suffering gravel grinding, to the stars…
Sunday saw a 5 rider contingent of Mandalores at Hillman State Park in PA. Hosted by the (infamously infamous) McLain brothers, the Hillman Hustle is a gravel circuit race, consisting of 2 or 4 8 mile gravel laps with about 1,000 feet of elevation per lap.
Team Mandalore is all about making our goals, even when they’re completely ludicrous, because when you have a goal you can CRUSH IT! And early season goals are what brought 5 mountain bikes to the gravel bike race.
Rae wanted to complete 2 laps in 2 hours and have her second lap be faster than the first. Last year, at Hillman’s shorter course, she did 4 laps with a time improvement on each pass through. Dave is working on gravel mileage and seat time in preparation for War Daddy in April. Molly will honestly do ANY race the McLain boys put on, but she wants to increase her participation in the 2022 racing season.
And our lovely foundlings?
Seriously, they were the only juniors registered, the weather was miserable, 40 degree rain and they’re stuck with Rae as their coach and that jerk shows up in booty shorts and blows them off the start line.
Quinn is building a reputation for doing a really hard race for her first outdoor event of the season (Road Apple Roubaix, we’re looking at you) and was heard muttering on the first hill, “it’s going to be really hard for me to convince myself to do a second lap.” But she did. and look at the smile on that face!
16 miles was actually young Fiona’s longest effort to date and with a finishing time of 3 hours, we noted on her strava report that while her average speed was 6.3 mp/h, her top speed was 27.9! With support from Dave, she also resisted the urge to quit and was rewarded by the rest of the team and the organizers at the finish line.
Molly rode with Quinn and after threatening to lynch Rae for saying this race is “fun and pretty easy and the weather’s going to be great,” eventually agreed that it was a really fun time. We even overheard her making more gravel grinder plans over a brewsky with some of the other racers.
Grueling travel, shitty gas station coffee, terrible conditions at impossible races… that’s what we’re all about! More adventures coming soon, but in the meantime, we can’t thank our sponsors enough. Especially this ride we want to shout out to ROKA because the sun eventually DID come out, and we were expertly prepared. Big love as well to KENDA, who provides the sticky rubber tread on our youth bikes.
Biggest thanks for this event goes to Annabel, for photographing the team and helping the organisers by volunteering at the race. She’s a superstar!!