitol building and watch us ride in. The warm van was sooo nice. We hit the Chipotle Grill on the way back and despite my desire for a nap I went on in to work. What a way to start the day though.

I want to thank the state wide bicycling advocacy organization Georgia Bikes and the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association for putting the event on. It was great to be a part of and I gladly lent my voice and presence to the effort. I will be doing that again next year for sure!

11Alive Coverage of the ride.


2013 Trillium Trek

This past Saturday the weather was bad. The morning of the Trillium Trek trail race it was pouring rain and 40 degrees. But my daughter never asked to skip the race. So we got up and headed to Elachee Nature Center for a 5K or more romp in the mud. I estimate they still had almost 300 runners participate. Of course the usual suspects were there including Johnny Garner and Norma Rainwater and Marcus Seymour.

The great folks from RunnersFit were there taking care of the timing. And they had Krispy Kreme doughnuts! I let Molly split one with me before the race because it made her happy. What didn't make her happy was the weather and I couldn't blame her.

The start went well but she and I both soon figured out why Johnny wears gloves a lot. I prepared us for everything but I forgot gloves. She told me later that her hands were cold the rest of the day.
Anyway, she started well I thought but developed a bad pinch cramp that she couldn't run through. Might have been the doughnut... which is my fault as a parent.
She had to walk for a while and we were passed by several ladies. Up to that point she had done well in the mud and slick roots while keeping her pace high.
The cramp never completely went away but she ran the rest of the race as hard as she could. I was very proud of her 4th place Overall Women.

Once back in the car and into some dry clothes we were having some quality Daddy/Daughter time. We headed to meet her Mom and sister at Cracker Barrel for brunch. We talked about the race and the conditions and the great people... but not about boys. Just as I planned.


Thank you to all the runners who were so sweet to her! Trail runners ROCK!!

And that wraps up another edition of Chad's News! Hope you enjoyed it!

Have a great week everyone!

Chad Hayes

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Chainbuster Green Gobbler Race

There were so many things about this race I want to tell you. I'll keep it chronological so follow me on my emotional roller coaster if you can. I'm sounding a little melodramatic because the weekend started with my 11 year old daughter Ellie being diagnosed with pneumonia. She's my little ninja. She's never been this sick and it really burdened me all weekend. I tell you this so you'll understand why everything I'm about to write seemed like a dream. It was like being in a video game where you and your teammates can make great things happen, overcome unforeseen dangers, and achieve improbable victories... but reality is still there to remind you or who you really are what is really important.

Normally I give in to every man's natural tendency to take an all expenses paid ego trip. I mean that type of mental 10 feet tallness is a gift from God. It's why we can charge into battle. It's what athlete's use to jack themselves up for a race. It's blind belief in the face of the unknown. We all have it. Some men just don't sign up for events where they can let it loose. It's this theory that helps me understand why people do Tough Mudders and Spartan Races. You have it when you're a kid and then forget it. But some of us fortunately find it and let our dormant testosterone loose once again.
I like hanging out with those people.

I say all that to say this... I was not able to take an ego trip this weekend for thinking about my daughter. When I left her on Saturday morning she was better but still hurting and sore. They had a doctors appointment that morning to see if she's made any progress. Before that my oldest daughter Molly was signed up to compete in the Dirty Spokes Trail Run at the University of North Georgia. I headed out to Conyers.

Molly had a great race. She started near the front, which we talked about doing, and set a good pace. There were some other women running with her who actually coached and encouraged her. She tripped on a few roots but otherwise completed the course well enough to earn 2nd Overall Women.

She loves competing with all the great people who frequent these events. The atmosphere is a lot like what you find at mountain bike races. Just great people everywhere, doing there own things but happy to join any bit of fun that happens.

In the meantime I arrived in Conyers and came flying out of the truck to get ready. I normally lead the kids race and I enjoy it. Thankfully Kenny had postponed the race by 15 minutes so I could get my act together. We lined up the kids and for some reason he let me talk to them. I said something stupid like "are you guys ready to race?" I lead them around the course where all the racers cheered as they went by. It's very cool. It always helps me keep things in perspective.

