Race Report by Bill Bailey- October 26th-27th. The course at Oglethorpe Speedway Park was not as sandy as in previous years, making it even faster, with the start making almost a full lap on the 1/2 mile banked clay oval, making it seem more like the start of a crit race, but there was some very deep sand heading under the tall flyover which caused some of the more road oriented guys to bobble as they tried to make the transition off the edge of the hard packed track. This year the course ran backwards of previous years, and the "death spiral" in the infield was much smaller, faster, and wider and they added a sharp steep little hill that proved to be a run up for those not expecting it. I lined up for CX4 on Saturday and the field instantly split heading down the fast flat backstretch of hard clay. I worked to maintain my place in the small group at the rear, and overtook a couple of riders in the more technical sections, but by the third lap I knew I was cooked. A new first for me, D-F-L. At least I rode the hill every time.
Saturday nights SS race was as exciting as always, under the lights. I hung in well for the first lap, but was completely spun out coming down the track in front of the grandstands, running 39x19 to try to help my weak legs.
Sunday, I raced CX4 and SS again. I managed slightly better racing in CX4, and running 39x18 in single speed. I've never spent that much time in the drops in a CX race. I pushed hard and stayed with the middle pack of racers for several laps, before finally falling off, and being lapped with one to go.
While my placing a were pretty dismal enough that I don't need to mention them, I can say my bike handling was very good, with zero crashes, holding good speed through all the technical sections and transitions. I've ridden and raced over 700 miles in the past month, with very little time between events, and it seems to have finally caught up with me. I'm taking a full break this week to get completely recovered, and am already looking forward to my next race weekend at Baldwin Dingo-Cross. I hope to see many of you there.
-Race Report by Bill Bailey
Race Report by Brandon Andrews- Halloween Cyclocross in Milwaukee, Wi this past week was loads of fun. Well not loads, but it was lots of fun. The temp was just chilly enough to wear warmers for the warm up but race-able in just the regular kit. This actually disappointed me due to the new Hincapie vests we just got in that are awesome. I really wanted to rock it during the race. My race was at 10:30 and at 10:10 I jumped on course to get a full lap in for a pre ride. Last week I didn't get to ride the entire course due to my crash and breaking of my brakes. Speaking of I am very proud of myself and being able to cut, bleed and install my new left hydraulic shifter. Thanks to SRAM for helping me get another one before this weeks race. The only issue with doing a pre ride right before my race is by the time I finished and stripped of all the warm clothes most of the field had lined up. I know I am not the fast cat in the cat 4 group, so I typically line up in the back area. I need to change that. The entire first lap I spent trying to pass people in turns and in as many sections as I could. Only issue was since it was the first lap racers tried to out sprint my passing and made more work for me. I was exhausted by my second and third lap. The course had a really fun bunny hop section over "coffins" that I was able to clear each time with no issues. It was fun to watch others struggle on this spot. 4th lap did come down with a sprint between me and the guy I was trying to catch on the last lap. I got the sprint for 45th place...not sure if I can brag about that one. 45 out 64 starters (59 finishers). I was just very happy to be back on my own bike and not worried about the brakes.
Laura spent her time cheering me on and mentally preparing for her race....which means she only got two photographs of me racing. I am very proud of her race this week as she moved up in her category and passed at least one the racers that has beaten her all season long. Laura raced really well even though she hit the barrier and whacked her bars out of place. She rode the last lap with her bars facing about an inch or so off from her tire. She was caught on the last lap but during the run up was able to get some distance on her competitor. She ended up 5th of 12 which I think is her best standing of the season so far in the CX3 group. I was proud.
AMR is always looking for new members- I talked with two possible new members at the races on Saturday. We are really ramping up the Team for next year. February will be the next big membership drive with kits ordering in March. If you want more info about our team check our About page. -Race Report by Brandon Andrews
Race Report by Brandon Andrews-
UGH. I should just stop there and not say anything more, but where is the fun in that. So I will relive the pains of yesterdays race. I have been traveling a lot with work the past few weeks. This past week I was in NC all week. Came back late Friday night to race on Saturday in Sun Prairie which is a local venue. I was really excited about this race since I ride by the location every week. I get there to the course and prep for my warmup/pre ride. Well thats where it all went wrong. The grass was still wet and as I went a little fast around a corner and steep downhill my rear wheel skipped out below me and I fell on my left side. My left shifter went into the grass and broke. For those of you who know me I am racing with an incredible Trek Crockett 7 bike with the new Hydraulic Sram SB700 brakes. Well the front left brake arm snapped from the piston that drives the brake fluid. So I broke my front hydraulic. I continued riding to see if i could ride with just a rear brake, didn't work. So I stopped in the Neutral Support area. The Sram guy did not know how to fix it and we decided to put me on one of the Neutral bikes. Now again for those who know me I am not tall but I normally ride a 58. He sets me up on a 52....I told him that was too small, so he put me on a 54.... By then I did not have time to rework things. My race was starting in 10 minutes. So I went from an Awesome Trek with hydraulic brakes to a Specialized that was too small had this funky hard as rock and scary painful saddle. I did like the zip 303s. :) But it ended there. I was fuming at the start of the race. Just disappointed all around. I could not get a feel for the bike and just struggled. Again not being on a bike since the last race and really no training in 2+weeks dont help. I felt like the Tommy Boy Fat Guy in small jacket skit but tall guy with small bike. And again to make maters worse. Full disclosure- I work for Trek. This is Trek territory and I am on a specialized. My bosses, co workers and friends all gave me grief. One fan, who I work with, yelled "GO BRANDON, (pause) WHAT THE CRAP ARE YOU RIDING- YOU ARE FIRED" All jokes aside, it was not fun. There was this one hill that was the run up and the only thing I wanted to be able to prove my worth in the Cyclocross scene by riding up, but without my correct bike and not being able to pre ride to find the right line. I never made it up. This haunts me like the ghost of Christmas past. The race was a disaster. I did try riding up full commitment and ended up sliding back down, see the photos below. When I did that the rear brake on the specialized broke off and so then I had no rear brake. I rode the last lap of shame with no rear brake and all ego shattered. I ended up 43rd out of 50 something I think. I hope to have my bike fixed by the next week, but since it is such a new product not many people have them.
