Cool Hand Luke Gravel Grinder 2016 ~ Gravel, Podiums, and Cows … Oh My!

The second edition of the Cool Hand Luke Gravel Grinder was different from last year’s wet and muddy event, but it was definitely not less challenging.  The challenges came in many forms: locked-up Garmins, quick starting pace, heat, high winds and technical sections on the course.

The start/finish location had a raging fire pit to welcome racers in the pre-dawn hour before the race.
The start/finish location had a raging fire pit to welcome racers in the pre-dawn hour before the race.
Roger Williams and Brendan Sheehan talking all things gravel prior to the race.
Roger Williams and Brendan Sheehan talking all things gravel prior to the race.

Joe Kleidosty faced all kinds of struggles during this event, including a bad Garmin file for the race course, which locked up his Garmin for the first 12.5 miles.  Other racers were also having issues with the Garmin file.  I guess you could say it was a failure to communicate, which seemed fitting for this gravel race (and yes, Kleidosty felt just like Cool Hand Luke after the Captain struck him in this video link).

Brendan Sheehan started the race with a neutral roll out behind his red pickup.  Kleidosty stayed directly behind the truck and when Sheehan took off, Kleidosty took off.  Within two miles, racers were upon the King of the Mountain climb, with some pitches over 16 percent. Kleidosty led the way onto the climb, when a cow suddenly darted across his path! Brian Jensen effortlessly made it to the top of the climb first, with Cody Jones and Kleidosty close behind.

Holy cow! Kleidosty directly behind the cow. Jensen would dart up the hill from the left and take the KOM in the race.
Holy cow! Kleidosty directly behind the cow. Jensen would dart up the hill from the left and take the KOM in the race. Photo credit: Roger Harrison

Jones made it up to Jensen. Ashton Lambie bridged up to that duo after another decent climb at the 4-mile mark.  At that point, Kleidosty was with Kurt McKinsey and another racer, chasing down the lead group.  They were keeping pace with the lead group, but lost the third person at the 16-mile mark.

Around the 80- to 85-mile mark, David Collins and Curt Shelman caught McKinsey and Kleidosty, setting a strong pace down River Road.  McKinsey latched onto them with ease, but Kleidosty was struggling to get back on with them, as the early race exertion had taken its toll.

Collins was on the front and missed a turn at the 93-mile mark, locking up his brakes. Kleidosty and McKinsey continued on and stayed together until the final climb around the 97-mile mark.

Kleidosty rolled in third overall and first in Masters 35+ category.

Kleidosty is smiling really big, elated to be finished with Cool Hand Luke 2016!
Kleidosty is smiling really big, elated to be finished with Cool Hand Luke 2016! Photo credit: Roger Harrison
Kleidosty's legs following the race - dust and sunscreen combine to make a darker shade of legs!
Kleidosty’s legs following the race – dust and sunscreen combine to make a darker shade of legs!

Greg Vaught returned to Cool Hand Luke to improve upon his showing last year, where he had to improvise and ride with a broken spoke and no rear brakes.

Vaught paced himself on the first portion of the race and bridged up to Roger Williams by the first checkpoint. They worked together until around the 91-mile mark, when Vaught rode away on a hill and just kept going. His efforts yielded him 10th overall and 2nd in Masters 50+!

Curt Shelman, Greg Vaught and Roger Williams on the Masters 50+ podium.
Curt Shelman, Greg Vaught and Roger Williams on the Masters 50+ podium.

Cody Jones experienced a mechanical just before the first checkpoint, causing a delay of more than an hour on his ride. He had a great race up to that point and chalked this one up to Dirty Kanza training!

Cody Jones looks like he's just out for a Sunday ride.
Cody Jones looks like he’s just out for a Sunday ride. Photo credit: Roger Harrison

Tim Herre came in just ahead of Jones, placing in the top 20!

Tim Herre finishing strong!
Tim Herre finishing strong! Photo credit: Roger Harrison

Kleidosty made it a point to thank Shelman for Chamois Butt’r’s sponsorship of Big D Cycling after the race. It sure came in handy on this ride!

Official times: Joe Kleidosty, 5:49:31; Greg Vaught, 6:20:32; Tim Herre, 6:48:23; and Cody Jones, 6:54:04.

One cow, two podiums and three in the top 20: quite a day for Keen Wealth Advisors’ Big D Cycling team!

 

Big D Cycling Gets Its Gravel On at Gravelleurs Raid and Gravel Grinder 2016!

Big D Cycling, fresh off being named 2015 Masters Club of the Year by USA Cycling and following 2015 Kansas Best All-Around Team titles in Men’s Masters Road and Cyclocross, is making a strong push into gravel racing in 2016. The team is strong across several age groups and also in the Fat Bike/Mountain Bike category.

