This past weekend was the 27th Annual Outdoors Inc Cyclocross Championship which is the longest-running cyclocross race in America. This has always been my favorite race every year because it is on Mud Island’s Greenbelt Park right on the Mississippi River and unlike most races includes a C race for children of all ages allowing for the whole family to participate. My 9 year old daughter Ainsley placed third right behind my 5 year old son Ben who placed second in the C race!
Then came the juniors race in which my son Luke placed 3rd which pretty much locks him in for Tennessee’s 10-14 Junior’s Memphis Region jersey winner for this cyclocross season.
Next came the B race where I took second overall right behind Boomer Leupold (a Cx2 racing in the single speed subclass for Outdoor’s Los Locos team) winning the Cx4 subclass.
Ten minutes later the A race was started including Matt Joiner (a Jackson area rider racing for Marxs-Bensdorf) Richie Slagle, Tom Gee and myself all racing for the Hub City Bicycle/Lift Center team. I had raced extremely hard during the B race and about half way through the A race when I totally cramped up and was unable to keep Peter Reed (who I had just beaten in the B race) from riding away for first. I was able to hang on to 2nd in Masters 35+.
Matt Joiner placed 3rd overall behind a couple of Pro/1/2 riders, Kevin Conerly riding for Gearhead Cyclehouse and Boomer Leopold, winning Cx3!
Richie Slagle was riding strong as well, working in a group with Hart Robinson who is a previous winner of this Championship race and placed 2nd in Cx3.
Tom Gee at 63 races in the 45+ Masters in Tennessee and secured a second place podium finish, remarkable! The weather was beautiful and the course was perfect cross. Thanks to Joe Royer and Outdoors Inc for another great race!
by Patrick Andre
Cedar Hill Park near Nashville
November 2, 2013
I traveled to Nashville this past weekend to race the Nashville cross series since the Memphis event did not have any Master’s category. Funny how they ignore the largest group of licensees in USA Cycling. We had a large contingent of 45+ riders who went off with an equal number of 35+ riders. The course was the same as last year and had a nice mix of hills, dismounts, and technical descents. As usual I got off to a slow start but over the course of the event kept moving up. With two laps to go I had third place in my sights, but suddenly found myself being overtaken by another rider from behind. As the two of us battled we overtook third place half way through the final lap. I felt strong and just knew I could take them in the sprint. Just before the final stretch we had to make some tight turns in some woods that then emptied out onto pavement to the finish. My tactical error was not taking the lead into the woods as no one had enough pavement to change position before the finish line. Unfortunately, I ended in 5th place. I was ultimately happy to finish that high as the oldest rider in the event by far. Just should have been more aggressive in starting the sprint. All in all this was a fun event and great course.
I traveled to Lawrence Kansas on my birthday to compete in two days of the Joules Cross. I was in Kansas City to visit my daughter and was looking for some type of event and lucked into the cross scene there. The Kansas City area has a great cross heritage having conducted several National Championships here in the past five years. The Joules Cross course was a pure cross course unlike many of the courses we see in Tennessee (which often have mountain bike tendencies). Even better, they have four Master’s categories broken down into 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+. Each field had 10-20 riders and each field started 30 seconds apart. This made for great racing as each group was racing against their own but had the added fun of chasing down the group in front of them as well. I rode the 60+ group and it started out very fast with Jim Wentling of Dodge City setting a blistering pace. I was able to mark his wheel for the first four laps eventually taking the lead with two to go and dropping him on the final lap to win the first day. The course was wide and fast with no BS like sand, single track or long steep climbs to mess up the flow of the race. It was go, go, go all the way with a ”spiral of death” and two dismounts each lap, one of which was a steep run up. This allowed for riders to stay together and flog one another.
The second day was a repeat of the first with the course running in the opposite direction. Wentling and another rider set an early pace. We caught a large group of the 50+ riders at one of the dismounts and I blew past everyone and kept on going to my second victory of the weekend. The races were great fun and very hard.
by Tom Gee
Shelby Farms – Memphis, TN – October 19th
Richie Slagle and I finished in the top of the field at the first Crossroads Clash A race hosted by 901 Racing at Shelby Farms this past weekend. It was overcast, cold and rained that morning, but actually ended up being a good day of racing. The course was very typical, composed of thick grass, sharp corners, five man-made barriers, and a short road section across the parking lot without any sand or mountain bike trails.
