Welcome to our fall fundraiser. A couple of times a year, Team Mandalore comes up with a crazy thing and we sell it to help raise money for things our foundlings need. Our junior members don’t pay for their kit and we do our best to cover their race fees and other necessities as needed. Last year, Q Superstar got a new SE road bike from the team to help further her road and time trial adventures. She signed a contract pledging to pay the bike off through volunteer work, reported to the Team Captains, at a cost of $10 an hour. On completion, she gets a bill of sale and the bike is hers forever.
We did running shirts and hats for 2021 so this time we’re doing hockey jerseys. Designed by Rae to resemble Boba Fett’s armor, the front features our logo and the logo of sponsor Youse Guys and That Podcast. Sleeves will have Kent Cycle and Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort logos in white. Please specify the name and number for the back of your jersey!
Orders will be placed with Owayo no later than November 12, 2021. Please note that these may not arrive in time for Christmas. Owayo is located in Germany. They’re super amazing and typically very fast but shipping delays are rampant all over the world right now. If you are not local to NE Ohio (in which case a Rando Mando will bring you your shirt) Team Mandalore will ship to you with no extra cost.
Maybe it’s because no one was sure how things were going to work out because of covid, but it really felt like this past weekend had TOO MANY events to choose from! We checked in with our friends and they were everywhere from northern Michigan to southern Ohio doing everything from crit races to track tt. Here’s the rundown of where the Heroes of Mandalore could be seen.
Joe & Heather spent their weekend with their NICA kids and the Unioto Sherman’s MTB Team. From all accounts they made the family proud at Bailey’s and continue to have fun and spread the stoke at their second race.
MTB was also on the schedule at the Bedford Cleveland Metropark & Team Mandalore had a great turnout with Ron racing in expert (30 miles), Rae, Ross & Dave in sport (20 miles), Rachelle and Fiona in beginner (10 miles) and Annabel in youth. Annabel beat a few other kids on her 2 mile loop and scored a third place ribbon! Annabel would have beat them all but we thought it was a better idea to start moving her into the big girls category.
There’s a ton of photos up on the CAMBA facebook discussion group – Thanks to Timothy Neff for all the effort taking pics and especial thanks from Rae for the verbal “encouragement” on the course while she struggled to finish her second lap on a shoulder injury. No, really, you’re priceless, mate!
Cyclocross season is also upon us and what better way to get off a good start but to drag the foundlings to a second race! Dave and Rae took Fiona and Annabel down to Kings Mill for the Carter Park CX, presented by our friends at K & G Racing and directed by our teammate Allen. No, they didn’t want to go. Yes, they both threw up on the drive down.
Allen represents our partnership with K&G Racing, as we share him as a team racer. This race was partly about getting some of the kids to try CX and also about fulfilling our volunteer obligations. Rae did not race, opting instead to be “director of FUN” for the youth race. Our girls did great and looked to actually be enjoying themselves on a difficult, technical course. Rae, Allen and Dave did donut hole handups, fruit punch handups and finish line ribbon holding for all the kids. Team Mandalore also donated prize bags filled with goodies from our sponsors and, of course, stickers!
Ryan Hotpants spent the weekend at the Mass Ave Crit Races in Indy, but we’re going to dedicate an entire blog post to that as soon as he gets off his pants and writes it!!
Team Mandalore can’t do all this crazy shit without our sponsors and supporters. Every day we wake up thrilled yet slightly confused that people actually want to see us race bikes!
August 15th saw the final EOTT time trial of the season in Deerfield, OH with plenty of Mandalore podiums! TT is something every competitive cyclist should be doing on a regular basis. It’s an opportunity to test yourself against the clock but also a chance to test yourself against your mind. TT is hard and lonely, but the fellows from Stark Bicycle Club and Summit Freewheelers make this event so much fun. The series has been going on for over 30 years and it’s always a joy to race with the “regulars” and goof off with the organisers.
