Nigel is just 14 years old, but he is already a kid of many talents. He plays Black Sabbath on guitar. He is a master chicken handler, able to chase down chickens with ease, which, as it turns out, is a great cyclocross workout. Ironically, he also chases down Steve Van Nieuwenhuyse on the cyclocross course, who also has legs very similar to the Wyandotte chickens that Nigel helps to raise.
With all of Nigel’s talents and interests, he was late to start racing in the Erik’s Wednesday Night Worlds presented by Chamois Butt’r (WNW) criterium series promoted by Revolution Racing, LLC. He missed the first several races and had to play a little catch up. He made quick work of it though, winning the first B category (category 4 and 5 racers) race he entered!
As the series progressed, Nigel won a second race, tying up with Justin Heizer for the lead in category B wins. With two races still to go, Nigel was looking to take the lead, but had an untimely flat in a corner and crashed out. He placed second in the second to last race, needing to win his final race to secure the win and earn the Wednesday Night Worlds leader jersey for good.
The pressure was on, but Nigel rose to the challenge in the final week of racing. In the final corner of the last race, he took an inside line and opened up his sprint, with no one able to come around him. He was really motivated to get the win, not only to become champ, but he also wanted to end his summer with a win and on a high note, having to attend the first day of 9th grade the very next day.
He’s looking forward to wearing his WNW leader jersey on Wednesday nights, as he practices cyclocross on his personal course at the Vaught compound, chasing Stevie Van and his chicken legs with glee.
The week-out forecast for Dirty Kanza was not looking very promising. For a change, though, luck was on the cyclists’ side in 2017, and the course, weather and conditions were perfect for a gravel ride through the beautiful Flint Hills.
Tim Herre and Nigel Vaught rolled through the finish line first and second on the 50-mile course. Joe Kleidosty and Greg Vaught rode the entire 206-mile course together, helping each other along the way, to Beat the Sun at Dirty Kanza, in Greg’s first DK ride and in Joe’s second attempt at the 200-mile course. This was Greg’s longest ride on a bike! Much to Joe’s surprise, it was his longest pull for Greg to-date, as well.
Sam Hess tackled the 50-mile course this year, after unsuccessfully completing the 100-mile muddy course in 2015. Here’s his account of his day on the bike:
Growing up just west of the Flint Hills, I thought I knew what to expect; I had ridden lease roads and cow paths in my teens. Boy, was I wrong. My first attempt at the Dirty Kanza was in 2015. Let me stress “attempt”. I figured I could just go out and do the DK 100 without much, if any, training on actual gravel. Before we reached the cattle pens, I found a blacktop road, bailed and headed back to Emporia; I had already carried my bike 6 or 7 miles due to the monsoon the days and night before … mud was everywhere.
Fast forward to 2017, with Joe and Greg talking gravel and taking a serious attempt at beating the sun in the DK200, I thought what the heck, I could do the DK50 with Nigel. So, I signed up again and took a more serious approach to my training (I rode gravel in south Johnson county 8 to 10 times before the DK and considered myself prepared). My goal was to not lose Nigel (Greg, or more likely Denise, Nigel’s mom, would kill me) and try and accomplish the 50 miles in under 3 hours.
The weather could not have been more perfect. At starting time, it was about 64 degrees with an expected high for the day of about 80 and a mild south east wind of only 4 MPH. It was a perfect day. The gravel roads were dry-packed from the early spring rains. Jim Cummins, Dirty Kanza co-founder and gravel expert (and high school buddy), stated at the start that the roads were perfect. They are called “Hero Roads”, meaning fast, cautioning all the riders not to get too carried away early on and burn all your matches.
I did not accomplish either of my goals. By mile 8, Nigel took off and all I saw was his orange helmet in the distance. I also didn’t quite make the under 3-hour time frame I set for myself. Nigel finished second, just behind and with Tim Herre, at just under the 3-hour mark. Their time was 2:59.26, an incredible feat for a 14-year-old (congratulations to Tim also). Enjoying the ride, I finished not too far back, tied for 7th place out of 289 cyclists @ 3:06.18.
It was an “awesome” day of riding. I believe both Nigel and I are looking forward to the DK 100 next year. I hope to see to more Big D teammates out there next year!
Jay Raupp conquered the 100-mile course, while at the same time completing his longest gravel ride to-date and also completing his first ever organized gravel ride! Here is Jay’s account of his day riding through the Flint Hills:
Dirty Kanza has an aura you can feel at the start. It has the inspiring Flint Hills, with its green scenery and vistas that you can never see from a drive on I-35. It has gravel roads you can fly on with your new 38 gravel tires, and also low maintenance roads that bring your cyclocross experience to play. This year had perfect, dry, windless weather and none of the legendary long walk toting the bike through mud, nor the derailleur-snapping, ‘peanutbutter splatter’ that first timers like me feared. It did have a half dozen creek crossings which were new to me, so I just did what the riders ahead did, which was go right on through and hope for no rocks.
One rider I met had hit a rock and flipped and got a gash from it. Another rider had flipped on the wooden bridge the map identified as unsafe – yes it was. I learned to identify surprise bumps and holes that lay ahead by noticing how many water bottles were already in the road. I wondered how anyone would ride on after losing their drinks. The best rides are shared with teammates and so it was this day, as I joined in the last quarter of the ride with Alvaro Gamarra, Reinaldo Barrera, and Christian Vila. Two were on mountain bikes, making quick work of the bad roads but still rolling very quickly on the gravel. I was getting lost, so might still be out there without them to ride with, and we finished together at 6hr 41min, a bit under 15mph. Thanks, guys! Also thank you to the Never Let Go Fund, who was my support team on the course.
Special thanks to our title sponsor, Keen Wealth Advisors, for their tremendous support of our team.
Chris Braley, at the ripe age of 10 years, came out strong last weekend to start off his cyclocross season. Saturday’s Colavita Cup had a packed field of nineteen, 9-11 year old racers. It was a fast course, with very little climbing. He finished the day in 3rd Place.
Sunday’s Boulevard Cup would prove to be more challenging with the race being 30-minutes and a hillier section added to the course. With another packed field, Chris jumped out with a strong start and kept the number two rider in his sights, hoping to have another shot at the podium. Even after dropping his chain on the last lap, he made one final push and finished the race in second place.
Switching gears ~ Giddy up, Ponies! The Vaughts headed to Louisville!
Greg and Nigel Vaught headed east to Louisville in the first weekend of November for the Derby City Cup. Greg wanted to get Nigel some more experience with racing in a larger field. What Greg was not interested in was getting hit from behind, snapping his rear derailleur hanger on Saturday and destroying a wheel in his Sunday race!
Watching his son Nigel helped ease the misfortune he experienced in his races, though. Nigel had commanding leads in both his races at Derby City Cup, but some miscalculations and some difficulties with the course dropped him from the top step. Even with some mistakes made, he finished on the podium each day.
Keen Wealth Advisors has been a major supporter of junior racing since it became the title sponsor of Big D Cycling. We can’t thank them enough for helping to grow our sport and to encourage young boys and girls to stay active and have fun doing it!
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!
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 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
Men’s Category 4
5. Cody Jones
Women’s Category 4
2. Amy VanNieuwenhuyse
Men’s Masters 40+
Men’s Masters 50+
4. Chip Zimmer
5. Paul Fancher
8. Greg Vaught
Men’s Master 65+
9. Peter Whalen
10. Chris Braley
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.
Official Website of the Big D Cycling Team Presented by Keen Wealth Advisors