Joe Kleidosty bought his first gravel bike in December 2015, after rolling over many gravel miles with his mountain bike, with the intent of shifting focus to gravel in 2016.
Kleidosty jumped at the opportunity to register for Gravel Ride for Maisie’s Pride, as he had ridden gravel in Eskridge, KS, before at the Just Another Gravel Grinder Race on Halloween 2015. Promoter Ryan Dudley does these events to support the Maisie Community Pool in Eskridge, named after longtime resident Maisie DeVore.
Wow! What a story! Check out this video on Maisie – many lessons can be learned in this short video. Kleidosty even recognized that a section of K4 Highway leading into Eskridge was named Maisie DeVore Highway.
Many lessons were learned during the gravel ride, as well!
Kleidosty did not have any plans to suffer like he did at Cool Hand Luke Gravel Grinder. He wanted to be free from cramps and just try to settle in with a fast group and get some good race preparation in for Dirty Kanza.
Within four miles, the riders turned onto a low maintenance road with tire ruts that must have been 12 inches deep or more. Many riders were falling, crashing or getting flats on these ruts, which caused some separation early in the ride.
Kleidosty settled into a good rhythm, keeping the lead group in sight, like a dangling carrot. He caught the breakaway around mile 22 and was able to settle in, finally!
After a few more miles clicked away and more hills ate away at riders’ legs, the lead group was whittled down to five riders ~ Ashton Lambie, Evan Fast, Trey Harrison, Bob Cummings and Kleidosty.
Cummings suffered a rear puncture before the 52-mile SAG, likely around the 35-mile mark. Many sections of the first 52 miles had some very technical sections on them. Playing it safe, Kleidosty was dropped a bit before the SAG, but he still managed to roll out with Harrison and Fast. Lambie was in and out quickly and rode the last half of the ride solo, winning the overall.
Fast, Harrison and Kleidosty worked together, until Fast suffered rear wheel damage on a rocky descent. Then, Harrison and Kleidosty settled in to finish the last 40 or so miles together. Garmin was showing temperatures hitting close to 95 degrees. The heat was definitely having some effect on riders, as Harrison was suffering from some cramps around the 75-mile mark.
Kleidosty was able to stave off any cramping and kept riding solo, into warm headwinds, for the most part, until the finish, earning 2nd overall and 1st in his 40-49 age group.
It was definitely a great training ride with Chamois Butt’r’s rider Trey Harrison, who won the VeloTek Grand Prix last weekend. If you find your personal finance or investment plan in a rut, contact Bill Keen with Keen Wealth Advisors.
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The forecast was looking like a repeat of last year’s VeloTek Grand Prix ~ rain, lightning and thunder for the time trial! Luckily, it was just raining and wet for the .7-mile uphill time trial, helping us to avoid the 2 hour and 15 minute delay we experienced in 2015. The skies actually cleared as the riders in the Men’s 1/2 category took to the line – check out Kent Woermann’s onboard footage here, with an official time of 2:20.26, to put our times in perspective.
Paul Aldeguer posted a time of 2:26.81, with Joe Kleidosty close behind with a time of 2:28.40, placing them 4th and 5th in the General Classification in Men’s 40+ 1/2/3.
Cody Jones had the fastest time in Men’s Cat 4, putting down a time of 2:22.00. Chip Zimmer placed a very respectable time of 2:42.21, giving him 4th in the GC, with Leo Simbaqueva close behind in 5th in the Men’s 40+ 4/5 category.
Kathy Johnson got her toes wet in the biggest stage race in Kansas, literally, posting a time in the TT that would put her 8th in her Women’s Cat 4 GC.
With the winds picking up and skies clearing momentarily, the crit course at Clinton Lake was drying off. The excellent volunteers at this event worked hard to clear big puddles off the course for the first crits of the day.
In the Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 category, Aldeguer and Kleidosty were able to maintain 5th and 6th position after the criterium, when Paul Bonds leapfrogged up to 1st place.
The only other noteworthy event was Cody Jones working hard to protect his leader position in Men’s Cat 4. He was in excellent position for most of the race and also won the prime sprint, earning 3 bonus seconds.
Towards the end of the race, though, he was out of position. In an attempt to move up, wheels were crossed and a crash occurrred. Jones suffered severe road rash, but he fought through it to finish the road race the following day! Since the crash occurred close to the finish, those involved with the crash were given the same time as the lead finishers. With the finish bonus seconds, though, Jones moved down to 2nd place, down 7 seconds.
Zimmer, Simbaqueva and Ben Christian got gapped in the final lap of the criterium, each losing 3 seconds on the GC. Zimmer was still in 5th place, though, following the criterium.
The stage race finished on Sunday with a 28-mile road race for the Women’s Cat 4, Juniors, and Men’s 40+ 4/5 fields, and with a 56-mile road race for Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 field.
The biggest GC shakeup occurred in the Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 race, where Aldeguer, Kleidosty, Greg Vaught, Jim Clevenger and Raupp truly worked as a team. Going into the race, the plan was to try to move Aldeguer higher in the GC. As always, things don’t always go according to plan in a race, so adapt we must, hmmm.
Raupp was near the front of the race in the first few miles, giving some protection to Kleidosty early on. Clevenger had a mechanical within a few miles, but caught up with Raupp and worked with him for a bit to try to get him pulled up to the peloton.
The race started out fast with several attacks occurring. Kleidosty covered the attacks and started attacks, while never able to get sight of Aldeguer during the race. Around the 18-mile mark, Kleidosty rolled off the front again on a 3% grade. Around this time, Vaught found his legs, rolled past Kleidosty and yelled, “Sit in.”
When Vaught moved up to the front, he advised Aldeguer to follow him, but Aldeguer sat back, thinking Rick Moseley and Paul Bonds, the GC leaders, were marking him. It was hard for Aldeguer to do, but his decision likely helped the winning breakaway to form.
Within a mile, around 19-mile mark, a couple OKC Velo racers rolled by, and Kleidosty yelled at Vaught, “Go! Go! Go!” Vaught jumped out of his saddle and looked like he just got tased. At this point, the breakaway was descending at a high rate. After a series of hills, a breakaway of five was formed, which included Kleidosty, Chris Johnson, Bruce Tanner, Trey Harrison and Peter Erdoes.
The breakaway of five would stay together until the 52-mile mark, when Tanner and Johnson were dropped on a long, punchy climb. Kleidosty earned a couple bonus seconds, getting 2nd in the prime lap of the road race. Kleidosty also got 2nd on the final lap, earning another six bonus seconds. This put him at 2nd overall in the GC.
The breakaway put more than four minutes on the chase group and more than seven minutes on the group after that, which did a complete change of the GC.
Zimmer did a lot of work in his road race, but was unable to maintain his 5th place in the GC. He, however, performed well in all stages, earning 6th overall, just behind Simbaqueva, who earned 5th overall in Men’s 40+ 4/5. Christian enjoyed the stage race and gained valuable experience in the process.
Kathy Johnson had a great time in her first stage race and learned how to do an uphill time trial!
Jones showed pure grit and determination in his road race, earning a bonus second while getting 3rd on the prime lap. He also got 2nd on the road race, earning another 6 bonus seconds. It was not enough to win the Men’s Cat 4 overall, but he earned a solid 2nd place!
Nigel Vaught faced some tougher competition in this stage race, but performed admirably in all stages, even winning the criterium race! His performance in all stages earned him 2nd overall in his GC!
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.
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.
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.
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+!
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!
Tim Herre came in just ahead of Jones, placing in the top 20!
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.
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.
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: 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!
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!
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!