The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
The end of our second season racing caps a tremendously successful, and exciting 2014 for our team. The year has been fruitful, rewarding, tragic, and very special for all of our members. Here’s a look back at the season, including our 2014 team performance award winners, Jacob the Great, and what we accomplished:
Jacob the Great
On January 16, 2014 we tragically lost one of our own right as the new season was starting. Jacob Hollings joined our inagural 2013 squad as a mid-season addition at 20 years old, and quickly shined, winning multiple races and finishing the season on a very high note.
While his passing was very sad and difficult, we remember Jacob, not only through our own encounters with him, but also first hand through his father, Phil Hollings. Phil pledged to his son, posthumously, to race in Jacob’s place. He had never ridden a mountain bike before, and in his first race, he got 1st place, just like Jacob! We are so thankful to have Phil on the team, racing for himself and in Jacob’s memory. Read more about Jacob here.
Team Performance Award Winners
Our team supports two types of members, racing and riding. Our racing members have the opportunity to compete for annual team awards to act as an incentive and motivation to perform well during the season. We track races completed and placings, and assign a points system to them. Based on the data, we have a pretty good objective way to award performance without any kind of subjective opinion. Here are the 2014 winners:
2014 team awards made by ReGeared
2014 Best Overall Performance, Eric Swarvar
2014 Best Accumulated MTB Endurance Team Race Placing, Braden Barnett and Dan Smith
2014 Best Pit Crew Teammate, Phil Hollings
2014 Most Improved Rider, Logan Davis (accepting – Brady Davis)
2014 Most Races Completed, Moreece Griffin
2014 Best Team Beard, Ken McClure
2014 Best Accumulated MTB Sprint Race Placing, Keith McDonald
2014 team gifts made by ReGeared given to all team members
The 2014 racing season saw 34 out of 49 members compete in 43 unique sprint and endurance bike races for a total of 247 individual race entries logged by both racing and riding members, up 65 % from 85 logged in 2013.
By far our most represented Category is CAT2 (SS included) and 2nd most popular is CAT 3. There were 105 XC Races logged, and 62 Endurance type races. BWR was represented at a race in every month of the season in 2014!
Total team membership reached 49 for the season and consisted of 1 life time member, 32 racing members, 12 riding members, and 4 junior boys. The team became more gender diverse with 7 women on the team, 3 who raced consistently the entire season. We had 37 men, respectively.
Several of our racing and riding members placed in the top ten and reached the podium in multiple races during the season. Here is the breakdown of our best results:
5th – 10th
That put’s a Bearded Women on the podium 84 times out of 247 individual race entries, a 34% podium achievement rate!
Click on a race to read each summary (not all races attended were summarized):
In addition to our racing performances, Bearded Women Racing is 100% focused on community outreach as well. Here is a summary of what our team accomplished this past season:
Aside from racing, our members are expected to participate in various community service events throughout the season. This past year, 22 members volunteered their time at 26 local events. Here are some of the events Bearded Women Racing was at:
For the past 2 years, Bearded Women Racing marched in honor of fallen soldiers and their families at Carry the Load. Here’s recaps from 2013 and 2014.
Carry the Load is a non-profit organization helping people celebrate a meaningful Memorial Day by conducting a 20-hour event that honors veterans and active duty service members, law enforcement officers, firefighters and their families.
This was the first year the team participated in DORBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. Three trails celebrated TKMBD on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Bearded Women Racing (BWR) volunteered at two of those events: Horseshoe (Grapevine, TX), and the NW Community Trail (Frisco, TX).
Horseshoe jointly conducted a DORBA (dorba.org) Beginner’s Clinic on Saturday, and they drew a total of 44 adults and 10 kids to the event. Eight BWR members were on-hand to assist with set-up, the clinic, leading/sweeping rides, encouraging the kids, and grilling up some grub to wrap up the day’s festivities.
In Frisco, seven BWR members came out to help check fit on the kids’ bikes and helmets, change flats, lead/sweep rides and cheer the kids on. Frisco drew 15 smiling, happy kids to their event and many laps around the trail were taken by all.
This season, each member was challenged to complete at least 8 hours of trail work for the year. The team requires members to give back in various ways, and putting in trail time is one of the main activities we do. We had 36 members work a total of 462 trail hours at 17 different trails! We hope to double that amount next year.
We’ve been told that KIND is working on pairing their yummy, all natural, gluten free and non GMO healthy snacks with some choice local brews, so we say buy an Old Chub and grab a Strong and KIND for your next 100 miler! Here’s a bit more about KIND and their philosophy:
There’s healthy. There’s tasty. Then there’s healthy and tasty. At KIND, we believe you deserve both—we call it our brAND philosophy. That’s why you’ll find all of our snacks are pretty much the nirvana of healthful tastiness. What began with just 8 bar varieties in 2004 has grown to over 22 bars and 6 Healthy Grains snackable clusters, and a multitude of new recipes being perfected and refined to our standards in the KIND kitchen.
