Photo by: Steve Hampton HH MultiMedia.
Rain, Rain, Rain, oh and MUD! It seems the Goneriding series races can not get a break from the Rain. After racing GSC#2 in Winder in mud, muck and rain, we were hoping for blue skies on Sunday. However as most of you who tried to sleep through the night of storms and weather alarms citing flash flooding and thunderstorms now know that it was a wet day. In fact some potential Angry Monkey Racers even turned around in the storms and headed back home Sunday morning. As I was driving though Atlanta on my way to Conyers, I too thought that maybe this was not a good idea. Some of the hardest rain you can possibly drive though on I-20, I started to weigh in the risks of being out in the weather. Thankfully I am stubborn and continued to the race course. I arrived a bit later than I wanted due to the rain. The 9:30 Yellow wave racers had already started. I hoped to see Murphy Davis, Chase Moore, and Mark Gilliam start earlier that morning. I stood around in the rain thankful for my leaking umbrella and Cabelas duck boots. The race course was a muddy mess. The original design had racers crossing under the road through the drainage tunnel to get to the granite climbs that Conyers was famous for in the 96 Olympics. Due to the rain, the creek had risen and the tunnel was un-rideable. I did get a video of Mark Gilliam coming through after his first lap. It is posted on our Facebook page. Mark was covered in mud and muck, talking to the race organizer about shortening the race. Murphy Davis was not planning on coming to the race the single speed race due to being sick. However he had made the late minute decision to get out there in the rain and race. After one lap, he was done. It was good to see him out there trying, but I am glad he knew when to stop. He is a fantastic racer for our Single Speed division, who we want to see some more podium visits. Chase Moore also competed in the Jrs division and won. Chase is an area racer who has some amazing talent. We look forward to seeing some more amazing things from him. Mark Gilliam came off with a great win in the GM1 Category. Mark giving me a bit of beta on the course said that it was mucky and to pick a low gear and spin through it. It was good advice, I did not know what I was getting into. Arturo Quintanilla finally showed up to the races, sporting his freeflite kit, he went ahead of me in the White wave. I would not see him again, and his kit would not be white by the end of the day. My race XC3 (30-39) had a fast start. It is amazing to see how fast these guys take off. The guy to my left broke his chain on the start, felt bad for him. After the first long strip I was sitting in about 4th place. Due to the acceleration at the start, I could not breathe. We started to hit the slick stuff, I tried to keep up with the leading 3 but took a turn too sharp in the mud and went down. A few guys passed me at the opportunity. I got back up and started again, trying to find my sea legs, sliding all over the place in the mud. The first big climb was bad due to slick conditions and guys walking ahead. I jumped off the bike and started running/walking/dying. The power line climb was much better due to the grass. I was able to just spin up the climb and pass back 1 of those who had overtaken me at the crash. 2nd lap was much better for me, but still could not make up the rankings. I ended up pushing the last half mile to the redline because I thought I was about to be caught by another rider. I ended up 7th in the group. I saw Mark, now clean, and Arturo, a muddy mess, at the finish. We chatted about the course and results. I rolled the bike down to the would be tunnel where the course originally ran. I stood where we would have been racing in the now rushing river about knee height. Cleaned the bike and washed the mud off my body. At the finish line I watched Arturo step up to the 3rd place podium spot for his division. After all that was done, it was a really fun race. My legs were done and yes the bike needs an overhaul. Photos from the race by Steve Hampton are online, support him and check them out. Looking forward to next weeks race at Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia. Hopefully according to Hincapie the Kits were shipped today. So hopefully, fingers crossed, they can get through customs and get here by Friday. If they are here for the race in Jackson I will bring a camera and get some shots too.