This event was Q Superstar’s first road TT and we’re pleased to say that everyone present complimented her poise and control on the start ramp (oh, yeah, they shove you down a ramp at the start!) Her previous experience at the Cleveland Velodrome where a holding start is done on the banked surface certainly worked to her advantage for a standing sprint start. Quinn’s average speed was 14.62 mph on the 20k course for a time of 51:43… a brilliant effort for her first time navigating the rollers and sharp turn around at the half way point.
The dynamic duo Brian and Ryan pulled double duty this week, competing in mens standard as individuals and heading immediately back out as a team. Brian placed first in a field of fourteen in standard with an overall time of 31:45 / 23.8 mph average. Ryan placed fifth with a gap of 01:22, a time of 42:07 and a speed of 22.82. Their team effort was just as impressive: second place out of six teams in 31:44 for an average of 23.81 mph. They even managed to beat Joe and Heather’s team effort of 21.11 mph!! If you find it hard to tell B & R apart on bike, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It doesn’t help that we haven’t seen them separated from each other for months… it’s truly a bromance for the ages!
The track bikes went down as usual, with a gap of about 5 minutes between each of them- Joe first with an average of 25.13, Jeff second at 19.87 and Rae third with an average of 18.24.
Team Mandalore will be moving on to more late season criterium, mtb and gravel in the coming weeks. We’re sad to see EOTT come to an end, but very happy with our results over the series. Also, thanks to Brian’s lovely spouse, we now have visual proof that joining the dark side will get you cookies!
congratulations, brian! you really earned those cookies!!!
rae & dave departed from the upper late friday morning after taking a rock hunting wander around champion. the plan was to visit our sponsors alden canvas near traverse city and take a preview ride on the iceman cometh course saturday. the weather was excellent during crusher (thursday – friday) but not so much on saturday.
the greater traverse area saw upwards of 4 inches of rain on saturday in a near-constant downpour from 5am until the mid afternoon, so we sat around at the alden hq looking round for cool rocks between belts of rain, drinking beers and goofing off.
at some point we realised there was a NMMBA race going on in traverse on sunday and decided, “why not?” dave spent 2 days putting up with rae’s shit on the crusher trail and deserved a race of his own. for her part, rae finds it almost impossible to resist showing up at some random race and trying to get a podium spot. so off to the traverse city trails festival they went!
big event, this- like 300 people big. sponsored by short’s brewing and featuring 2 of the local trails with a connector, there were 2 distances- 28 (elite) & 15 (novice and sport). dave entered novice and rae entered sport, both of which started after the “big” pro / elite start, which was cool to watch.
the trails were really nice, especially after the giant boulder pile fest that is crusher- pine duff to sooth the soul. and the chapped ass cheeks! the fellas from the nmmba crew were super welcoming and on our podiums they even announced that we had just came down from the youp to do this race. while we were riding back to the van, someone passed by and shouted, “good job today, eh?” it was like, “uh, they think we’re from the youp.” i guess that’s better than them knowing we’re from ohio?
in the interest of transparancy, rae did make an effort to let everyone know that team mandalore is “an ohio bike racing team with a michigan drinking problem.” we feel like that covers all our bases.
so… podiums anyone? a pair of podiums? gratuitous post-crusher podiums? YEP! HELL YEP.
dave finished 5th overall for mens novice and 3rd in his age group! rae finished 6th overall in womens sport and first in her age group. the trophies were a little unwieldy to ride back to the van carrying but totally worth it. we’ve always wanted 2 big ass slabs of black walnut log to hang up at camp razorcrest!
and most importantly, THANK YOU and Jah Love to brigett and chris at alden canvas who took care of the trail dogs for us while we raced and allowed our sweaty, uncivilised asses to camp in their yard for yet another “stupid thing to do on a bicycle.” and thanks for giving us some shirts to take back to the team! SEE YOU AT ICEMAN!!!!! (the mandalores cometh!)
it’s taken me almost a week to decompress enough to write this.
firstly, most importantly, i want to thank my riding partner ron for helping me get through the hardest 24 hours of my life. GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE
almost as importantly, i want to thank our sag team, dave & chelles, for being on course in the strangest, most unexpected places to fill our hearts with support, our bellies with food and coffee (and at least 3 occasional beers) and for covering our feet with dry socks. i’m confident that i can speak for ron as well when i say your value is like that of the most excellent space rock.