Look for KIND Healthy Snack samples at races and other events the team will be at for the 2015 season!
Christmas this season is going to be awesome for the Bearded Women Racing team! Our whips will be outfitted with the best gear on the market, and ESI Grips are definitely the best grips you can buy.
They’ve got their original, 100% silicone Chunky’s that absorb the shock, are light weight, and look great on any bike.
They also have tape and can custom any of their products for you to match! Here’s their story:
ESI is located in Southern California and prides itself on it’s products being made right here in the USA. Established in 1999 we have spent over a decade providing superior products for the bicycle industry. Through new product development, ESI offers unique, high tech, quality products MADE in the USA followed with exceptional Customer Service!
We’ve got beer and bikes, and we race a lot, so it’s only natural Ron Wadley Insurance is going to be there just in case we get our beards burned off, or ride off a cliff (he doesn’t do medical, it’s just an analogy)!
He’s already saved us Ladies hundreds of dollars off our auto, life, business, and home policies. Why are you still reading this? Get off your ass and call the man! Oh, and did you know he’s a long time single speed mtb racer? Now you know why we love him so much!
Up next in our new sponsor line up, we’re teaming up with the OakFit Community to teach our members physical fitness techniques to improve their riding and overall racing performance.
Here’s what they’re all about:
COMMUNITY ROOTED. RESULTS DRIVEN. At OakFIT, we deliver fast results with less injuries using periodization and evidence-based principles of strength and conditioning. Our mission is to safely and effectively introduce weightlifting and functional training to all levels of participants.
When you become a Member of OakFIT, you will be guided by coaches every step of the way to help you successfully reach whatever goals you set out for.
We do not offer a quick fix. Our Coaches and Members engage fitness and nutrition from a lifestyle perspective. I challenge you reach out to anyone in the OakFIT Community and ask them about their RESULTS.
We’re proud to announce a returning sponsor for 2017, Oskar Blues Brewery. What goes better with bicycles than anything else? Why yes, beer, of course!
Bearded Women Racing is continuing to partner with Oskar Blues Brewery out of Longmont, Colorado as our Post-Race Hydration Sponsor.
We’ll need to rehydrate our racers, and will certainly have some to share with the racing community.
Look for their beer in stores across the greater DFW area, and throughout Texas! Dale’s Pale Ale is one of the fastest selling craft beers in the country, along with their full line up of cans, you’re assured to find a tasty hop or two to wet your whistle for the post-ride shenanigans.
Four hardy souls left Farmersville, TX on Saturday, December 13th to ride a rare jewel in these parts of North Texas, the North East Texas Trail. After downing a couple of pastries brought on her own accord, Susie Bolton a huge NETT supporter, we headed off on the 75 mile expected journey to Paris.
We’ve highlighted the North East Texas Trail or NETT in the past when 4 of us decided to take part in Spinistry’s first Ride the NETT event in November of 2013. Back then something about the trail ignited a passion within us for it’s beauty, wildness, and potential economic impact it can have on the communities it’s 230 miles travel through.
We set a hardy 12 mile an hour pace for the first 20 – 30 miles which are very passable, locally groomed by either the city or passionate supporters and do gooders who see the positive things the trail can bring. In fact the majority of our ride from Farmersville to Pecan Gap is wide open.
Unlike a city trail, the NETT offers a large, diverse wild life population. Among the highlights we saw were a family of wild boar that we flushed out , and a local hunter had passed when we told him about them. We told him bring a buddy on a mountain bike the next time and he’d be sure to be successful! Speaking of hunters, we came upon 2 of them on the trail, as it’s hunting season. I wore a brightly colored vest to lead our group for safety reasons. They were very friendly and welcoming, but be sure to approach with sensitivity as they might be in the middle of a hunt! Another wildlife highlight we encountered were two coyote’s, on different occasions, ran out into the trail ahead of us as we rode. One stayed on the trail for several yards before bolting out of our way. They were both large animals, but we felt no threat what so ever. We were told that wild boar might present issues if cornered so be cautious.
Once we hit the highway just outside of Pecan Gap and crossed over to the field, we hacked through a downed tree past the open field in need of mowing.
Jim Overby, self appointed SAG for our ride, met us there with some ice cold Gatorade and Fig Newtons. We felt really good and had exceeded the estimated 10 mph goal pace we had set for ourselves. We planned to stay on the entire trail as best we could.