There was a “Le Mans Start” which is when racers line up away from their bike, then run to their bike and take off. Richie got off to a great start being a strong runner and training for an upcoming 40k race. Matt Joiner (riding for Marx-Bensdorf) and I rode together making our way through the field and back up to him somewhere in the first couple of laps overcoming several riders. The three of us settled in and rode together for several laps. Matt and I rode up a little from Richie before I slid out on an off-camber wet, grassy corner and dropped my chain. Before I got my chain back on, Richie came by and I spent the next lap riding back up to him before I could sit on his wheel and catch my breath.
Matt developed a gap on the two of us being super smooth with each obstacle. After sitting in for a while on Richie’s wheel, I was able to ride back up to Matt. He was riding strong but later said he hit a wall as this was only his second cross race of the season. The three of us continued reeling in riders including Kevin Conerly (a Pro/1/2), but after that it was hard to differentiate who we were reeling in and who we were lapping. I knew that Seth Rider, Jonathan Brown, Boomer Leopold, and John King were in front of us, but not if anyone else was between us and these top 4. Results weren’t posted until Tuesday, and I was pleased to discover that I did take 5th overall in the A race winning the Cx 4 subcategory! Matt took 6th placing second in the Cx 3 (behind Jonathan Brown) and teammate Richie Slagle 7th overall making the podium at 3rd in the Cx 3 subcategory.
by Patrick Andre
Tom Gee took 3rd in Masters 45+, and I took 3rd in Masters 35+ Saturday at the Barkley Bootlegger Cx Race in Cadiz, KY. I was winning with a nice gap the Cx 4 race with only a 1/2 lap to go when I flatted on a root on the downhill Mountain Bike section running the rest of the way and finishing 7th.
Hub Endurance CX Series #2
After finishing Saturday’s races at the Barkley Bootlegger Cx race in Cadiz, Kentucky (placing 3rd in Master 35+ and flatting in the Cx 4 race); I headed to Chattanooga for Hub Endurance Cx series #2 at the Booker T. Washington Park placing 2nd in Masters 35+. The course had a slight downhill road start which bottlenecked into a fairly technical mountain bike trail descent. Instead of my usual tactic of being one of the first three into the first corner, I stayed back a little allowing me to navigate this technical part of the course carefully. The descent opened up into the typical thickly grassed area with lots of switchbacks and a sand volleyball court that was put to good use creating three sand pits. This part of the course plays to my strengths, and I started accelerating and taking back places until I was in fourth. Unknown to me, Thomas “Andy” Baggenstoss (a Cx 2 from Chattanooga) was already off the front with a slight gap. During the second lap I went ahead and rode up to third sitting on David Hicks (a Cx 2 from GA) wheel for a lap until he unfortunately wiped out on the technical descent. (He was able to get back on his bike and keep 3rd for the next 6 laps.) Three laps in and back down on the grassy section was when I first noticed how much of a gap Andy had opened up on the field including me. He continued to work on his gap, and I did the same for the rest of the race.
The technical sections of this course challenged me forcing me to improve my handling skills at race pace. As before Hub Endurance hosted a great race, and I was pleased with another podium finish for the Hub City/Lift Center racing team. Thanks Tim, Randy and Alan for getting me kitted up for back to backs days of racing like this weekend. Next on the schedule is Crossroads Clash #1 in Memphis at Shelby Farms on the 19th!
by Patrick Andre
September 28 & 29, 2013
I traveled to Dahlonega Georgia for the weekend bike fest which includes a great and fast criterium on Saturday and the epic 6 Gap Century on Sunday. Over 3000 riders participate in the two day events. The criterium was held in downtown Dahlonega on the square along with a big bike expo and registration for the next morning century. This insured that each race had around 1000 spectators lining the entire course. The course was fast and technical with a round-about around the historic courthouse then down a straightway to the start finish up a hill in front the North Georgia University into a left and then right turn back onto the start finish straight. Barriers the entire course and very spectator friendly. I rode the 55+ race along with the 45+ race. We had real horsepower in the pack with two category 1 riders from the Changing Diabetes development team and Steve Carrell the Master’s World Champion in the 45+ group. I was really concerned about the narrow course (one lane wide most of the way) and the barriers. I didn’t need to worry too much since the pace was balls to the wall the entire time (never dropped below 25 mph) and the pack only would bunch up on the climb. It was a war of attrition and no strategy on my part except to survive. The two Changing Diabetes riders went off the front and I managed to hang with the pack until we were down to about 12 left. They pulled lapped riders so it was nice being one of the few left on the course at the end. I finished on the podium in 3rd in the 55+ and picked up some nice cash as a result.