Side note: Congrats to my wife and AMR Racer Laura Andrews in her first XC1 Race in Wisconsin apart of the famous WORS series, she ended up 10th competing against pro women racers. 2nd in her Age category. -AMR Member/President Brandon Andrews
Race update from AMR-Michael Coleman - Well this was my second year going for madness or what they call the 9 hour race @ Fort Yargo. Last year I went solo and took 3rd, but this year I was lucky to have another sucker help me out. So from solo to 2 man team, my spirits were deft higher. It was raining, and cold and the mood around felt pretty much like everyone was miserable already. I know I had my second thoughts when I woke up. Why would someone want to ride in the cold rain and sacrifice their bike to the muddy gods? We filled out our paper work and then walked back to the camp to try to stay dry and warm. Neither of that was working. I can deal with most that mother nature shots out at me, but I hate wet and cold!
Well we decided Scott my teammate (and maybe future AMR) would take the first lap. I was just glad that I wasnt going to have to wade thru the mass of riders like last year to get to the trail. So off they went to the tunes of Gun N Roses and I could feel myself warming up and getting excited. Now that Scott is gone i have a good hour to relax and stay warm and dry. Hour later I walked up to the finish line ready to go. Well it took alittle more then an hour for him to get there and in the mean time i could hear and see the other racers coming in going. Many were complaining that their brakes were gone or almost gone. I could see many of them covered in mud, from the classic Georgia Red to the Fort Yargo blk/brwn. Neither of these things was going to put a damper on my spirit. I was here in the cold rain standing in mud, and I was going to RACE!!
My partner finally shows and throws me the timing chip (which this year they stuck it on a number plate and in a bottle. if you lose the bottle you were pretty much screwed. Not the best choice) I catch the bottle like a prized wide reciever and throw it into my jersey and run and CX style onto my bike. Now normally I dont spirint on endurance races, but man I was flying through the mud. I was catching racers left and right. I should prob tell you guys what I was riding first, I was racing on my Salsa El Marc SS and running a 33X21. That being said I was lucky to have the right set of tires on (Conti Trail Kings I believe 2.2). Well not even a mile in and I was already regretting not wearing my glasses and damn was it hard to read my gps. The trail was mostly mud and water, since there is so much ga clay out there, there was alot of water just standing there. Fun right? I get all the way to the damn and finally see someone that took off ahead of me, they were walking down the hill. His brakes went out and I could tell my were slowly going as well. But no matter, I would race using my shoes as brakes if I had to, I was NOT going to quit!. The racers that were still out were a mixture of seasoned riders to some novice ones. I did my best to help those out that I could and try to lift the spirit of every rider I saw my encouraging them, but lets me honest people were not happy. I myself was smiling from ear to ear, even if you could not see my face since I looked like I just walked away from a gnarly CX race. I just past the second entrance and I know I am close. Well to my surprise I see some of the worse that Yargo has ever looked. On one part it was just a large pile of red mud, I did my best to steer to the right and avoid it, most ppl ended of wrecking there from what I heard. Closer and closer I get, my breath is getting harder and Im starting to get cold and there just a head is the lake. I shoot out and start sprinting to the finish line hoping my team mate would be there ready to go. Over the line and there he is, not smiling but looking determined. A nice spiral of a throw and off he goes. Well that was fun I thought, how many of those will I have to do I wondered. Well not even 15min later they announce that the race is being cut to 4 HOURS and everyone has to be in by 2pm. So basically this mean unless my teammate gets in fast Im done. I walked back to check to see how we were standing, and with my lap I bumped us up to second. Works for me I thought. :) Well Scott was coming in late so I was done for the day. 1 lap, felt like i was doing a XC again, well it was off to the showers and time to relax. Scott ended up finishing the lap and that secured us 1st! This race hurt a good bit of people and killed many bikes and oh soooo many brakes. But when it was time to step up on the podium, I felt proud I was representing Team Angry Monkeys Racing.The race was deft not like last years, but then again I didnt think I needed an Arc and a life vest. Was it worth burning through my brake pads???? Yes, yes it was.- Michael Coleman