Then it was time to race. My team mates for the day were David Shabat (as usual) and a newbie named Randy Hemphill. Although you'd never think he's new to mountain bike racing because he rides a shiny new Cannondale Scalpel 29er Full Suspension bike. It's purdy.
I don't really know Randy that well. He is soft spoken and friendly and very receptive to all the advice I felt like giving him. He's no stranger to competition. He's a runner who recently discovered that running all the time is hell on your joints when you get older. I liked him right away. And I liked him even more after he blistered his final lap. More on that later.

The Start
 This year the start/finish and the course itself was set up totally different than any other time I've raced there. We raced counterclockwise and the two worst climbs on that side of the road were unfortunately included. There was a lot of open down hill/gravel road/20 mph types of opportunities as well. Looking back on it now I think it may be the best course I've ever ridden there.

The start was too short! Kenny!
I had some insider information so I knew to get off to a blazing start and get to the woods in the lead group. Others had the same idea but ended up knocking heads. Todd Case had to stop and straighten his handle bars.
I flogged myself to get with the 7 leaders and before we were a mile in I realized there was a gap to the top five. I went around the two guys that let it happen but couldn't bridge to the leaders.

David couldn't figure out my phone so his video of the start actually ended up being a short clip of the sprint for the woods. But it's kind of cool so I wanted you to see it.

I wanted to try and stay with Rob Butler. He and Dustin Mealor were going for the 2 Person Male Expert Category and Rob is fast. He also weighs 20 pounds less than me and is 20 years younger. I figured... hey... you might as well shoot for the stars right? Well he was in that lead group that I lost at the start. So I was surprised when I caught up to him about 4 miles in. Turns out he had some stomach issues and backed off. He still beat me to the finish by almost minute. Punk.
I filmed one of their exchanges.

I made my exchange with David and sat down to keep from puking. I went a little too hard on a pan flat section of forest road just before the finish. After I recovered I started telling Randy about the course. He seemed a little nervous which is good. Nervous energy translates into adrenaline.

While we waited I called to check on Ellie and hear the good news about Molly's race. Then I walked around a little to listen to the stories everyone is always telling about the start and the course.
Randy and I sat and watched all the exchanges coming in and soon David was back and we put Randy on course.

As results started being posted we tracked our progress and kept eating and drinking. My turn came back around and this time I settled down knowing we had a lead. It was a beautiful day to be racing a bike and I wanted to enjoy it a little.

Dustin and Rob would come hang out with us and we'd laugh about stuff. We had a great spot right behind the staging area to watch all the exchanges and hear all the stories. I'd say there were around 300 racers. I would also estimate that the Coed division was the toughest. Those folks were slugging it out within minutes of each other at each transition. I especially enjoyed watching Rich Kidd when he would get the chip from his team mate Missy Petty. He would run up and get it and then bounce back to his bike like he'd just been given the key to Pandora's box yelling something like "race my bike, race my bike!" It made everyone smile every time.
Then "it" happened.
David Shabat's carbon handle bar broke on the left side when a tree reached out and slapped it. We're not sure where on the trail it happened but he was forced to ride the rest of his lap with one side gone. There was just enough left to use to keep him stable but no way he could get crazy on speed. But get this, his second lap was only 2 minutes slower than his first. Unbelievable!

Here's the story in David's words:

Chad, Randy, and I were off to a great start as a three man team, down at the Chainbuster Green Gobbler 6 Hour Mountain Bike Race at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia.  We already had a good lead on second place and didn't want to lose that nice cushion.  Before the race, Chad said he "wasn't feeling it" which simply meant he wasn't on his bike, yet.  Randy was racing mountain bikes for the first time, so he had that first-race excitement going on.  I was going in like an old pitcher at a playoff game - willing to push it harder than I should on a body that has a few known limitations.  What I didn't expect is that my body was stronger than my bike.

On my second lap out, I was flying.  I was out there with a solo rider who was 20 years my junior.  He was whooshing through the singletrack  twists and turns with all the usual flawlessness of fellows who, in their 20s, are training and aren't out goofing off, like I was when I was his age.  At one point, out of some wild hair, I passed this guy on a climb and thought I'd put enough of a gap on him to even out my lack of grace in the tight turns.  

