Tommy @ Devou Frienduro

Devou Frienduro 2022

Let me start by saying, “Devou is an awesome place to ride a bike.” This park can be broken down into several downhill stages. I think 7. It is just under 2 hour drive from Columbus Ohio on the other side if the Ohio River near Cincinnati.

I am not much of a photographer and usually don’t take photos much of myself. The day before I had done 102 miles riding Pelotonia. Since my body wasn’t sore, I was hoping for a good race.

When we got there, (my cousin Tyler Schira was with me), right away folks were talking about how greasy it was on the trail. That wasn’t good since Tyler is kind of new to mountain biking. He was riding my Transition Scout and I was on the Giant Reign. Team Mandalore has an awesome shirt design. Folks
recognized me right away. Tyler and I were excited despite the greasy warnings.
We both rode 2 stages. I love the 2 nd stage Full Monty. There is a gap jump toward the end I love hitting. Yeah, the trail was a bit greasy. During the transfer trail to stage 3, Tyler took a spill on some rocks and ended up falling 4 feet down a shale garden. He banged up his arm and needed some first aid.
I had already been ahead and didn’t realize his crash. I waited for him to catch up with me but he didn’t.

Others came so I asked. Folks made me aware of his crash and I knew right were that was. My legs were done. Energy was just not there for me to complete the race. Pelotonia had taken it from me and rightfully so.

It was time to call it and I headed back. Man it was a hot day. Everyone was drenched. Tyler and I decided to leave but without regret. Later I heard from others that One of my friends got stitches in his knee due to a crash and another broke his hand by hitting a tree. It was very greasy out there.

Something about Kentucky nature and wet conditions made it feel like riding on ice in some situations.

Jacob, on Fire at the Chestnut Ridge Scorcher!

The Scorcher at Chestnut Ridge (
Jacob Schira competed in a mountain bike race on July 16, 2022.

It was a rainy day and it was difficult on the young riders. Jacob being 6 years old raced in the 5/6 year old class. The race course was a field course with about 16 feet of elevation gain and .3 miles in length.

Many riders came to race. About 288 bikers came to race that day.
The rain wasn’t too bad when Jacob was staging to race. He was ready. So were all the other little racers.

Jacob finished strong and he hopes to finish in better position next time. He hopes to convert from a single speed to a bike with gears to help him when the terrain gets steep or tough.

The Trail Gators put on a great race. They are very organized with many volunteers. Coach Armstrong kept our spirits high during the difficult weather. Eventually, the race had to be called off for the older riders as the rain came down tough.

Next race is going to be at Granby Elementary in September at their Gator trail course.

-Tommy Schira Jr
Jacob’s Dad.

Camp Tuscazoar Reign of Pain 6 Hour MTB: a dispatch from Yellowman

“That is so sick, Bro”!
Have you ever heard a mountain biker say that one?

Sometimes when you’re sick it takes some time to recover. Recover your strength. Recover your wits.

Well the Tuscazoar Reign of Pain did that to six riders for Team Mandalore. how many laps can you put down with your partner in six hours? Team riders split into pairs: Rae Havoc and brother Craig, Yellowman and Dunk, Tommy and his young ward Tyler. All came ready to race and ready to be as obnoxious enough to be noticed, loud enough to be heard (even over Kenny “Bullhorn” Kocarek), and vibrant enough to be seen a mile away.

who goes first? where’s dunk? what the hell’s going on?

There was so much going on….the boxing gloves, the slip and slide, the maple syrup.This was the best attendance yet for this event. There were a lot of talented cyclists from across Ohio. There werea great many efficient and organized teams present. Then Camp Razorcrest was set up right in the middle of it all. No worries. We’re Team Mandalore. We are there to have fun and spread the stoke.

After sending out our first three riders at the mass start the rest of us at Camp Razorcrest double checked our gear. Ate some food. Drank something cold. At this time a rider from the CAMBA Race Team was dragged to our camp after it was discovered he was missing a bolt from a shoe. Can’t ride with one shoe! So we set up our new friend Miguel and got him on his bike to blast out of the gate and hit the trail. THAT’S how you spread the stoke!