After taking a quick group pic, we left Jim and headed into the very short impassable section next to the road before it opens back up. We hacked for a couple hundred yards before Jim drove by and told us it got even worse several yards ahead, so we took his advice and got on the road to bypass that short portion. Once back on the trail, we rode it to the inevitable blocked hay bail portion of the trail. We had said to ourselves if time permitted, we’d try to hike-a-bike through this portion, however we heard the bails had been doubled up recently so we reluctantly took the bypass to Ben Franklin. One day I’ll see this section of the trail!
Going around and on the county road really is boring, especially on a mountain bike. I ride a 16t SS, rigid and like to keep it on dirt as much as possible. These bypasses are nice to have, however I’ll take a 2% grade and trailblazing any day of the week! We continued on the county road until we hit the center of Ben Franklin. We knew the trail ahead was going to be the most difficult, but what we found was even worse than it was on the 2013 NETT ride. One year ago, we all remember the bad ice storm that cancelled the 2013 Dallas marathon and covered a thick blanket of ice over the entire North Texas area. That storm caused millions of dollars in damage, and did a number on the trees along the NETT. We encountered so many downed trees, we lost count. Here’s a couple of videos of the impasses on this section between Ben Franklin and the Sulfur River.
The beating we took along this section definitely was making the journey more difficult. However what loomed large in the back of our minds was having to cross the Sulfur River bridge’s 10 foot gap on a narrow gauge steel beam while walking our bikes on an adjacent beam and in bicycle shoes! The drop is at least 60 feet, though it’s feels like a 1,000! Here’s a first hand look at the 2013 crossing during the Ride the NETT event:
The gap seems pedestrian compared to what we encountered when we came to the bridge. It had completely fallen into the river! Very, very unfortunate for NETT advocates.
gap in the middle of the bridge
West side of fallen bridge
Michael and Jonathan
Michael and Shane
So do Bearded Women turn back in the face of adversity? Uh, no, especially because we were NOT going to head back and face another lashing from all of the growth we just barreled through! We decide to choose 1 of 3 options, ride across the fields to the nearby county road, probably a good 3-4 mile bypass, ride the river basin, or find a reasonable place to climb up the east side. The first two options didn’t appeal to us because riding in a farm field is hard work as well as in the basin. Recent rains would make the journey even tougher. We were already tired from just getting to the bridge, so climbing up the other side seemed the quickest and easiest of options. We ended up riding down a really fun ATV cut track to the basin before having to stop and almost slide the last 10 feet of mud to the very bottom. We did investigate to see if the tressel would be a possible crossing point, but quickly discovered with muddy shoes and our gear it would be very danger to walk and not fall and break an ankle. Also, due to the tweerk of the east side of the bridge, we wouldn’t have a flat surface to walk on.
After ruling that out, we attempted to ride the basin’s shale and dirt surface, but clipping in proved futile when one would slip and almost rule out any future kids. We ended up walking to a shallow, short water crossing with a reasonable ledge to climb up onto. Climbing up was tedious, but very doable. Using the bicycle as a crutch, you simply pushed it and climbed up a narrow, natural drain that allowed the easiest passage. A quick hike back to the trail across a corn field and we were ready to break the mud off our bikes and shoes and get onto the trail. Here’s the sequence of pics showing our crossing:
The unexpected became the highlight of this amazing journey we took for the second time. It’s further ignited a desire to return in a few more weeks to do more trail work and ride into Paris and beyond like we had planned. If the NETT has taught us anything, is that it’s worth the blood, sweat and lashings we took to get to Roxton. Until next time….
Finishers from left to right: Jonathan Braddick, Michael Shannon, Shane Waldon
List past racing accomplishments in any sport you’ve competed in
National Track & Field Championships Winner (Bulgaria) as a junior (2006/2007 indoors and outdoors in decathlon)
Lone Star XC MTB Sansom CAT 3 (first race) – 3rd
Lone Star XC MTB Erwin CAT 3 – 2nd
Lone Star XC MTB RCP CAT 3 – 2nd
Lone Star XC MTB Big Ceder CAT 3 – 1st
Lone Star XC Overall CAT 3 – 1st
Smurfboy XC Endurance Race at River Legacy – 8th
Prayer Mountain XC at Big Ceder CAT 3 – 3rd
DORBA XC Fall Series at RCP CAT 2 – 2nd
DORBA XC Fall Series at Johnson Branch CAT 2- 3rd
What is your first memory of riding a bicycle?
Riding around the neighborhood with my BMX bike.
Why do you ride a bicycle?
To stay fit and to satisfy my competitive nature. To me, training is no fun unless there is a specific purpose behind it. Racing gives me that purpose.
…and, of course, because it’s fun to ride with cool people and explore new places.
What does Bearded Women mean to you?
A group of people that share the same interests as me… especially drinking a nice cold beer after a hard ride. 🙂