Randy Braley headed west to Wilson State Park, with his recently-built, custom Oddity singlespeed mountain bike, to compete in the 2015 Kansas Fat Tire Festival on May 3. The Switchgrass Mountain Bike Trail is a hidden gem, being listed as an Epics trail with the International Mountain Bicycling Association. This was Braley’s first mountain bike race and would prove to be a solid test for him, physically and mentally. While we have had mild temps to start the Spring season, early summer temps decided to arrive just in time for this race, taking its toll on several racers, reaching a balmy 90 degrees.
The Category 3 course, while posted as a 13-mile course, ended up being 16 miles, with just over 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Braley settled into a nice rhythm on the first third of the course and was feeling good, hanging with the main group. During the middle third of the race, the course became more technical, and the racers started to spread out.
The sandy conditions contributed to Randy getting up close and personal with Mother Earth on three separate occasions. He recovered quickly and continued to leap frog back and forth with several racers as the heat and sun started to take its toll. The final third of the race didn’t ease up, with an abundance of punchy, technical climbs. At this point, Braley went to his “happy” place and pushed through to a fourth place finish in the Men’s 35+ category.
Braley wanted to send special thanks to Bollé Cycling Eyewear for providing premium protection in the mostly sunny conditions. Could you spot the new Keen Wealth Advisors kit in the photo? Find Rando!!