Promoter Roger Williams gave the team its first local opportunity to race gravel with his 2nd annual Gravelleurs Raid and Gravel Grinder.  The first edition of this race was delayed by rain in 2015. The 2016 edition was met with below average temperatures and some brisk winds that would play a factor with this year’s race.

As racers lined up for the start, the temperature was in the low- to mid-30s. After the neutral roll out on the levee trail, the Tradewind Team, including Steve Tilford and last year’s winner, Brian Jensen, set a brisk pace that had it strung out in cross winds. After a while, racers were dropping off the back.  Aaron Sims went through a huge pothole, dropping back while looking at his bike. Another Tradewind rider dropped a bottle ~ yep, pretty rough roads to begin a race!

About six miles into the race was the first major climb, causing immediate separation among the racers. Another five miles into the race was the King of the Mountain climb, steep enough to cause many of the Grinders (50-mile racers) to walk up the climb. It was at this point that the lead group and chase group were formed. The pace was above 20 mph in the first 20 miles of the race.

Kleidosty, left forefront, with Jones over his right shoulder. Jensen, Tilford and Lambie off the front. Tilford won the KOM climb competition.
Kleidosty, left forefront, with Jones over his right shoulder. Jensen, Tilford and Lambie off the front. Tilford won the KOM climb competition. Photo credit: Andy White

Tilford, Jensen and Ashton Lambie were in the lead group. Joe Kleidosty and David Neidinger bridged up to the lead group around mile 16, but were subsequently dropped within a mile when Jensen decided he did not want to get to know these riders at all!

A chase group of five was formed, including Kleidosty, Neidinger, Kurt McKinsey, Mark Smelser and Jason Laidlaw.  Cody Jones eventually made it up to the group, only to get dropped again when he had to take a nature break before the 55-mile neutral SAG.

The chase group made quick business at the SAG and took off ahead of Jones. Jones eventually made it back to the chase group, though.  After some good work together after the SAG, McKinsey made a move to get clear of the group. Jones immediately recognized this as an opportunity, and bridged up to McKinsey in no time.

Kleidosty waited for a good moment to get clear of the chase group, as well. Smelser stayed with Kleidosty for a while, but could not match the pace, allowing Kleidosty to bridge up to McKinsey solo. By the time Kleidosty made it up to McKinsey, Jones already dropped McKinsey and was drilling it to the finish line.

With no chasers in sight, Kleidosty rode with McKinsey, not doing any work. It was difficult to see who was racing 50 miles or 102 miles. The final climb on the course was a challenging one, especially after 95 miles of racing! Kleidosty paced himself up it, looked back and McKinsey was not in sight.

Thinking the last six miles, on flat roads, would be easy was a misjudgement on Kleidosty’s part.  The winds had picked up, and they were a mix of head and crosswinds. Not knowing if McKinsey, Smelser or Neidinger were chasing him, Kleidosty kept the pace up until the finish line.

After the gravel dust had settled, it was learned that Lambie was also dropped fairly early in the race, so he was working by himself for much of the race. Jones was able to work his way up and past Lambie to secure 3rd overall (2nd in 30-39 age group), behind Jensen and Tilford, 1st and 2nd, respectively.  Kleidosty crossed the line 5th overall, 1st in the 40-49 age group. Jensen and Tilford finished approximately 23 minutes ahead of Jones, with Kleidosty three and half minutes behind Lambie and five minutes behind Jones.

Jones on the podium with Jensen and Tilford, a proud moment for this young racer! Photo credit: Roger Williams

Jones on the podium with Jensen and Tilford, a proud moment for this young racer! Photo credit: Jason Ebberts of TBL Photography

Reinaldo Barrera and Alvaro Gamarra rode fatbikes to 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in that category.  This is a challenging course with approximately 6000 feet of climbing, so to complete that on a fatbike is no easy task!

Barrera and Gamarra, 2nd and 3rd respectively, in the fatbike category!
Barrera, right, and Gamarra, left, 2nd and 3rd respectively, in the fatbike category! Photo credit: Roger Williams – many people were turned away from this race, because the fields were limited – another good reason to not procrastinate!

John Field (13th in 50+) and Tim Herre (7th in 30-39 age group) also finished the race with great times, where several DNFs were recorded.

Keen Wealth Advisors knows how to guide its clients through rocky times, so it’s not much of a surprise to see Big D Cycling doing so well on gravel roads!

Click the links on racer’s names to see them in action on the course, with excellent photos by Jason Ebberts of TBL Photography.

Special thanks to Roger Williams and his volunteers for putting on a great event in 2016. Word to the wise: don’t delay in registering for this event next year … fields are limited to maintain a high quality event!

USA Cycling Names Big D Cycling as 2015 Masters Club of the Year!

