24 Hours in the Canyon

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What an excellent venue for mountain bike racing. Let me be the very first to say that Palo Duro Canyon is one of the most spectacular destinations in all of Texas and easily as scenic as our best National Parks. So it goes without saying that the whole experience of doing a 24 hour mountain bike race in such a venue is impressively unique.

The weekend started off excellent, easy 5hr drive, beautiful weather, etc. etc.. We started setting up the pit area around 5pm on Friday and we were fortunate enough to be joined by Damon Williams from Cadence Cyclery (Highland Village) who had donated his time and skills to wrenching on peoples bikes for the race…. Not just Bearded Women or Cadence bikes, but everyone who needed mechanical support, Damon was there to help. This actually provided a lot of entertainment and comedic relief. It’s kinda funny to see some of the stuff that happens to peoples bikes before during and after a race. But it’s even funnier to hear them explain the problem or how to fix it to the mechanic. And we had a front row seat for the whole show.

The race went off without a hitch. We sent Brad out of the gate with one goal: Do the 1st lap as fast as possible, then we will start with the two lap rotations at a sustainable pace. The start line was two miles down the road in a separate campground from the pit area, so the rest of the team was just kinda hanging out waiting for Brad to come in and not really knowing what to expect from a timing standpoint. The initial lap had a lead out and lots of congestion so we were guessing lap times, 1hr, 55 minutes, 50 minutes… etc.. As you can imagine, we were pretty shocked when he rolled through with a 41:15 on the first lap! And then BAM! Eric goes out and puts down back-to-back 42 minute laps, almost identical. I think we knew right then and there 30 laps was going to be easily attainable. Jesse came in off his first set around 3pm and handed off to me and he was like “dude, it’s way hot”… and man was he right. I rode from about 3ish to 4:30ish and it was super hot and super dusty… I’m talking border line RCP backwards 2013 DORBA Fall Series hot and dusty. If you were there you know what I mean.

After the first full rotation we were locked in on auto pilot. We were watching the clock, making sure our teammates had water hand-ups when they came through, basically running like a well-oiled machine…. Unlike some of the bikes Damon was wrenching on in the meantime.

Nightfall came and once again we were in a position where we didn’t really know what to expect from a timing standpoint. Jesse came in with his lights on, but I started the first full dark lap so when I came through in 46 minutes on the 1st lap I was in disbelief. I thought for sure nightfall would have us well into the 50 minute range. But we were flying and we were more than halfway to our goal.

For me… this is where shit got real. 3am, I had been asleep for about an hour and half, Eric wakes me up and says “Jesse just did a 45 minute lap! You need to get up and get ready”. OK. So I put on some clean bibs and my sweaty jersey and I start trying to wake up and get excited to go ride in the desert all alone in the middle of the night for about 2 hours. Sounds awesome right? I hope you reading this realize that so far I have been screwed on this riding schedule. 1st set in the absolute hottest part of the day, 2nd set as soon as it gets dark, and now the 3rd set in the most lonely, most sleepy, most quiet, most eerie, most you name it part of the night. I think I fell asleep on the 1st lap of this set because I looked up and I was already ¾ finished… I thought, man this aint too bad… but then for some reason I woke up and the 2nd lap lasted an eternity. I was literally talking to myself, “once you finish you can go to sleep, keep pedaling and you can go to sleep, don’t walk this section, you can finish faster and go to sleep”. Then I started thinking to myself “shit, you were supposed to wake up Brad when you finished your first lap. You forgot to do that!…. What if he isn’t ready to go?. WHAT IF I HAVE TO DO A 3RD LAP!!!!????” Anyways, I roll up and that dude is awake and ready to go… High five, hell yeah, I’m going to sleep.

Well while I was asleep the good times kept rolling, except for Eric who flipped over the handlebars and for Damon who had to fix Eric’s bike in the dark at 5am (more on that in a minute). Lap times remained well under 50 minutes for the most part and by the time I woke up at 730 all we had to do was crank out three more laps and we were at 30. Jesse was on his final lap, I put in number 29 and Brad closed it out. We could have done 31, but we decided to save some for next year 😉

All in all we had 1 mechanical and no serious injuries. Eric’s rear brake pad separated from the metal backing and he had to finish GSL (the most technical section) with only a front brake… That’s how he ended up going over the bars.

This was a great experience and the team of guys couldn’t have been better. Nothing beats getting a 1st place trophy on your very first 24hr mountain bike race! Looking forward to next year!

-Dan Johnson

The Red River Riot

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The Red River Riot.