now on to the dirt. and the gravel. and the climbing. and the pain. 133.42 miles: this is the longest ride i have done in a single period of awakeness. 6,836 feel of elevation: less elevation than the 115 mile cherohala challenge, which i have done 3 times, but by far much harder. to give an idea, my best time at cherohala is 8:15:00. see next number for comparison. 20:22:34 moving time, 24:59:23 total time on gps, at least 36 hours with no sleep
since “crusher art” is now a thing, i have modified our strava gps output with the requisite commentary.
the day started for us at 6:30am behind some school in ishperming. i spell that “correctly” here out of deference to the local pronunciation. an uneventful pedal out to mosquito gulch followed. it was a pedal i knew was not going to be indicative of the rest of the ride. real action starts at da gulch. mosquito gulch is really some shit you don’t want to have to ride over, but you do it anyways. in this direction, it’s a climb too so that’s cute. strava tells me it took 54 minutes for me to go 2.4 miles. ron ate shit twice but from my recollection we actually rolled at least half of it.
the yellowdog river crossing is at the end of the gulch. it’s not the first river crossing on the 2021 route, but i won’t spoil by telling you where or how many. just bring your water filters so you can refill because there are long portions of this route that don’t have any place to get water. after crossing (it was low enough we probably could have ridden it but we spent a few minutes wandering the shoreline to find the “other side” of the “road” so we just waded through). we stopped after yellowdog to filter where we found dave in our possum van hanging around on the side of the road. i had a beer. fuck it. it was daylight and that’s enough for me.
this is only mile 33 and so far everything was going jim dandy. we began a longish descent down whatever passes for roads up there on our way to the huron river crossing. there’s so much sand for this section it’s hard to believe it’s actually “down” hill. some of the sand was ride condition but most was “drag your bike along behind you while sink in up to your ankles” sand. eventually, we made it through the sand and over the crossing without incident. dave and chelles were waiting for us with pasties! i had another beer.
we had hoped to get another sag stop near the top of mount arvon, but we found no friends there. later we were told that the road was so bad the possum van wouldn’t make it, had to be dug out and turned around. i will divulge here one huge tip to my fellow 2021 crushers. at the top of mount arvon you will find the mailbox and take your selfie. at this point your gps will tell you to do a u-turn and go back the way you came up. this will make you dumb, like me and ron. you will go down the access road, then back up it, then back down it and by the 3rd time you’ve had to climb it, you will say “i don’t want to climb this again,” but you will. you will lose time in the dark and get frustrated before you get the bright idea to go back to the mailbox and look for a different way to get back down. here’s the tip: there’s a singletrack directly behind the mailbox. it will take you off the top of the mountain. you can thank me later.
10pm. hour 16ish. wheeeeeeeee.
also, don’t get excited because counter to what your passport tells you, it is NOT mostly downhill from here. after descending the single track, which was pretty awesomely fun in the dark (seriously, maybe my favourite part of the ride) and full of stuff that looks like it belongs at west branch state park in ohio, we started going uphill again. ron switched over his gps to a topography map and we chattered back and forth about where our elevation was and how much more climbing could there possibly be. certainly not more than the 1,975 feet of the “highest peak in michigan.” the topo circles kept getting smaller. 1,700? nope. about 1,950… the second highest peak is only 20 feet shorter than mount arvon. we laughed at our stupidity. of course it was a horror show. it’s crusher. we pay for this.
it’s uneventful for a while after the climbs. we get on the right road and aim ourselves toward the mccormick wilderness area. we’re up high and it’s getting toward midnight and cold. on the horizon: road flares! it’s dave, waving lights in the middle of the road for sag support! dry socks, hot coffee and cuddles from our trail dogs. it’s amazing because right before mile 100 i was starting to fall asleep on my bike. ron and i were getting quiet and things were feeling more like a grind than an adventure. after that coffee i was a new woman!
and then the hallucinations started.