So Yellowman knows all kinds of people. He dragged a friend along to hang out, drink our beer, eat our food. Really glad he could join us. Shout out to rider Chris Dubray as he only decided to sign up last minute to throw down a couple solo laps. Across the way were two more old riding friends of Yellowman, Bud and Jon . Shenanigans Cycling sent a represenative group as well camping out right next door. Like I said it was a parade of the best riders around. That parade did laps, just about everyone under the team tent made two laps. That’s about 20 miles and 2,300 foot of elevation gain. Yes. The ‘pain’ of the Reign of Pain. Six hours seems like a lot of time but with two minutes to go we still had a rider on the course.

kings to Tyler for finishing his second lap with less than 2 mins left on the clock.

Tyler came in just under the gun to finish up his first Mountain Bike race ever. Smiles all around. Old friends were greeted. New friends were made. Have fun. Spread the stoke.

Tyler, Craig, Dunk, Tommy, Fiona, Rae, Dave & Annabel

Dave & Tommy Do The Wilds

A FUNduro race report with COMBO from the Team Mandalore downhill boys!

Yellowman & Tommy, Pre-Race

We were in southern Ohio last Sunday to run “The Wilds” in the COMBO – Central Ohio Mountain Biking Organization crazy downhill FUNduro Series.

Team mates Tommy and “Yellowman” Dave took on the sloppy conditions, wet roots, and giant puddles. Five downhill runs and many long transitions later they emerged from the woods to consume the provided hamburgers and beer.

Many excellent racers were in attendance. Many familiar faces were seen beneath full face helmets. Bug spray was shared. A good time was had by all.

Our team is something else – our last post was a crazy all night running adventure. Before that it was time trial, then road racing. Now we are crashing and bashing through the summer on our mountain bikes. #AllPeopleAllBikes

We wish to thank ALL of our sponsors for helping us #SpreadTheStoke <3

WARDADDY (a blog from Rae)

About 2 months ago, Dave asked me to go to this race, the War Daddy 100, with him down in Kentucky. A 100k mountainbike race in April is unwinnable for someone living in northeast Ohio. Our trail system is completely closed until at least May due to feet of melting snow and rain. I said no- it’s too early, but he insisted he was going. I considered Dave’s sacrifices (twice) to be my truck support at The Crusher and decided I owed him one. I set a reasonable goal of 10 hours for the two of us to complete the course. We rode out mountain bikes as much as possible on the local gravel courses and just kind of hoped for the best.

What I expected at War Daddy:
-Monster climbs. I’ve been all over the Daniel Boone National Forest. Ride – push- ride- repeat.
-Chunks. Real Appalachian fire & mining roads. No problem. nothing can be as bad as Mosquito Gulch.
-Creek crossings. A feature that used to be scary, but I’m getting the hang of.
10 hours to finish. Easy peasy- half a Crusher100. What could go wrong?

What I did not expect at War Daddy:
-Variable surfaces. The route surfaces changes so fast I found it hard to get a rhythm. We’d go suddenly from soft dirt with boulders to fresh 3in deep 57 rock (my LEAST favourite kind of gravel).
-Heat. The weather’s unpredictable everywhere around this time, but right up until our 9am start time, the high temperature was only supposed to be in the low 70s. We hit 82 degrees at 10:30am. My plan to skip the first 2 aid stations to save time wasn’t going to work, given that we were drinking so much water.
-Unending Climbs. Seriously, I never saw so many false flats in my life. Do people in cars just put it neutral and hope for the best while they go down the other way? Do they put the false flats in there to slow down the descending dump trucks? Seriously, what the fuck?

What Trail Sick Warned Me About:
-You will be riding in the middle of a creek bed for part of the course. It might be easier to walk it.
-It’s a long 67 miles.