As told by Eric “Lacy” Swarvar, Racing Member, SS

After doing a few Spinistry Gravel rides I thought I knew what to expect. Kevin runs a professionally organized promotion like no other. An entry fee of $30 got me an option of 3 distances of 40,72, or 123 miles, I wisely choose the middle for my cross bike and I. Fellow Beards Mike and Greg were also at the race and after exchanging greetings at Muenster High School, we quickly realized the event was off to a start. We started to the back, which is never my favorite place to start. I began to push to get to the front of the group but only made it to the 2nd peloton. The group was led out by Kevin in his vehicle to begin the day. The pace picked up quickly and I settled in to a 17+mph average. At mile 4 a rider went down in a gravel turn. I did not stop to offer assistance as my level of medical training is not good and he already had 4 fellow riders helping. I rode a little cautious for the next few miles until the scenery drew my attention away from my thoughts on the wreck. From mile 8 to 25 I rode with a few individuals I know, but not working a pace line, we were turning the cranks and chewing the cud. At mile 25 a pace line formed and the speed picked back up. There were about 20 riders pushing through and at mile 30 my loins were releaved to feel pavement. I cranked the speed up for a fast mile hitting a 30.8 MPH average just to have a little fun with the guys on the MTB. It was my impression that the first loop was a 35 mile loop before coming back to Muenster High to check in. I was wrong since it was a keen 40 miles. I averaged a nice 17.3 MPH average, far from the guys in the first group with a 19+ mph average.

Loop two will forever be known as the bastard loop to me. It had a lot more elevation changes then the first but the scenery was equally beautiful. For a while I rode with Chaos(for those of you that have meet him you know him). He was rolling a single speed fixed gravel bike and was smiling the entire time. Halfway into the second loop you could break left to the winery or right to stay on course, Chaos went off to the winery with a, “Yhea Man!” as I pushed to stay on course. Thats when trouble occurred at mile 56. The real climbing began. 400+ feet over 4 miles and the peak of the climb was 160 feet over .7 miles….quads cramped and admittedly I became a hiker instead of a biker for about .3 miles. Once the hill leveled I jumped back on the saddle and started to pedal. I took about a mile to settle back in and feel good. Finishing 72 miles in 4 hours 32 minutes with over 4,100+ feet of climbing on gravel felt good. I consumed 3 bottles of Scratch labs, 1 water bottle, and 4 Scratch rice cakes. Next time I will eat a little more on the ride, I believe thats where the cramping came from.

After most Spinistry events Kevin provides BBQ brisket, beans, salsa, to make your own tacos or sandwiches. He also took pictures out on the course, posted the results in less then 24 hours, and emailed each participant their individual results by Monday. This is an event I will keep on my calendar year after year, and highly encourage everyone to hit up a few of his events.

Results here:

Eric Swarvar, Medium Route, 26 of 90, 4:36:23

Mike D’Aurelio, Medium Route, 71 of 90, 5:39:43

Greg Campbell, Short Route, 20 of 80, 2:35:23

-Eric “Lacy” Swarvar

Katie Shaw, Racing Member

Profile

Birth Date January 9, 1991
Birth Place California
Home Town Keller, TX
List and describe your bicycles 2013 Cannondale Tango SL3 29er, Giant Avail 3 Road Bike, Origin-8 steel frame fixie (it’s quite colorful).
List past racing accomplishments in any sport you’ve competed in 2nd place overall women’s cat 3 in the DORBA Fall XC series
What is your first memory of riding a bicycle? I had a sparkly magenta huffy with streamers on the handlebars. It was legit and had studded tires to tackle the Nebraska winters.
Why do you ride a bicycle? I like having awesomely strong and toned legs. Duh.
What does Bearded Women mean to you? It means that I get to be part of a team who shares my passion. Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Armando “MandoMex” Zermeno, Racing Member

Racing Results

2014

DORBA Frozen Endurance OCNP  34 of 60, 5 laps, 4:12:31

Profile

Birth Date August 24 1977
Birth Place Dallas, TX
Home Town Dallas, TX
List and describe your bicycles 1. Niner Air 9 Scandium
2. Edwin custom cyclocross (Campy)
3. GT S5 road (Campy)
List past racing accomplishments in any sport you’ve competed in Raced a few cross races last year for fun.
What is your first memory of riding a bicycle? When I first learned to ride at about 10 years old! Freedom to roam the neighborhood!
Why do you ride a bicycle? I ride to stay in shape, fun, an occasional race. It’s also cheaper for me to ride to work.
What does Bearded Women mean to you? It gives me a chance to get to ride with some new people, make new friends on and off the bike. And to represent in the local North Texas cycling community as a group effort.

