Race Report: 2014 Chainbuster 3 Hours of Payne

This was my first MTB race and the only thing I could think of when I was finished was “FUCK road racing.” But that was just the excitement talking, I think.
  • 4.19.2014 9:30am
  • Hartwell, GA
  • Base Male 30-39 5th of 10
  • 3 Laps in 2:52:59
  • 52 degrees, light rain/mist with wet trails
  • Day before weight 160.0lbs
  • Tire pressure @ 12-18 PSI


     This was my first mountain bike race. I ate very well the night before, a salad for dinner, some ice cream for dessert and nothing crazy.
     Race day breakfast was at 8:00am and was about 3-4 ounces of coffee, a small peanut butter, pepper jelly, sweet potato and nut/fruit bread and an apple.
     It was a little cold and rainy before the start so I rolled to the line with a ridiculous amount of clothes. I had my purple glove with my road gloves over them, arm warmers, my gaiter and my rain jacket.
On my bike I had 16 ounces of coke, a full water bottle and a bottle of fizzy electrolytes. For food I took two clif bars, one regular clif-shot gel and one caffeinated gel.
     The race started all as one, neutral at the bottom of a moderate hill. Not really knowing where I belonged I lined up at the middle-back of the pack and sort of filtered up as we climbed the hill and riders fell back.
There’s me at the back!
      Once we went over the timing mat everything sped up and it was insane for a few minutes. A 60+ person stream of riders blasting through the trails. I tried my best to follow lines and not excessively brake and stay upright. In the first left loop it was generally wet but nothing too crazy. Some mud and some roots but I kept traction pretty well. Near the end of the first left loop the lady in front of me endoed pretty hard but she looked okay so everyone just rode by. Entering the second loop the pack was still together in a line so I started getting more comfortable and moving up when I felt good. There were some spots where it was very muddy and both tires would slide sideways. Did my best to ride it out and stay loose while keeping my speed up.
     There was a lot more climbing in the right loop and people started to drop off and were easy to pass. There was a tree down that required a dismount but it was moved by the second lap. I passed several people at the start of the second lap. I asked another rider our time and found out it was 59 minutes! Which meant I was on the bubble for three laps and needed to keep the pace or speed up. I felt a real resurgence and felt like I could blast through another two laps.
     For the second lap onward I really tried to focus on eating and drinking. It was so hard to do while moving and my bottles were covered in mud. I managed to gulp most of the Coke as well as the caffeine gel before the mid-point of the second lap. My plan was to ride as hard as I could until I caught another rider, take a little break while drafting and then pass on a climbing section. This seemed to work pretty well. I could barely hold a wheel during any descending but I was able to make time on the flats and hills. I ate my clif-shot gel near the end of the second lap and once I heard the time check at the start of the third lap I put my head down and just went. Somewhere in there I changed bottles from my rear pocket to my bottle cage, drank it all and ate half a clif-bar. I remember blasting over rocks and roots and just slamming my rims all over since my tire pressure was so low. In the middle of the third lap my quads starting getting that minor crampy feeling like when I climb standing for extended periods (see: river gorge and alabama state RR)
     I caught the fourth place rider but never really tried to pass him. At the time I didn’t know his class but I should have just gone for it (see: killer instinct). Overall the final lap was very fast and I felt really good when I finished within the three hours.
     I stopped at the pit area to pick up my gloves/jacket and when I tried to stand back up my lower back was so crazy. Riding rigid really appears to stress my back. I may make some adjustments to fit and tire pressure but I’m trying not to spend anything so I can just get a new bike. I peed orange after the race (see: FBCC) which is usually a good indicator of less water consumed during the race. I’m not sure if this is bad or just a thing that happens?
Hmm. That looks a little odd. Maybe don’t buy $30 thrift store bikes that don’t quite fit to race on?
     Once I was finished I quickly rode to my car, changed and parked closer to the registration area so I could find out my placing. Really proud to come in 5th!
   I hung around for a bit in the rain and cold but once 1:00 hit I had to jump in the car and fly to my girlfriend’s to make it to the Old 280 Boogie. On the way I drank almost 0.75 gallons of water!
Here’s a link to the promoter’s page. The event was really well run and I had a blast! I’m going to try to do at least 3 of their other events. http://www.chainbusterracing.com/3-hours-of-payne.html
Here’s a link to an awesome blog with a post about the race: http://livingvandal.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/3-hours-of-payne-mud-and-pizza/

Race Report: 2014 Foothills Classic Road Race Cat.4

This was the second race of the season, I had a blast but made some poor tactical decisions.

  • Foothills Road Race
  • Piedmont, Alabama
  • Sunday April 6th, 9:20am
  • Cat 4, 16/27 40 miles
  • Day before weight 162.5
  • Cloudy, chance of rain and a little cooler than expected
Another race defined by my eating habits on Saturday.
I ate way too much Saturday and had a very hard time getting restful sleep. Day of breakfast was a sweet potato, one sausage patty and one egg. I also had some carrots. I had the same thing as my earlier race where I had heartburn the first 15-30 minutes. I think maybe I’ll try to race on just coffee?
The race was at a civic center with full locker rooms! It was easily the best set-up I’ve seen. Very comfortable and accomidating.
I wore bib shorts, my red jersey, arm warmers, neck gaiter and gloves to start as well as a plastic grocery back under my jersey. It was cool and threatening rain. I had half a low-calorie gatorade and a banana before the start, For the race I had a 16oz coke and a full water bottle as well as a clif-bar.
My legs felt tired and sore, I had only really riden my fixed gear all week and I think I was just fatigued. Still riding just 1 hour a day so I think maybe the recovery from eating too much was the main issue. It was also a little colder, windier and had some rain that may have made me a little bit more fatigued than expected. Didn’t have any early legs but may also have needed to warm up a little more. Only did maybe 10 minutes of warm-up.
The roads were kind of rough in the middle section and it was much more up and down than the course profile suggested. Lots or rollers with a few steep but short bits. There was also a fair bit of chip seal and rough sections. Especially right near the mid-point there was a chip seal hill that had seen some rain and was very wet. My rear tire kept slipping while trying to climb standing. Tire pressure was around 100 psi, maybe go lower if it might rain or there was rain on the course?
I had a lot harder time staying in the middle/front of the pack. Not sure why but I was much less comfortable than the previous week at the GGP. Need to work on putting in the effort early to stay near the front and benefit from the draft.
There was one hill that just killed me as well, I think it was that little guy up there after the 21ish mile mark. I ended up staying in my big ring since it got so steep so fast and looked short but it really cooked my legs.
Managed to stay with the pack until about the halfway point where the wheel I was drafting started falling back and I just wasn’t looking up the road enough to notice so we both got dropped. Rotated with two other riders to the finish and then took off a little more than 1k out. I really felt my heart rate get up there and felt awesome, now I actually need to get to the finish with the pack and try it out from there.
Afterwards I rode for a little less than an hour. That area of Alabama is really beautiful. Although I did get chased by three different dogs.
One of my favorite parts of the state.


Here’s a link to some excellent photography of the race by Philip Darden: http://www.philiciousness.com/foothills-classic-road-race-2014/

Here’s a link to a race report for the 2014 Masters 40+ 4/5  by Dave Purinton: http://alabamawheelmen.org/2014-foothills-classic-road-race/

Here’s a link to a race report for the 2013 P1/2 by Brian Toone: http://toonecycling.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/2013-sunny-king-criterium-and-foothills-road-race/