Big D Cycling team getting ready for another training ride in Scottsdale, AZ.
Big D Cycling team getting ready for another training ride in Scottsdale, AZ.

USA Cycling recently named Big D Cycling as 2015 Masters Club of the Year! Read all about it here.

It’s a great way to cap off an eventful year where our Men’s Masters team has won the Kansas Cycling Association’s team competitions in Road and Cyclocross!

Much of the Big D Cycling team gather to celebrate JT's birthday! Johnny's Birthday Ride!
Many of the Big D Cycling team gather to celebrate JT’s birthday! Johnny’s Birthday Ride!

Many thanks to our great title sponsor Keen Wealth Advisors for their tremendous support of our team and also for their sponsorship of junior and youth racing fees, which is helping to grow competitive cycling in our area.

If you are interested in joining a competitive cycling team and would like to have fun while learning various race tactics, contact us!

Big D Cycling Earns Masters Men’s Titles in 2015 Road and Cyclocross … and Has Fun Doing It!

Cyclocross season is almost over, and it will soon lead into those glorious winter training months! Randy Braley, a member of our team and owner of Randy Braley Photography, took some great video of one of our summer training rides earlier this year.  If you want to race competitively and have fun doing it, contact us!

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s a great time to give thanks to all of our great sponsors! Keen Wealth Advisors for sound financial and retirement planning, BikeSource for great service and bikes, Chamois Butt’r for comfortable riding, Dan Ruettimann Photography for excellent race action photography, Team Dalton Plumbing for keeping it flowing, The Whale Spout Car Wash for clean cars, Swanson’s Dog Park and Daycare for keeping dogs from chasing us down, and Dental Health by Herre for keeping our teeth pearly white!

Happy Holidays!

Big D Cycling Upsets 360 Racing in the KBCXT Masters!

Yes, it is true.

Big D Cycling Men’s Masters team, sponsored by Keen Wealth Advisors, defeated our worthy opponents at their own game and on their own course. Heading into the last KBCXR series race of the year, we were just a few points ahead of 360 Racing. We knew that they were on “all hands on deck” alert, so we needed to bring our “A” game.

Big D’ers responded to the challenge with great efforts by Paul Aldeguer, Shane Jones, Steve VanNieuwenhuyse, Jim Clevenger, Paul Fancher, Chip Zimmer, Reg Robertson and Bill Jennings. Congratulations gentlemen ~ it was a true team effort!

Big D Cycling now has Men’s Masters team titles for Road and Cyclocross in 2015!

In a possibly more surprising occurrence, the Big D Cycling’s Men’s Category team finished a strong 2nd place in the Men’s KBCXT, with outstanding results all season from Tim Herre, Nick Comiskey, Steve VanNieuwenhuyse and Cody Jones.

Big D Individual Top Ten KBCXR Results

Category 1/2

  1. Tim Herre

Category 3

  1. Nick Comiskey
Nick Comiskey with a Wheelsucker lingering behind.
Nick Comiskey with a Wheelsucker lingering behind.

Men’s Category 4

  1. Steve VanNieuwenhuyse

5.  Cody Jones

Steve VanNieuwenhuyse has a very long last name.
Steve Van Nieuwenhuyse has a very long … last name.

Women’s Category  4

2. Amy VanNieuwenhuyse

Amy Van doing her thing.
Amy Van doing her thing.

Men’s Masters 40+

  1. Paul Aldeguer
Paul Aldeguer working the field over.
Paul Aldeguer working the field over … with his beast mode face.

Men’s Masters 50+

  1. Jim Clevenger

4.   Chip Zimmer

5.   Paul Fancher

8.   Greg Vaught

Jim Clevenger leading the Big D train ~ Shane Jones and Paul Fancher close behind.
Jim Clevenger leading the Big D train ~ Shane Jones and Paul Fancher close behind.

Men’s Master 65+

  1. Reg Robertson
  2. Bill Jennings

Juniors

  1. Nigel Vaught

9.   Peter Whalen

10.  Chris Braley

Peter Whalen racing in the drops!
Peter Whalen racing in the drops!

I hope everyone knows that Keen Wealth Advisors not only sponsors our team, but also sponsors race fees for all juniors. Our powerhouse trio of Juniors (Vaught, Whalen and Braley) responded with great results, steady improvement and all with a smile on their faces!

If there was a total team competition for cyclocross, it would have been dominated by the cross studs known as Big D Cycling, sponsored by Keen Wealth Advisors. Special thanks to Greg Vaught and Steve VanNieuwenhuyse. Greg gave us full access to his own personal cyclocross course and then worked to maintain it. He also lugged around our tent to most of the races! Steve ~ for his tireless efforts on setting up for our weekly cyclocross practice course and his work maintaining it.

Roger Harrison of Lanterne Rouge shot all of these great action photos – see more of his work on flickr.