I was horribly wrong.

Coming out of a deep dip that took us through a stream crossing, I came flying out and into a right hand turn (watch this phrase) and came out a little wide.  Mr. Young Fellow blew by me and we both laughed because it was some kind of karma that put me in the chase again.  So, this time I played along.  I stuck to him like glue.  I figured this would be my best lap, yet.

I was horribly wrong.

We went into another hard - right hand turn - and again I was a little wide and tagged a tree that was about 4 inches in diameter, with my left hand.  I heard an awful crack!  I thought "well this is it, I broke my hand to pieces".  No, not at all.  My carbon handlebar saved my hand, but it snapped off between the brake lever mount and the gear shifter mount.  "Well, you've got half a lap to cover and you still have all your rear controls still working!"  I was still coasting when that thought crossed my mind.  And off I went, holding the remaining piece of handlebar on the left AND the broken end of the bar with the grip and brake lever.

I was unstoppable.

My adrenaline was pumping as if someone was pouring it into my blood from a bucket.  I was passing people on the big dirt climb.  I passed more people on the power line climb.  I was skidding out in the hard curves, but managed to stay on the bike - oddly enough - minus the left half of me sticking out the normal width, I wasn't hitting anything with my left side when I went into hard right hand turns!  Ha ha ha!  Amazing.

So, now I have half a bar and I am under pressure.

I was worried that I had wasted a bunch of time with my handlebar mishap.  So, I pushed as hard as I could through the rest of the course, especially the gravel road section, where I simply brought both hands to the center and rode in a time-trial position until I got to the transition area - still passing people until the end.No one on our team even knew I had broken my bars.   Chad only looked at my leg, grabbed the chip, and put it on Randy to send him on his second lap.  I couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the race. I said a quick prayer of thanks that it was only the bar and not my hand or worse.  

I have to thank José from Performance Bike for working with the other person I have to thank, Paul Dallas, for lending me a bar for my third lap and swapping the bars out and back.Randy and Chad both did awesome. I cruised through my third lap - and was SLOWER than on that fateful second lap where I only had half a bar for half the course.  I need to find better ways to get my adrenaline pumping!  Cheers to Chad and Randy for being the fantastic gentlemen and skilled athletes and competitors that I relied on.  They brought us victory, while I brought us a little comedy (and some not-too-bad lap times).


While David was out on his third lap with his borrowed bar Randy and I started wondering if he could get a third lap in. The debate went something like this;
We don't need it... but it would be cool to have 9 laps... but David may not get back in time, we need 42 minutes... yeah... but it would be cool to get 9 laps. And so we decided that if there was anything near 42 minutes left when David got back that Randy would go for it.

David arrived with 42 mins 50 seconds left in the race. Randy was ready and flew out of transition. Pretty fun stuff.
I synchronized my phone with the race clock and headed out to a corner of the field I like to call the teaser spot. The course designers bring you out here and you think you're almost done but they turn the course right back into the woods for a little more pain. It's a big tease.

Randy came flying down into the field so fast I could only snap a picture of his exit back into the woods. Then he caught some guys in front of him and because he was with them I missed getting a shot of him on the gravel road.

But it's all good. He finished with about 30 seconds to spare giving us our coveted 9 laps.
Nicely done for a "newbie".

Let the celebration begin!

Rob Butler & Dustin Mealor, 2 Person Male - Expert
Randy Hemphill, Chad Hayes, David Shabat - 3 Person Male
It was a great day for racing! We had a great time and even won our category (trust me that isn't always the case). And then, even though I was invited to eat at Cracker Barrel with my team mates, I was suddenly very home sick. So I said goodbye for now to my friends, new and old, and headed back to Flowery Branch.

Next up is the Georgia Ride to the Capitol on Tuesday, March 26th! I think Joe Elam and I will try to join the Reality Bikes ride from Cumming and then hook up with the Lt. Governor Casey Cagle in Roswell. Join us!!

Thanks for reading!!

Chad Hayes

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Dirty Spokes Duathlon Fort Yargo

This Saturday I raced with my friend Kelley Edwards in the 2 Person Male Category at the Dirty Spokes Fort Yargo Duathlon. He is not a pure runner. In fact he's a Crossfit freak. Which doesn't lend itself to running at all. At least not running fast. But in spite of that he ran like the wind and we finished well.