 

Moreece Griffin, Racing Member

Racing Results

2014

Lone Star XC Northshore  6 of 30, 1:08:26
Lone Star XC Sansom 4 of 22, 1:16:11
Warda Dirty Dozen  7 of 8 teams, 15 laps, 11:25:44

Profile

Birth Date January 17 1978
Birth Place Fort Worth, TX
Home Town Fort Worth, TX
List and describe your bicycles Trek Marlin 29er
Specialized Epic 29er
List past racing accomplishments in any sport you’ve competed in 2013 DORBA Fall Series was my first competitive riding. I
finished all the races I entered, that was my biggest
accomplishment.
What is your first memory of riding a bicycle? Riding my 10 speed back and forth from the gyms in N. Fort Worth to get my basketball fix.
Why do you ride a bicycle? Serenity now!
What does Bearded Women mean to you? A good group of cyclist that support more than just racing
but the communities they are part of and we’re not some
side show circus.

 

Dan Johnson, Racing Member, SS

Racing Results

2014

Rudolph’s Revenge  14 of 27, 2:29:08, avg spd: 12.07 mph
Lone Star XC Sansom 1 of 4, 1:43:41, avg spd: 9.83 mph

Profile

Birth Date September 24, 1982
Birth Place Dallas, TX
Home Town Flower Mound, TX
List and describe your bicycles Niner Air 9 Scandium – Shimano XT, FOX F29
’89 Raleigh Technium Pro
List past racing accomplishments in any sport you’ve competed in Top 10 finish in all 2013 season races, moved to CAT 2 mid season.
What is your first memory of riding a bicycle? When I was 4 I remember breaking into my dads toolbox and taking off my training wheels. I ended up getting in trouble because I left the tools out in the front yard and one of the socket wrenches got lost.
Why do you ride a bicycle? Adventure, exploring and Strava KOM’s
What does Bearded Women mean to you? Sharing similar interest with a group of people looking to better their communities and the lives of those around them.

 

Spring time  XC racing in DFW has been a rarity in years past. From February to August the only racing we saw was the occasional TMBRA race in Big Cedar, which went as quickly as it came. Even so, there was a large void that could only be filled by a Spring XC series. This year however, Shawn McAfee (Texas Mountain Bike Trails) in collaboration with Kevin Lee (Spinistry) have put together a very exciting grass roots XC series that focuses on hometown racers that can’t, or don’t want to travel to TMBRA races.

The first race in this series was held at Northshore trail, one of the most popular trails in DFW. Brad Wendling, Moreece Griffin, Randy Davis, and myself all competed in this series opener.

Here are the results:

Brad Wendling(35+ Advanced Class): 26 of 37, 1:53:39  (Single Speed)

Moreece Griffin(35+ Sport Class): 6 of 30, 1:08:26

Randy Davis(35+ Sport Class): 9 of 30, 1:10:38

Jesse Bernal(Under 35 Advanced Class): 9 of 12, 1:56:55 (Single Speed)

The second race was held at Marion Sansom Park, easily one for the most demanding trails in North Texas. The course was short, 2 or 3 laps, 5 miles each, but deceptively difficult. That didn’t discourage team BWR. Especially racing member Daniel Johnson who earned a first place finish in advanced/intermediate under 35 class. Racing member Moreece Griffin also had a good day on the saddle with a 4th place finish in sport class. James Henson took 16 of 22 in 35+ sport class which was quite the feat in itself. I managed to squeeze out a 4 of 6 (2 racers DNS) place finish in 1+1=1 single speed class. I was just happy to finish.

Here are the results:

Daniel Johnson(Under 35 Advanced Class): 1 of 4, 1:43:41

Moreece Griffin(35+ Sport Class): 4 of 22, 1:16:11

James Henson(35+ Sport Class): 16 of 22, 2:11:01

Jesse Bernal(Under 35 Single Speed): 4 of 6, 1:59:13

 

The next race in the series will be held at Erwin Park. See y’all there!

J3SSEB

#beardedwomenracing, #iridebikesgood, #lonestarxc

Katie is one of the newest members of Bearded Women Racing and a recent University of North Texas graduate. She has a passion for riding bikes and helping people. This summer, Katie will have the opportunity to combine both her passions and take on an epic adventure when she journeys across the United States with the Bike & Build program. 

Katie Shaw, Racing Member
Katie Shaw, Racing Member

Tell us who you are, where you come from, and why you’re here.

Greetings! My name is Katie Shaw and I hail from Denton, TX. I’m a recent college grad of the University of North Texas with a degree in English Literature, and I’m here to chat a little bit about my upcoming summer, which I’m super stoked about.

