Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Post: Shake n Brake 2017 Race Report

Good writing from local rider Evan Koch below. Enjoy.


In April, we’re lucky enough to have two races in the Talladega National Forest – Southern Fried Ride’s Skyway Epic and Chain Buster Racing’s Shake n’ Brake. Both are beautiful races and are in different sections on the TNF (unless you’re an overachiever and did the Skyway 200, in which case you went through all of TNF). The park is beautiful and I really should spend more time there. I believe Eddie Freyer said they had 40 miles of multiuse trails close to the Warden Station where we started the race.
One thing to point out for those that don’t know me – I’m a race rider, not a race racer. I read someone else’s race report (I think it was from Oak Ass 2015) and thought it was a good distinction.
For this race, I took Revelate Design’s new Mag-Tank cockpit bag. Shoved some Gu, a set of tire levers, a pair of pliers, a spoke wrench, and two FiberFix spoke replacement kits in the Mag-Tank. This bag was a bit larger than the zippered bag I normally use and the magnetic enclosure worked really well. The magnet takes care of closing the bag when you’re done. This was my first race without a backpack - I’m trying to move away from my safety blanket of having tons of water and gear in my Osprey bag. In the back jersey pockets I stored a hand pump with some duct tape (to secure broken spokes) and a spare tube, and on the frame my Z cages had a multi-tool and another tube beneath the water bottles.
As usual, I started in the back of the pack. Since I’m not a competitor, I’d rather not have to fight it out in the starting lineup. I guess people learned from last year, because I didn’t see nearly as many people with flats in the northern loop. The views on the first 10 miles I think are some of the best in the race. Last year one of the CX riders had 2-3 flats in the first ten miles and ran out of tubes. I also came across two guys who were riding a tandem mountain bike and let them use my multi-tool to tighten up their handle bars.
Later on in the race I came across a rider from Gadsden Outfitters who was changing out a tube. I offered to let him use my tire levers, as he only had one, and my hand pump so he could save his CO2 cartridge for later. While replacing the tire, we discussed what an amazing athlete Randy Kerr, one of his team mates from Gadsden Outfitters, was. A few racers passed us as we chatted, and then the sweeper caught up to us. Turns out his spare tube also had a puncture, so I bid him farewell as he was loading his bike into the sweeper’s truck. I caught up to some of the people that passed me and finished out the race.

Knowing that the post-race food was from Moe’s BBQ and that not jiving with my diet, I packed four almond butter sandwiches in the car. The drive from the race to Heflin was 25 minutes, and those sandwiches were gone before I made it to I-20. Lesson learned – next year, make five or six. Definitely looking forward to next year’s race, might even do some real training between now and then.

No comments:

Post a Comment