Laura's race was better, she ended up 5th out of 5. We have no idea where the other CX3 women ran off too. She had a few that were in here competition level. Maybe they will be there next week. No other AMR Riders were seen, which means we need to Get the other AMR Members in Wisconsin out on their bikes!!!
-Race Report by Brandon Andrews.
Race Report from AMR Co-Founder BIll Bailey: I'm not a very experianced mountain biker. I tend to crash a good bit. I don’t get much practice on rocks or even hills in Savannah. I also knew my last lap or two would be in the dark, but the complete extent of my night time off-road riding was about thirty minutes testing my light last week. So the logical next step after two short beginner XC races was to jump into a 12 Hour Solo.
I arrived Friday at Dauset to get set up and pre-ride the course. In two hours I managed to bend a derailleur hanger, break the left shifter bracket, and destroy the lower derailleur jockey wheel. The thought of trying to ride my CX bike on those trails for 12 hour provided great motivation to get the bike going again. I made sure to try to protect my bike from anymore damage on race day.
Camping on site meant I could sleep in late, and be fresh for the start, after oatmeal and coffee I made on my little alcohol stove. I didn’t have any pre-race anxiety or restlessness, since I didn’t have any expectations of myself except riding as many laps as I could during the 12 hrs. The LeMans start was sort of exciting, running uphill to the bikes at the start line. I put in a good first lap, keeping pace with the 6 hr and team racers, before settling down to an easier pace on lap two.
I had not managed to eat or drink very much, and by lap three the effort was taking its toll, especially on my focus. I've crashed a lot, but I've never hit the ground as fast or as hard as I did less than a mile from the end of the lap. I got up ok, but my left elbow hurt bad when I tried to move it. I was afraid it was broken, I considered quitting, and if I should get it checked out by the EMTs. I wondered how I would be able to ride once it got dark. I rode on to the pit, determined to keep racing, but at a safer pace, and to make myself keep up with eating.
Seven hours into the race, I’m still thinking I might have a broken elbow, I can't bend it enough to touch my face, and it's killing me on the climbs. I'm waiting for my derailleur to explode, and my bib shorts are now taking my skin off. Since I couldn't do anything about that stuff, I worked on the things I could. I pushed myself to drink and eat more, and I began walking the bike up the two short very steep sections where I was having trouble getting traction and just wearing myself out.
I slowed down on lap eight and nine, both because of the darkness, and I thought I wouldn't have enough time for an 11th lap. When I came through the timing chute after my tenth lap, I pulled off the course, done for the day. The race promoter came over and told me not to quit. The solo leader was “fading fast” all I had to do was go do one more lap and I finished in third place. I didn't hesitate, I turned my light back on and headed back out.
I came back in from my last lap, just happy to be done, and pleased with hanging in there, and getting that extra lap done. I ate another turkey sandwich, and chocolate milk from the cooler. I headed up to the pavilion, drawn there by the thought there might still be some food left from the dinner they served after the 6 hr race, plus the lights, and people. The idea that I might have actually finished third had slowly begun to sink in though the fog of tiredness and hunger.
The physical and emotional toll of what I had done was finally beginning to hit me, and I was still in my cycling kit, soaked through with sweat, and between the huge calorie deficit I was in, and the rapidly dropping temperature, I started shivering.
Of the five of us racing 12 hour solo, only three of us had stayed in the race. Despite my slow times, I had outlasted against some faster stronger guys. I almost fell off the podium block trying
to hold the comically huge trophy they handed me for third place.
I'm still reviewing what worked and didn't work for me, and areas where I can make some improvement. It will be a while before I tackle another 12 hr solo, but the lessons I’ve learned will help me in other endurance events, and racing in general. It was also an intensive skills clinic for me, being able to repeat the same course allowed me to ride the harder sections more confidently and fluidly. The physical effort required and the long day on the bike help build not just physical toughness, but mental toughness, and confidence, something that I have found myself to have in short supply on occasion. It was a great experience, and making the podium was an unexpected bonus.
-Race Report from AMR Co-Founder BIll Bailey