catching up on updoots… from rae rides

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!

Dave making sure all the bolts are tight on this 29er

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.

Another really exciting event is coming up on July 17th. Our IMBA club, Rust Belt Revival Trail Coalition, is sponsoring a beer cruise around Columbiana County. We work with them on our local trails and can’t wait to share a day sampling local brews and talking shit! You can sign up for the ride here:

So that’s about all I’ve got for now. I’d like to thank all of our sponsors for helping us spread the stoke. Cycling saves lives!!!

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Squatchin’ at Cmp Tuscazoar Reign of Pain, July 3 2021

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.

Ron & Dave after the “warmup” 2 mile flow trail start, heading into the wilderness.

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!

Joe, Heather, Rae and dat strong 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…

Dunk, Ron & Rossi see Sasquatch, though it looks like Duncan’s trying to ignore him!

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.

Mandatory Mando Podium Photo

we’re not trying to brag, but it’s huge. our team, that is. there’s a whole bunch of us.

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 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!

more weekends is more fun!

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: work on your beard game, please. allen: keep up the good work.

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.

the total cost of the wheels in this picture is more than our possum van…

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…

post-ride raid on the crooksville ice cream stand!

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!

all smiles on the way to the start line

womens weekend, sibling revelry & ???running???

it was a busy weekend for rae, quinn, jeff & molly. not that there was any slacking on the part of the rest of the team, they just weren’t doing anything organised. typical.

saturday saw day 1 of the cleveland velodrome‘s womens weekend with the fabulous (utterly olympic) mk wintz & team mandalore’s very own health coach stacy rhea. it was a big first for quinn (and probably a little intimidating) but as usual, our superstar ladies junior figured out the fixed gear and smashed her laps. she learned some pacelines, how to move up and down the wall, speed control and standing starts. we made a pile of new friends and got to hang with some of rae’s favourite racin’ mamas.

team mandalore donated a hat and painting to the raffle and we had a Q&A with a lady sports doctor. (rae is sorry she can’t remember your name, but she did buy some turmeric green tea and she hates it but she’s gonna try again!)

most importantly, everyone had fun, no one got hurt and quinn is definitely ready to join the summit freewheelers juniors development team on their monday night workouts! thanks for the invite, duderinos, we’ll love to be there with y’all!

we had delicious lunch provided by go buddha meals. give them a try, even if you're not on a plant-based diet. you won't regret it. the takeout was totes incredibulllllz. rae feels a little guilty for just hoovering straight into hers before taking a picture, but assures us that the lunch was AS PICTURED on the website!

sunday morning brought the return of the infamous BROTHER-SISTER FIXED GEAR BEATDOWN between jeff and rae at deerfield’s eott time trial. inquiring minds wanted to know which sib had trained more on their fixie and the answer was clearly jeff. jeff was ON FIRE with a 20k time of 37:50 handily beating rae’s 41:44.

kings to jeff! this ride is his PR on the eott course and in addition to beating rae he also beat his other nemisis, “shez the devil.”

because there were not enough fixed gears for a full podium, jeff & rae were both scored in the standard (non-aero) category, which we agree is a fair compromise, since the two of them really only care about beating eachother.

rae snagged a third overall in womens standard, but she bolted immediately after slamming her parking lot beer so she could attend the local fu5k cancer 5k.

thanks shez! i mean “hail satan!” for standing in on the podium!

everyone knows running is for squirrels, but if you have a friend race directing, a team mate sponsoring and only live 1.5 miles from the course you kinda have to show up for the 5k teeshirt run!

rae had to ride straight to the 5k from eott, then switch shoes and slam a water bottle by her 10am start time. luckily, she found a ruck-racing buddy and was able to fast hike the course in fine company. team mandalore’s molly kay a (owner of our sponsor kent cycle) donated her time manning a bike corral and did a nice raffle at the end too!

despite the hot day, the woods were beautiful and there were even a few dogs to pet. apologies to fitzy who is still trying to learn his leash manners and was not able to attend.

as a charity race, there were no official finishing times, but strava says this was rae’s 2nd fastest effort for a 5k. not bad for a fat old lady who just smashed a multitude of fixed gear miles! the fu5k cancer race supports colin cares cures cancer. they’re always taking donations & they’re good folks so you should run their race or drop them some federal reserve notes of love.

that appears to be all there is to say about this past weekend. up next week we’re looking toward getting mtb season started with yc monthly or if we can’t field a team to drive that far far and away, maybe just umpteen laps at WEST BRANCH!!!!!

also jun 1st will see the start of the tuesday training crit … if you’re a lady with a road bike, rae would realllllllly like to have another gal to race with in mens b category. HINT HINT HINT.

ratl 4 and a series 2nd place!