In your own words, can you tell us about the Bike & Build program?

Bike & Build is a non-profit organization that focuses on raising awareness and funds for affordable housing projects in America through cross-country cycling trips. The organization also aims to instill service and leadership in its participants. Beginning in June, I’ll be cycling across the country with 34 other young adults from Portsmouth, NH to Vancouver, Canada. Along the way we’ll be stopping to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and other similar non-profits. Some days we’ll bike and other days we’ll build. Each rider participating is required to raise $4,500 for the trip, which goes to food, fuel for the support van, and to non-profits that are dedicated to ending the affordable housing crisis in America.

 What made you decide to take on this grand adventure?

A few of my friends did this trip last summer, and I was so inspired after hearing the stories of their life-changing summer, so I knew right away that I had to cycle across the US and build houses. They told me stories of all the neat people they met and the connections they made—(WARNING: sappy sentence approaching) the kind of stories that make you tear up because your body is so full of those feel good emotions.

How have you been preparing or training for the long days in the saddle?

I’ve been getting in as many miles as I can on the road. I just got my brand spankin’ new Giant Avail road bike shipped to me about two weeks ago from Bike & Build, so I’ve been familiarizing myself with my steed that will take me across the US this summer. And yoga. Yoga is part of my training to keep me limber.

What can we (readers) do to help this worthy cause?

As I stated earlier in the interview, each participant is responsible for raising $4,500 for the trip. This is where you, the readers, and anyone interested in the affordable housing cause come in. Donations to make this trip possible would be greatly (I mean GREATLY) appreciated and are also 100% tax-deductible. If you’d like to read a little bit more about me or donate to the cause, follow this link: http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/7240. To read more about Bike & Build, check out www.bikeandbuild.org or visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BikeAndBuild.

-JESSE B

SANSOM 66

Jesse Bernal, Racing Member
written by Jesse Bernal, Racing Member #IRideBikesGood

If you’ve ever ridden or volunteered for a Spinistry event you already know that Kevin Lee (Spinistry’s founder) is notoriously guilty of putting on some of the most grueling cycling events south of the Red River. Texas Chainring Massacre, Red River Riot, Hell on Wheels 100, and Midnight Massacre are just a few of the races in his repertoire; but none come close to the insanity that is the Sansom 66. To the untrained eye, the Sansom 66 looks like any other 60ish mile endurance race, but to the frequenters of this trail this is 66 miles of pure agony. Marion Sansom Park is 11 miles of rocky, loose, technical, and fast descending single track located in Fort Worth, Texas. It is also infamously known for having near the edge, fall off a cliff, super fast, flowy trail. If you’ve never had the chance to ride here, I highly encourage you to make the trip, preferably with someone that knows the trail.

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Earlier this year three of our very own Bearded Women Racing members Randy Davis, Braden Barnett, and I took on the challenge of the Sansom 66. However, being only mere mortals, we only signed up for the 33 miles option, which proved to be more than enough. The day started with cool temperatures and brisk winds that seemed to cut through even the best of windbreakers. As riders dawned their layers of long sleeve shirts and thermals the anxiety started to compound as it does with most race days. A few minutes before the race began, Kevin Lee gathered the racers around for the traditional racer’s meeting in which they gave a moment of silence for the late, great Ray Porter, a Dallas racing legend. In honor of Ray, his #1 race plate was retired from Spinistry events… a genuinely respectable act by Kevin.

Soon the race began with a short start loop that shot the racers straight into the racecourse. The degree of difficulty was quickly realized when racers began to bottleneck on technical sections and climbs that weren’t cleaned by the less experienced riders. Thankfully the field of riders was small and the traffic diminished within a few minutes. At this time, Bearded Women Racing was pretty well spread out. Braden and his Ti Lynskey bike were making great time and were in the lead pack. Randy was also doing well on his scandium/carbon Salsa and was staying competitive in the middle pack. Meanwhile, I was trudging along in the back of the pack on my Niner carbon single speed because of a flat tire late in the first lap. I eventually recovered from this and fixed my puncture, but never really got back into the race because I had lost so much time.

3 laps later our racers slowly started crossing the finish line looking beaten, but elated at the same time. Braden absolutely crushed the race coming in with a time of 3:57:07 which earned him a place of 17/28. Randy also had a strong showing earning a 22/28 placing with a time of 4:28:29. I, despite the mechanical troubles I encountered with two flat tires, earned a 25/28 place with a time of 5:10:50; respectable time for a single speed. Perhaps I would have had better luck if I had registered in the single speed category.

See ya at IDB! JB

Here are the overall results from the Samson 66 in Ft Worth, TX:

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