My favourite part:
-Half mile creek bed jam!!! Easier to walk it?! That was the best part! And the warbaby trail after was primo – nice soft dirt with a little sand and pine duff (my speciality!) rollers and a few steep root climbs alongside the creek. I could have just circled back and done that all day. But alas…

The last thing I did not consider was how fas it gets dark in the mountains. For someone who used to part-time live in the Smokys, I should have known better. We hit the 11 hour mark at about mile 60. So, 7 to go on the mapped course. Problem was I had to take my sunglasses off. I stopped Dave and said, “dudebro, we really have to make a decision. It’s going to be dark, we’re in strange territory, we don’t have lights and we are NOT the blues brothers.” Trail Sick was hanging around at the last intersection looking for us. We took the ride at about mile 63.

yeah, we didn’t know either you can just buy pickle juice by the gallon!

I’m not disappointed, tho. As I age I’m getting faster and better but I’m also getting smarter. A metric century for the first outdoor mtb adventure of the year is enough of a feather for this girl’s cap! 10 years ago I might have chanced it. Hell, maybe even 3 years ago before my catastrophic crash. These days, I take victory where I can find it and roll over the the afterparty like I’m queen of the world!

War Daddy 100 is amazing. We’re going to get the Trail Sick Bros up here to ride with us and the McLain Farm Bros ASAP. Hanging out with them felt like we were with our dudes up here. I feel an epic MTB bromance coming on and I wanna be the shadchanit on that task! For real though, if you’re looking for a great group of hooligans to hang with and a hell of an adventure, this one’s for you!

You can keep up with my adventures on instagram at @raefaba and with Dave at @yellowmohican. Make sure you check out our new friends at @trail_sick too!

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?
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!!

8th annual Road Apple Roubaix

500 riders for the 8th annual RAR!

Here in northeast Ohio, the RAR is our season opener. Under fondo rules (timed but no podiums) we gather in the quaint and tiny town of Garretsville to terrorize the local population with a day of gravel riding, hill climbing, beer drinking, arm wrestling and a boisterous welcoming of the spring.

This year, conditions were “partially optimal,” with dry roads, sunshine and warm temperatures. The last several weeks of snowfall and ice made the trail sections of the ride extremely sloppy and slick, but overall it was a great adventure day!

Big smiles from Ryan, who tried a MTB for the first time this weekend!

RAR offers 2 routes – 25 or 47. All 5 Mandalores involved opted for the longer ride, arriving on a mishmash of mountainbikes, roadbikes and fixed gears. Fun fact, Team Mandalore is the ONLY team in 8 years to field not one but 3 fixies to finish the grueling 2500 feet of elevation ON TRACK GEARING. Mountainbike riding Ryan finished 117th overall in an open field of 500. Fixies Jeff and Andy impressed the crowd with their climbing and passing without gears to the delight of riders and spectators alike.

MTB Dave, in the middle of nowheresville, wearing his snacks… and his ROKA sunglasses! FYI- lots of aid stations cut bananas in half so you can just squeeze the fruit out of the skin which is very helpful if you’re wearing gloves!

The team gives rave reviews to the latest batch of Kenda tires. We have a discount code you can use if you want to get out there on the best rubber Ohio has to offer: KENDAPRO25

If you were at RAR with us, our friend James took some great pics throughout the ride & you can check them out here!

Andy would like to remind you to get in a recovery ride and a tasty treat the day after a big event!

womens weekend at ray’s mtb park!

Huge thanks to our sponsor, 2 Bulls in a China Shop Podcast, for sending 3 of our junior ladies to Ray’s Indoor this past weekend to take skills classes in a supportive, women only environment. Ray’s is open seasonally in Cleveland, during the times we can’t ride the mtb trails. Once per year they offer a day for women only, with free admission and our friends at Ride Inspired put on coaching clinics. We made a video of some of our highlights, like seeing our friends, learning how to hop wheels off the floor, racing on the pump track and, of course, eating a ton of junk food!

Coach Rae was thrilled and impressed with the effort and attitude our lady foundlings put in. It was actually hard to drag them out at the end of the day!!!

big weekend out for team mandalore!

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.

Annabel and her fan club…

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.

sister team foundlings at baileys!

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.

the bedford gathering of the mandalores

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!

Coming up next, the COMBO FunDuro series continues, but at least we get a week off!

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!)