We arrived in time to set up by the lake in the sunshine. It was 35 degrees but warming up quickly. I knew that Molly would overdress so I had her put a wind proof jacket on and Lisa forced her to go jog. At the starting line Lisa took the jacket. Molly said after the first mile she forgot about the cold.
My good friend Kelley Edwards was my partner for the 2 Person Male Category. He did the running and I did the mountain biking. As everyone lined up for the start they were clowning around. If you look carefully at the first picture, the one before the start, you will see that Molly is towering above everyone else. That's because Kelley put her on his shoulders as if he was going to run with her there. I tell you what... the Dirty Spokes races are great fun!

After they ran into the woods I began my warm up which usually consists of riding the first 2 miles of the course. There were no other riders out there and I felt calm in the peaceful forest of Fort Yargo. I'm very familiar with the trails there and with the effort I was about to give. As I made my way back I noticed the solo leader had already made it back from his run and was on the bike. I went straight to the finish and waited for my team mate.
Kelley ran up and attached the timing chip and off I went.

The 11 mile loop was longer than I expected. I kept a good pace and pushed myself on the climbs. It took longer in the first half of the loop because of a lot of lap traffic I had to kindly and safely pass. Once I got through the bulk of those riders I got into a nice hard rhythm. Since this race was only about an hour I kept my rear shock locked out (Pro Pedal ON) and locked the front shock about half way. My American Classic Tubeless wheels were set at 30 pounds of pressure. It was a really good setup.

At the finish I could tell that Kelley was jacked up on caffeine and ready to blister his final run. And he did. His final run kept us in third place. But he didn't know it. In fact we didn't know where we finished until they called our names at the awards.

Mean while Molly had finished her run and was on the bike. I prepared her Camelbak beforehand with her favorite blue Poweraide and her smart phone. With her phone in there Lisa and I could track her because we've installed the Parental Control Board on it. It's a great app that allows you to pinpoint where the phone is. It also alerts you if the phone leaves a certain zone that you set, like a 200 yard radius around her school. You can also control and/or block anything about the phone along with seeing who is calling or texting. Some people seem to use it for a more insidious reason like tracking wayward girl or boyfriends. But we just track Molly. Like good parents should.

Kelley Edwards lays it all out on his final run.

So I whipped out my phone and after celebrating with Kelley at the finish I headed out to find my daughter and encourage her. I estimated where she would be and waited at the top of a climb. I rode with her for a while and then took a shortcut back to the finish.

Molly only did the Novice Solo which is a 3.8 mile run and then the 11 mile mountain bike but for a skinny little 13 year old it was a lot. She trained for it and did really well by finishing 1st in her age group. My youngest Ellie was there cheering. They really support each other well. Ellie is big into Karate and had her first sparring meet a few weeks ago. She's really good even though fighting is not her nature, defending is and it helps her sparring.
We all watched Molly finish and celebrated with Cliff Bars and banana's. There were doughnuts too. And cookies.
And then we waited... 

Molly Hayes, 1st Place in her age group (Under 30)
Chad and Kelley, 3rd Place 2 Person Male

Happiness and joy is how I would describe the scene after our names were called. Especially from Kelley who before the awards was apologizing to me for his bad performance. He was so jacked up he started trying to figure out how to do the next one with me at Heritage Park.

Big Congrats to all the winners on the day! We were definitely not the only ones having a blast. Tim and his family put on top notch events that we're happy to be a part of.

Next up for Molly is the Dirty Spokes trail run at Gainesville College. I'm heading to Conyers for the Chainbuster Green Gobler race.  Kelley is going to be running like a mad man from now until Heritage.
Some of us have the crazy idea of doing a 5 Man team at the 12 Hour Zombie Race if anyone is interested??

Cycling NEWS!