Big news this weekend for the 3 Mandalores in attendance at RATL#4. Robbie raced for the first time & Brian placed 18 our of 36 in his 3rd crit! The mens Cat5 race was in pretty crummy conditions – rain and about 40 degrees – and the boys both did a great job! Robbie, Rae says she’s really sorry she pinned your number upside down 😉

In the womens 4/5 field, Rae managed to eek out enough points to place second overall for the series (a first for her and for Team Mandalore) and reports that the weather was MUCH better for her race. It’s nice when the ladies get the good weather!

What’s up next for the Mighty Mandalorians? This is a rare off weekend for the team, but there will be group rides and adventuring before we get back to racing. EOTT begins this month in Deerfield and the first of June will bring us the Parkside races in Twinsburg.

We’ve also committed to supporting the FU5K CANCER trail race in Kent on May 23rd. Sign up here to help us support Colin Cares! Say hi when you see us scrambling around in the woods, likely confused, as we try to figure out what running is. In all honesty, they sold us with “there is beer after.”

RATL 2 & 3 Report

Team Mandalore is having a blast with Summit Freewheelers at their Races At The Lake Series. Race #2 was a first time in a large criterium field for Brian, our zoomiest Cat5 and Race #3 was the first for our foundling, Quinn.

For both races, Rae spent time with her galpals in ladies 3/4 and put a blistering 18.1 mph average on the locally contested “S River Slog” Strava segment. 2 seconds off the leader, not bad for an old meatball.

pretty sure we promised you you’d be able to find our jersey!!!

The beginning of May also brought the delivery of our new SE roadbike, which is going to young Quinn to get her started on what we know will be a long and happy road racing career!

Q is lucky to have former pro, Duncan Oliver, around to help her learn how to use the Garmin cause it’s a mystery to the rest of us goons!

Quinn is training with Stacy Rhea – Health Coach Rhea – to build her endurance, take advantage of her young muscle building ability and learn great nutrition for sports performance. Stacy’s amazing, definitely check out her training plans! Or if you’re a lady, come on out to the Cleveland Velodrome Women’s Weekend to get a taste of her coaching.

weekend wrap up: let’s go do the back to back back back

this weekend saw Mandos at Summit Freewheelers’ Races at the Lake and Headwinds Cycling’s Ohio Hill Climb Challenge. Fine weather and fine friends in the great state of Ohio!

Rae hates criterium, but the sense of desperation for fun after a long 2020 convinced her to enter RATL. Not DFL, but definitly DFF (down for fun!) Rae spent some time with former Team Stelleri teammates and friends from Ohio Bicycle Club, Summit Freewheelers & Team Litzler.

yeah, Rae may have placed 9th out of 10 but just being out with friends for the first time in over a year was worth it!

Sunday’s big adventure was a long haul down to fabulous Zanesfield, OH for the first Ohio Hill Climb Challenge. Brian, Rae & Quinn all competed in their first ever hill climbing time trial. Rae beat enough people, but not enough to get a prize. Quinn made INCREDIBLE time up that hill (for a kid on a borrowed bike & flat pedals who’s never done a TT) and impressed everyone with her enthusiasm and grit.

Best news, though, is Brian’s scorching 7 minute run got him a solid third place in mens cat5. This was Brian’s FIRST EVER competitive event and Team Mandalore’s FIRST podium of the year. When asked how he was feeling after, he beamed at us and squealed, “THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!” We love that spirit!

mandos at takeoff.

We can’t do this without our sponsors. As the season kicks off, we want to tip our collective hats to all the fine people who help make this rag tag army of fun chasers able to race:

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