yep. you were waiting all this time to find out when shit really got weird. lights are funny in the middle of the night on no sleep. i use a helmet light and a bar light. ron has a bar light. as we ride along shadows are deep and shift quickly depending on how close we are together and where i turn my head. i started seeing stuff in the shrubbery on the side of the road and maybe it was rats or muskrats or bunnies or maybe just shadows and my crazy sleep deprived brain was filling in the gaps. i didn’t say anything to ron, but i kept looking side to side in my periphery wondering if i was seeing moving things or not. we definitely had a fox running alongside us for a little while because i could hear it barking, but the final straw came when i ran over what i completely believed to be a hand sized black salamander that got stuck to my front tyre and flew back up toward me. i grabbed the brakes and winced for impact. of course, it wasn’t there.
ron: where’d you go? me: i uh ran off the road a bit. no problems. i’m cool.
wanna guess what was there? frogs. FROGS. west ishpeming heritage trail is FULL. OF. FROGS. i gave up trying not to run them over and quit count of how many i had killed at 13. i figured stopping the count at a bakers dozen was at least slightly funny and prayed to the amphibian goddess for forgiveness. i reminded myself that dave always says their survival strategy is to make too many babies. it’s okay to run them over. there are a lot. they crunch.
daylight started emerging for us around 4:15am. i checked my gps and realised we were going to beat our clock. i was about to have finished business! for those not hip to the story, i made an attempt at this ride last year with a broken arm. things did not end as well as i would have liked but sitting my appointment out was more than i could bear.
with the burgeoning daylight we gained some speed and chucked along on the trail for a while before getting to the last bluff singletrack.
i’m not going to talk much about last bluff. if you’re crushing take my advise and leave yourself ample time. twice as much time as you think you need at least. and may goddess have mercy upon your soul. and your feet because you’re going to walk a lot of it.
after orienting ourselves to where we were at in ishpeming, ron and i headed back to where we had started, 24 hours earlier. the first thing i heard was chelles shouting. i said, “mum’s yelling.” then we saw dave, who was also yelling and yipping at us. we remarked about what aloud family we have and tried to make a good finish. there were other dudes there too. our sag team brought a posse. some guys who said they were from troy had been watching our dots on the trackeladers site and met up with our team at the finish.
It’s easy to get behind with a team of approaching 20! Trying to figure out what everyone’s doing when they aren’t here at HQ, where they are racing over the weekend or volunteering or traveling to. When I started this team it was a joke team. Well, half way a joke team- I figured Jeff and I would be the only ones wearing the jersey full time and maybe if we got some sponsors we could help out some of our friends and do a group ride or two throughout the season. Now we’ve got kids, veteran racers, semi-pros, rank amateurs and dudes racing for the first season in all kinds of disciplines and wherever you go for bike racing in northeast Ohio, you’re likely to see our kit.
So I wanted to take a moment and give an updoot- some of what our crew has going on and some of what’s coming up.
This past weekend, while most of the northeasters were at Cmp Tuscazoar, Ryan took to the streets of Medina County to participate in the Twin Sizzler. Here are his notes:
They said this would have a fast start, and they weren’t lying! I started this race mid-pack, getting up to speed quickly and hanging in the group. The race started up a climb and the pace was quick! Averaging 26 mph and 350w+ just to try to hang on to the hitters at the front is one way to start a race!
The finial stats of the race were: Distance: 26.7mi Time: 1:07:51 Place: 25th of 37 Average Speed: 23.7mph Average Power: 271w It was a fun race! I would definitely do it again.
After the climb, the front group kept on the power and I couldn’t maintain the pace. Fortunately there were several others in the same boat and I got together with a group of 5 other evenly-matched riders and we were all willing to work to catch back on to the pack and we started gaining on the front group again and reduced the gap from 30 seconds or so to about 15-20 seconds, but that was the closest we got. We weren’t able to reform into a larger group, but we continuted to work together for the rest of the race, calling out upcomming turns and hazards to each other and giving encouragement to the pack. We were all strangers, but on that day, we were working like a seasoned pro team!