The next day was rather incredible for a century. There were 3000 riders all going off together and the pace out of the gate was incredibly fast. This is a true grand fondo with chip timing and KOM competition on two the major climbs. There are 6 gaps which all register 2 or 3 on Strava (probably hors or 1 on Map My Ride). The two biggest, Hogspen and Wolfpen were apparently part of the Tour of Georgia and are each around 7 mile climbs. Hogspen had extended grades of 13-15%. I was thinking for the longest time that I couldn’t get into my 28 on the rear and was cussing my bike until I realized I was in the 28 and the climb was just brutal.
The record for the course is only 5 hours and 6 minutes so any time under about 7 hours is considered pretty good. Riders have 12 hours to complete the event. I finished in about 6 hours and 15 minutes which I felt good with for a first time ride. The descents were a rush. I came off Hogspen passing cars at 52 mph coasting because I had compact gearing. I probably could have set a PR speed record with more gear and clear road! If you want a challenge and a fun weekend I would recommend looking into this ride. Now that I know what to expect I will probably go back next year and try to get under 6 hours.
by Tom Gee
Memphis, TN – September 14th
Rocktavio takes Second!!
Patrick Andre in his first outing representing Hub City Bicycle/Lift Center Racing takes a strong Third!
Last weekend I had the opportunity of competing in the inaugural Memphis grand fondo. Me and my team mates, Eddy Koonce and Andre Patrick, line with 30 other riders for a 70 mile race. The the first 10 miles were relatively slow, until two 901 riders attacked and opened a gap. Everything started to get more intense. Jonathan Korzekwa pushed the pace with the help of a couple of BPC and Hub City riders. After the second steep hill, only 12 riders were left in the group. My teammate Andre Patrick got dropped twice on the hills but he managed to bridge back, very impressive. About 20 miles from the finish line, Korzekwa pulled away from the last 7 riders and we never saw him after that. One K to the finish line, a 901 rider had a mechanical problem, so only 6 riders were left in the group for the final sprint. The last 200 meters, Todd Hickman from team 901 was in front, behind him was Todd Lang, I was behind Todd Lang, and beside me was Andre Patrick. Suddenly the roads split and the BPC rider went right, when a left turn should have been made. When we were 50 meters away from the finish line and Todd Hickman won first, I got second, and Andre Patrick got third. And if you’re wondering what happened with Korzekwa, the solo rider, he made a wrong turn. This was a well organized event with good food and beer. I recommend it.
by Octavio Subia
The object of this flat tour is to ride 100 miles as fast as you can. No rest, just gas On till you blow. Our goal was to be under four hours. The tour record is three hours and 44 minutes.
Randy, Octavio, and Tim rode with the elite pack. There were about 35 riders that started and for the first 50 miles we averaged 26 1/2 to 27 miles an hour. It was a high-speed paceline cruising the back roads of Tennessee and Kentucky. Several riders were shot out of the back and not seen again. If you came off a wheel basically couldn’t get back in line fast enough to catch the draft.
The second 50 miles we turned into the wind and the strong guys went to the front and started to put surges at 30+ miles per hour. My computer showed that I was over 400 Watts multiple times during the last portion of the ride. If you’re conditioning, food, and hydration was off you did not last in the dwindling pack.
The best finishing time was three hours and 55 minutes, our group finished from four hours 10 minutes to 4 hours and 35 minutes. It was a super day to hammer 100 miles at speeds that the professionals cruise.
by Tim Taylor
Chattanooga Road race finishes on top of Raccoon Mountain. We had five guys representing the team in the Masters race. All of us would prefer that the roads slanted in the opposite direction then we had to race. The mountain took it’s toll and we all placed, but not in the top 10. And the 60+ category Tom Gee was second place and he enjoyed the climb.
Time trial, 4.2 miles
This is incredibly fast course. Basically climb a short hill and then to descend for almost 3 miles. A portion of the race you’re above 40 miles an hour wound out. All of us improve dark times over previous years. Tom Gee second-place Tim Taylor second-place
by Tim Taylor