Newly formed team announcement! Prima Tappa Cycling Club of North Georgia presents:

SkyBlu Smart Fuels, a division of Mansfield Energy Group, has decided to be the main sponsor of our club and racing team for the year.  Their logo will be prominently displayed on our 2013 kits.  Thank you to Mr. Michael Mansfield, Mr. Jack Haire and to Prima Tappa Club members who worked behind the scenes on to bring this partnership to fruition.
Full 2013 Sponsor List:
A+ Garbage Service             Thank you Larry Waters!
Berry Motorsports                Thank you Todd Berry!
EuroTruck Importers             Thank you Sean Philyaw!
Hayes Automotive Group      Thank you Chad Hayes!
Heard's Dirt Works               Thank you Larry Waters!
Kali Protectives                    Thank you Joey Brown!
Kathy Anderson Trucking      Thank you Larry Waters!
Landmark Logistics              Thank you Ray Mullins!
Longstreet Clinic                  Thank you Holmes Marchman!
SkyBlu Smart Fuels              Thank you Jack Haire!
Wayne Farms LLC                Thank you Aaron Leach!
Wells Fargo Advisors            Thank you John Lilly!
Wrenched                            Thank you Nathan O'Neill!

Our 2013 kits have been finalized!  ETA is the 2nd or 3rd week of April.  The complete kit price is $95.  $58 for the bibs and $37 for the jersey.  We will be contacting you shortly before they arrive to begin collecting payment.  I think that paypal.com may be the easiest way to go, but of course we will take cash and checks.
The new kit design has been posted on Facebook and please like us while you are there.

We are looking for volunteers to take on various tasks within the club, so if you are good at something like Facebook, blogging, helping create club structure / rules, etc., please let me know.

This new club and team have several things in the works. A Junior Team coached by Nathan O'Neal. A competitive cycling/mountain biking team and a club team of recreational riders who love the sport of cycling and love to ride in North Georgia. For more information you can contact Sean Philyaw at primatappacycling@gmail.com

Have a great weekend!

Chad Hayes

Monday, March 4, 2013

2013 Southeast Bike Expo

I bought four tickets to this expo with the intention of taking my family. But when the week of the expo came the weather was polar. With wind and spitting overcast misty rain it must have been what it feels like in Seattle during the winter. So I invited some friends to go. Craig Tinsley and Alex Fuentes came over to my house and hitched a ride. Our goals? Clearly we wanted to see the new hotness from each vendor. And score some cool swag. And maybe even ride a demo dream bike. To make that possible we brought some riding clothes. It was going to be fun no matter what!

When we got there they gave each of us a Camelbak Polar water bottle just for showing up. Craig was blown away by that. He loves those things.
The first thing I did at the expo was enter the Bike Tours Direct giveaway. A trip to Italy! Oh yeah! The folks in the tent were really friendly and completely honest. I know this because I tried to bribe them and it didn't work.
We started visiting each tent and talking to everyone. Some were ready, some were getting ready, some were still hung over and didn't know why they were there. I stopped at a tent where a guy was selling clothing and hats with bikes and gears on them. A particular brown hat caught my eye. I thought it would look good on my wife. But I decided to keep going in case something better came along.

Once I found the guys again Craig had hijacked a bike with big fat tires. He rode it around for a while and laughed. Bikes are so fun. And this one also had shifting built into the hub.
Craig loves Continental

We moved on to the Continental tent. These are Craig's favorite tires. He took time to thoroughly inspect each tire. He and the tire salesman swapped stories of undying love for them and I have to admit I was impressed. But my allegiance is to Maxxis for all the support they give to local racing in North Georgia.
We left there and found the GIANT bikes tent and the sales rep there in. He showed us the new Propel road bike that GIANT says is faster than any road bike in the world. And they can prove it! Or it could be some genius marketing spin.
GIANT Propel

But I was more interested in the GIANT XTC Carbon hard tail 29er. I had my eye on test riding the Large with SRAM gearing. But we wanted to check everything else out and come back.
Oh and if you're wondering about the twisted handle bar... that's just in case someone tries to steal it. Imagine trying to bolt out of the expo with the handlebar like that.
They make you surrender your drivers license when you test ride a bike. Just FYI.

