UPDATED- Read the quote from our AMR Member Jack Whisler at the end of the post.
Race Report by Bill Bailey.
Jim Behnings races at Elks-Aidemore Children's Home in Conyers Georgia are known for their epic nature, races in the past being snowy, muddy, or just freakin cold, or all three. This years two days of races didn't fail to disappoint, with rain, mud, and temps in the low 40s. Two days of rain and the hilly clay trails in the backwoods around the campground created two very challenging courses. By Sunday, the many off-camber turns became slip and slides, mud in the low spots in the course became tire grabbing cesspits, and light rainfall during races added one more level of enjoyment for the racers. Normally easily rideable hills became a sliding wheel spinning extravaganza, and it was difficult to keep your shoes dry even leaping the creek crossing at the bottom of the big run up. Most of both days courses are in the woods on the grounds, with sections feeling much more like an XC mountain bike race. By the way, this is THE course for a mountain biker who wants to try out cyclocross. Our little gang of four raced a mix of CX4, Masters 45+ (the old dudes) and single speed, with all of us deciding to forego the SS morass on Sunday.
We had decided Saturday night would be our Georgia team gathering. While our numbers were small, it was great to hang out by the campfire, enjoy some adult beverages, and get to know a few of our teammates better. Rick and Darrell grilled up some steak with mushrooms, and delicious corn on the cob. Elks was the perfect place to meet up, with cheap cabins and onsite showers.
There didn't seem to be any huge mega-teams racing this year, (like C-Town last year) and overall we finished 24th out of 99 team for points in the Georgia CX Series, not bad for a first year. There's also still time to get a few races in this year, at the Winter CX series in Rome GA. This year is a unique one day, unsanctioned, best two out of three, three separate course, chip timed, 30 min triple header at David Heaths farm on the Dec 29th. It should be a fun day, and there may be a few more in Rome after the holidays.
-Race Report by Bill Bailey.
"On day 1, I raced cx4 and SS. I was on a borrowed bike during the cx4 race and trying to get used to it, finishing a dismal 13th. In the SS race, I was geared way too hard (41/19) and suffered like crazy to finish 8th. This was my first time at Elks and I really didn't know what to expect in terms of gear selection.
On day 2, I decided to race masters 45+ on the new bike and rode about as well as I have all season, finishing 8th. The course was very slippery and quite long, but I actually preferred this direction. On the second lap, it began to rain pretty hard and, surprisingly, I enjoyed every second of it.
I raced CX more this year than in years past and it has been great. I love road and mtb riding, but CX has become my favorite. I have also enjoyed getting to know my CX teammates who are a great bunch of guys. I hope we can add to our numbers for next years CX season." -Darrell Lee
"On Saturday, I raced in the CX4 class. The rain held off and the course was faster than expected. I started mid-pack and worked my way through the pack on the first lap. I ended up in second, though I never saw the winner at any point after the start of the race. On Sunday, Darrell and I decided to make our first foray into the world of Masters 45+. There was a pile up in the first corner that allowed me to shoot past several riders and behind the first 4 riders. I followed the lead group for the majority of the first lap. The leaders looked back and saw someone they were not familiar with, and laid on the speed. This shucked me and the third and fourth riders off the group. I eventually was able to pass the fourth
place rider. I had the third place in my sights for the majority of the race, but just did not have the speed to catch him. As I came around the last turn, I stood up to ensure my fourth place position and felt my wheel start to rub. I looked down and saw that my quick release skewer had come out. I jumped off of the bike, threw it on my shoulder and ran the balance of the race with a bad ankle and broken bike. Fortunately, I had enough of a lead to secure fourth place in my first masters race. It was a successful race, in my opinion." -Rick Nudd
Jack Whisler raced both CX4 and Singlespeed Saturday, with Bill Bailey racing Masters 45+ and CX4. Bill elected to race his mountain bike, but realized by Sunday's race that the trade off of the added weight in the climbs offsetting his earlier advantage in traction. But if you don't think you can race successfully on a mountain bike, just scroll back to Rick's podium picture.
Jack Whisler's daughter, Paige, raced a brutal full lap race of Sunday's epic muddiness in the 10-14 Juniors, finishing just off the podium in 4th place. Sunday, Bill once again raced the Masters 45+, enjoying the longer 45 minute format, with Jack Whisler racing CX4 in the final race of the season for AMR in the Georgia CX series.
"I had a real fun year, even though Laura and Brandon were not around. Being on Angry Monkeys gave me a identity. I had lots of people at mtb races and cx races come up to me and give me high fives and wish me luck because I was wearing the Angry Monkeys kit. It was neato having team members at the starting lines, and a couple of times during races I could work with and help team members.
And my 10 year girl Paige loves Angry Monkeys and I have to say she might of been GA cyclocross biggest fan. She begged and pleaded with me to take her to the last GA CX race and it was 35 degrees and raining. "I don't care, those that don't make it are wimps and chickens!" she would scream at me, until I packed up the truck to leave for the race. Then after she raced, she would run around and wear me out chasing Thomas Turner and his mom around the course. It only took her a couple of races before she knew peoples name and what class they rode.
I am really looking forward to next year already" -Jack Whisler