2014 Bakers Dozen Mt. Bike Race
Keeping It Fast and Fun - by JB
The last couple years Gripped had focused on Battenkill but 2014 saw us return to this classic race. Too often we get caught up in focusing on the win yet at this year’s Duz we kept things fun and simple – camping out with good friends, cooking up good food, drinking some great beer and turning some fast laps. Speaking of fast laps…
Walk in the front door to VW / Audi headquarters and behold…
On the way out to the farm I stopped into VW headquarters for a quick meeting regarding Racedots. It was hard not to be distracted by the Le Mans Audi sitting in the showroom. It had more carbon then Freshbikes and looked like a small fighter jet. After another quick stop at Lindsay VW for a wheel upgrade to our new team car I was off to stake a claim at the final turn before the woods where Gripped has set up 5x previously. We scored our favorite spot and settled in. Early to join was Matt Lee just back from Battenkill in his new silver VW Jetta TDI Sportwagon, bringing the team up to 3 VWs.
TDI Sport Wagon, the car of cyclists
Saturday morning was brisk, having dropped into the 40’s at night. We woke to a heavy dew and fog but sunshine peeking though.
Dawn of a perfect day to race
We suited up and got ready to race. In years past Gripped was always a threat for the win and while Kevin Carter had his sights on the Solo victory, the rest of the team had a different mindset – to just have some fun with it.
Kevin ready for 13 hours of racing
Bakers Dozen always sells out creating a massive field of racers
The inevitable bottleneck heading into the woods
After the brutal winter we all endured, few of us felt ready to tear out 36:00 minute laps for the next 13 hours so no one lost their cool when, after starting the relay race for JB/Harris/Matt, Matt ripped his derailleur from his bike forcing him to run half the course. We still gave it gas each lap but there was no pressure to win from that point on.
Rob comes in hot while Matt finishes about 4 miles of running with his broken bike
Not the best way to start a 13 hour race
Behold, a $200 repair from an overly aggressive stick
Melanie and Steph discussing how many laps they did and did not want to do
We had plenty of speed-inducing juice shots on hand thanks to our sponsor, Beet-It
A race is never the first time you want to ride a new bike but I had no choice having left my shoes home the day before. With a mechanic like Harris of Trifecta Tune I had nothing to really worry about anyway.
After a year off to climb the corporate ladder, Vas returned to racing with a new and improved game face
Half the fun is getting to see friends from other teams racing by, like John Kromis of Wicked Wash Racing
The best teams have the best support crews. BBQ anyone?
Never underestimate the importance of a comfy saddle for long races. Huge thanks to Selle SMP / Albacini for their support (literally).
First race of the season and the butterflies were back
Steph just back from Vanderkitten Training Camp in San Fran
Alex Manente took the day off from working to work for us, not only to fine tune our bikes each lap but to help man the grill. #multitasker
Another multi-tasker Jason Harris on deck to take a lap or tune a bike or marinade the bbq – all of the above.
Twingo had to work and could not race but still came out to support us – and brought a gas grill!
Tasted as good as it looks
A good luck kiss for Vas from Martha
Matt Lee (recovering between laps) would go on to log more laps than Harris or JB
No embro needed but Mad Alchemy was still there with us
Rob was acting strange and elevating his hand. Then we saw why…
A Bakers Sized blister for Rob
Manente served up some fantastic steak
Our day began to wind down as the welcoming atmosphere became harder to leave each lap
Larry Miller came by to hang out for a bit
Kevin pulled the plug having fought stomach issues all day. Here he tries to get some food in while Vas gets ready for another lap.
Melanie outlasted her husband and kept smiling all day
The always smiling Mike D joined Vas and Rob for 3-man
Erik got to take a lap and earn some turkey
Vas came in hot and then …
Harris changed clothes, donned lights and went out saying “I’ve still got plenty of energy left” …
Light & Motion, keeping Gripped Racing lit up for 7 years now!
National Ultra Endurance Series Champion Cheryl Sorenson flies past
When you hear someone say, “I bonked, hard” this is what it looks like. Jason Harris, officially cooked.
Matt Lee is in awe of how fast Scott Stahl gets the relay handoff
Teams continued to race until 10pm at which point Gripped Racing was enjoying the bonfire and music … and Dogfish Head beer!