Then I met Warren Schimizzi and his wife. They own a company called QRide. It's an advanced emergency ID for riders. You sign up on a website and input all the information you want emergency personnel to know. You receive two highly reflective and very sticky stickers that they recommend you place on your helmet. The QR code on the sticker can be scanned by a smart phone which takes the user to your emergency page. Unlike the RoadID I tend to always forget at home, this would be a no brainer. And instead of calling the number on the bracelet or trying to navigate a website this QR code takes you to the page in a matter of seconds. I liked it so much I got one for myself. And I liked the Schimizzi's too.

We moved on to my favorite glasses company TIFOSI. I've been wearing their glasses for years. I have a pair of Tyrants and some polarized Jets and my wife loves the DEA style. I went through an Oakley phase a few years ago and learned my lesson. Tifosi have always been quality and worth the money. Now with polarized lenses I can buy two sets for what I used to spend on one. Another no brainer.

There were several surprise lubes at the expo. Let me explain. Did you know that WD-40 has a bike lube specific line of stuff? Me neither. What interested me most was the Frame Protectant. So I got some and plan to try it on my carbon GIANT TCR. I'll let you know how it works.

Then there was Skanunu MotorLine. This guy really made me smile. His RV was straight out of National Lampoons. He was very passionate about his chain lube. Or should I say his Earth Safe Chain Degreaser Protectant Lube. We stood and listened to his presentation and then he offered to clean our chains with it if we brought our bikes over. I could kick myself for forgetting to.

CamelBak HAWG
We visited the Camelbak tent where he showed us the latest super cool stuff from them. I have three Camelbaks hanging in my basement. My favorite is the HAWG which is the one he showed us. The new one has these really cool vent things that keep your back cool. And it looks cool too. He also had the GoPro video cameras to demo and offered to let us try them out as well.

KMC Chains was interesting. Not sure I want a colored chain but if your into some serious bling they had all you could handle.

We got to meet the Owner and Builder from Cysco Cycles, Richie Moore. He has some of his custom Ti work on display that was really cool. He uses all the latest industry technology like BB30, electronic shifting, 12 mm thru-axles. I tested a Ti road bike he created with disc brakes and DI2.
I was so enamored I didn't take a single picture. But I did take one of the bamboo bikes?

Bamboo Bikes

We talked to others like the Bike Athens people. They were great. I love Athens so it wasn't hard to impress me. They have a great map of the city which highlights each road and it's vehicle traffic.

And then it happened. We made our way back around to the GIANT tent so I could ride the XTC carbon mountain bike of my dreams. The bike that will slice through single track like hot butter. The bike that I want to ride more than any other bike at the expo was under the undeserving butt of Dustin Mealor! He stole my bike! Stole it! And I called him my friend!

But I'm not bitter. I moved on to the Niner tent. Where I could find a ride on par with the bike stolen from me. Only to find that there were no Larges left there either. We had waited too long. The good $5,000 plus bikes were gone. And who wants to ride an old 3,000 dollar bike... right?

Anyway, we moved on to the SeaSucker exhibition. I first saw these things in Athens at Twilight and loved them. They're kind of expensive and I wasn't sure about them then but now I've seen all the cool iterations they've come up with and I may try them.  At first you think they won't stay put but the design is great. A little indicator on the side of each one tells you if your loosing any pressure. If so you just pump them up a little.

SeaSucker has a great product.
After that we checked out the SRAM tent where I took a look at the new XX1 single chainring crank and gearing. This new 11 speed mountain bike group has my attention because it's design keeps the chain on without the need for a chain guide. And I got a cool SRAM hat.

After that we took our bags of swag and headed over to C-Town Bikes. I've wanted to get over there for a long time. They sponsor nearly all the races in North Georgia and I like to give back. But like a dork I didn't take any photos so you'll just have to use my link if you want to see the shop. Nice place with great people inside to help. I bought some wool gloves.

After that we headed home with some Zaxby's. We had a lot of fun and met some great bike people. I will definitely be going back next year. But the first thing we're doing is ride. I won't be taken advantage of again.

Next up is the Dirty Spokes Duathlon at Fort Yargo in Winder, Georgia. I'm racing with my friend Kelley Edwards and my daughter Molly is racing solo. Should be a great time.

Others are heading to the Historic Brooks races in Brooks, Georgia. Wish I could guys! Go get'em!

Thanks for reading!

Chad Hayes