That is, at least, until there was about 1km to go! At that point, I took a turn at the front averaging 28mph trying to form a gap from my group and keep that gap coming into town because I figured, if I won the race to the last corner before the finish, I stood a decent chance at winning our little sprint… well I misjudged the distance remaining and my early gapping effort resulted in little more than pulling the rest of my group behind me into town and I ended up being third wheel to the final corner and finishing fourth in my group…
Earlier in the season, the team voted to commit some of our sponsorship money to getting Q Superstar a road bike of her own. Part of the mission of this team is to make bike racing accessible for juniors. We picked up this SE 650 bike on facebook marketplace and Q’s been working off the cost at $10 per hour around the shop. Of course, stock bikes are never quite right, so Kent Cycle helped us out with a new handlebar that’s more appropriately sized. She’s got a nicely balanced road position with the option for hard sprints in her drops. Seriously, these Cinelli bars are so hot I wanted to put them on my track bike, but they were donated to Quinn, so she gets the sweet gear! I can’t wait to see how she does at the August EOTT.
We’re building up our team fleet as well- Ross, Rae, Robbie & Dave have been assembling bikes from donated frames and parts. Right now we’re done with 2 mountain bikes and a gravel rig and we’re hoping some of our team will try offroading this summer when they’re bored with criterium and roadracing!
Of course, there’s a ton of racing ahead for all of us in the next couple of weeks. Jeff and Rae will be at EOTT, Rae and Ron are headed to the Youp for their Crusher EX attempt this month- Dave and Chelles will be supporting that epic stupidity. Mandalores will likely be seen at Akron BMX and OMBC events as well.
The 331 Racing / Knobby Side Down Camp Tuscazoar 6 hour event is in the books and it was an EXCITING chapter. Our first team MTB event of 2021 brought Quinn, Dave, Ross, Ron, Rae, Duncan, Heather & Joe out to compete with Craig and foundlings Annabell and Fiona helping with support.
Team duo competition included co-ed duos Duncan & Rae, “team 4 wheels and 2 staph infections,” head to head against Joe & Heather, “team Lawhorn.” Dunk & Rae eeked out a slightly shorter time than the Lawhorns in the 3 lap competition and after that, Dunk enjoyed himself a 3rd lap. Way to wreck yourself for the team, Dunk. Overall, our co ed duos placed 8th and 9th out of 10 in co-ed open but first place in shit talking and selfie game!
Ross & Dave teamed up for a 3 lapper, as well. Tuscazoar is an incredibly challenging course at 10 miles and 1,521 feet of climbing elevation and Dave put in an impressive 2 laps (with a Ross effort in between) for an overall win in the duo “fun” division. Oh, why were the laps “impressive?” Because Dave took 00:26:04 off his lap time on the second go. We’d make a don’t have a heart attack joke, but that’s really in bad taste…
Ron went solo, completing 3 laps with a time of 05:40:16 for an overall 21 out of 31 in Mens Open. We hear he only fell over twice. Nice work, old man!!!
The biggest excitement of the day, however, was Quinn, who completed the solo course in 3 hours and 8 minutes, finishing with a smile to share the podium with our friend and Shenanigans teammate, Connor, as the only solo junior riders. Podium standing juniors each got a bottle of maple syrup! Every junior who showed up to this race is a total badass, by the way.
this weekend saw a happy reunion between the northeast and south branches of team mandalore. 7 of us converged on the second eastern ohio time trial race of 2021 and even managed a few podiums. results are available at http://sfwtiming.com and yield the following insights:
mandalore supreme, joe lawhorn continues to crush the fixie twins with an over all time of 29:24 (25.71 mph) compared to jeff’s time of 37:57 (19.92 mph) and rae’s 40:21 (18.73 mph). the interesting news is rae seems to be gaining on jeff.
for their first time trial brian, ryan and dave all entered a very competitive field in men’s standard. no age groups or aero equipment in this category, just 11 dudes on roadbikes vomiting at the end of the course.
