so what happened after crusher?

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!)

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: https://www.bikereg.com/rbrtc-beer-ride

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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