ad hillman hustle per aspera!

through suffering gravel grinding, to the stars…

a 2 hour drive, crappy weather & a model airplane runway: a tale of meeting goals with fiona, quinn, rae, molly & dave…

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?
DON’T DIE
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!

after 2,000 feet of climbing, maybe Rae wasn’t so “underdressed” after all!

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.

mandalore perks: finish line beers or choco milk.

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.

go molly! go molly! go molly!

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!!

Hockey Sweaters

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.

team mandalore


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.

Find sizing information (including how to measure an old jersey to figure your size) here: https://www.owayo.com/design-custom-hockey-jerseys.htm#productTab_sizes

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!!!

team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore
team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore
team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore team-mandalore