brian finished an impressive 4th with a time of 31:35 (23.73 mph) ryan was 7th with a time of 33:35 (22.50 mph) and dave continued his new tradition of not finishing last (10th!) with a time of 43:31 (17.37 mph)
heather came to support but did not race, which meant rae had to be the sacrificial mando for joe’s secondary run: a team effort. she reports being completely destroyed by 2 back to back 20k efforts, but at least showed some consistency, finishing 5th with joe on a 39:15 run (19.26) in the open team / tandem cat. joe’s a fine leader though and she’d do it again!
another great day of racing and spreading the stoke. we can’t complain.
well, we COULD complain about the weather (HOT with thunderstorms), the hills (one gear!), the roadkill (why are so many skunks on rt 14?), the political yard flags that won’t go away (y’all know who you are. no one cares, get on with your life), be we’re not that kind of team.
on deck next week are time trials at the velodrome and parkside crit. or maybe we’ll just ride to the brewery!
we have some cool updates and photos to share from the first 2 weeks of june. first up, lebanon crit, p/b Queen City Wheels:
allen is learning how to be a USA Cycling offical and this was his first race doing timing and kitten herding. he gets to wear a fancy shirt and carry a clipboard and we think that’s smashingly cool.
ryan attended as a racer and provided the following report:
The race was fun, but super short! It was a packed field, they capped it at 75 racers and that’s what we had. The course was fast and technical with a modest climb on the front straight away and a descent through 4 corners on the back half of the course. I started out pretty fast, but I got caught up in a mid-pack group through the technical section on the first lap and the front groups were just pulling away. At about 5 laps in, the primary race official called out to my group of 7-8 that this would be our last lap because the leaders were about a quarter lap from catching us, so thus began our group’s last lap race for position which resulted in losing one position and finishing in 39th place after only 5-6 miles or racing… It was still fun and my legs and heart told me the race was plenty fast, but after the race was over, I went out for another hour ride to feel like I got the work I signed up for.
everyone knows weekends are for playing bikes with friends… dave, allen and rae spent some quality family time in and around wayne national forest this past weekend. the wildcat gravel grinder route is as brutal as promised! this weekend, the route was cut short because NO ONE brought enough water. the sad thing about this is, there is a filtration kit in the possum van, we just didn’t bring it. lesson learned: ALWAYS carry the filter because when it’s 90 degrees and 85% humidity and you’re out of water, every muddy puddle you ride by looks like a life saver.
the day ended over 40 miles with somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 feet of elevation, depending on which gps device you’re looking at. if anyone would like to hip us to the cause of these discrepancies, please chime in. we know we’re not that good at math, but…
the second weekend of june wrapped up for us at the COMBO great seal funduro. enduro is a strange kind of mountain bike event. rae provides the following observations:
“enduro”… we need to reevaluate the cost-benefit analysis on this one. dave and i drove 3 hours to great seal state park so he could join about 100 other guys who hate climbing in some kind of strange, self destructive mtb ritual. enduro participants lollygag their way up a very steep hill, arriving at the “start line” (read: top) in no particular order. this seemingly disorganised mess is then released from the top one at a time with about 60 seconds between. it seems like it takes them close to a half hour to get to the top and then about 3 minutes to get back down. timing starts at the drop in and ends at the road. or near the road. i guess they just bolt an rfid reader to a tree?whatever. i stood in the road.
so if you’re providing support, you stand at the bottom of the hill and look up into the trees, which emit a combination of man screaming, howling disc brake sounds, occasional bike crash noises and gangsta rap. as the sounds get closer, you lean cautiously toward the trail’s exit to see if it’s your rider. when it’s not, you go back to swatting black flies off your face and chatting with the IMBA medical team. for their own part, the IMBA medical team asks bloodied up riders if they know where they are. if a rider can accurately describe the location and race, they are released for the next stage.many riders arrive at the bottom covered in dirt skids and bleeding around the elbows, knees & face.
there are 4 stages for pro, 3 stages for everyone else.
dave had 3 stages and was off in the wilderness for approximately 4 hours.
his total time for all 3 downhill runs was 15 minutes. the first place finisher in his class did it in 11.
so… a 13 hour day total for 15 minutes of downhill. i mean, at least the dog and i got to swim in a little creek, but we need to rethink this!