April 14, 2014

Baker's Dozen 13 Hour Relay Race - 2014 Race Report

Date: April 12, 2014
Race: 8th Annual Leesburg Baker's Dozen 13 hour relay
Location: Leesburg, VA
Conditions: Summer-like, with some slippery mud to start the day, ending in fast and packed conditions (with dust even starting up) later as the day went on
Riders: Jeff & Zack

I had been dreading going to the Baker's Dozen this year, only because I thought I'd have to race solo. My long-time teammate for this race, Terri, had broken her foot and it wasn't going to be well enough to race on our normal 2-person co-ed team.  We couldn't find a replacement rider and I'd resigned myself to riding for 13 hours on my own.  Luckily, Zack heard I was looking for a teammate and signed on with me to race a 2-man team, less than 15 hours before the race start.

The Baker's Dozen is held on private property in Leesburg, VA that overlooks the Potomac River. Normally, it's a cow farm, but the owners of the Plum Grove Bike Shop built miles of singletrack and the farm is open for mountain bikes once a year for the race.

The trail weaves through various rock-outcrops
The trail is a lot of fun.

Photo Credit - Nathan Smith - https://www.flickr.com/photos/37554200@N03/sets/72157643902124755/ 
It's almost all singletrack weaving in and out of stands of pines, over rocks, through fields, across roots and through the main camping area twice.  It makes for a fun day.  Especially when the weather is nice, like this year's edition.

We camped with the Juggernaut ESF crew, who brought their own shade-support:

Zack and I agreed to use the race for training purposes as this past winter had been bad for both of us for getting out on the trails, or outdoors for any reason.

With 278 riders on the start line (almost 600 people were racing on either solo, 2 person or 3 person teams) for the 9;00am start, it was important to get a good start so we wouldn't be caught in traffic and have to walk after trail dipped into the singletrack and passing opportunities were limited.

I got a good start and decided not to lead going into the trail, giving up the lead to two other riders.

Photo Credit - Marco DeMartin - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lts3mj9wqks4gnt/p78wSH3RZk

Matt Lough of Juggernaut fame slotted in behind me, and the four of us started to put time on the chasing pack of 274 riders.

We had a good gap until a moment of inattention for me and I ended up sliding out on a slippery, off-camber turn.  I lost some time after shaking myself off and getting my foot untangled from my front wheel and by the end of the 35 minute lap, I was down about 20 seconds from first and second.  I rode out for my second lap and chased down the two leaders, finishing with them after handing off the baton for Zack to take over duties.

Zack took off on the maiden voyage of his Spark 700 RC.  It was also his first time racing on 27.5 wheels.

Photo Credit - Gary Ryan - http://toofattorace.smugmug.com/Sports/2014-Leesburg-Bakers-Dozen-Rac/ 
The non-reinforced sidewalls on the stock tires didn't fare well on the rocks and he limped back home after a lap with a slow leaking tire.

Photo Credit - Gary Ryan - http://toofattorace.smugmug.com/Sports/2014-Leesburg-Bakers-Dozen-Rac/ 
I headed back out for some more laps while Zack put on a new tire (which also developed a slow leak later in the day after a hard hit off a large rock drop).

There are some good log pile ride-overs and rock drops on the course
The race is a lot of fun early in the day when your legs are still fresh and pedaling through the singletrack feels effortless.

About 10 hours into the race and 6 hours of ride time behind me, my legs were fairly cooked and I bonked hard on the last lap before nightfall.  My heart rate, which had been around 165-170 for most of the race, barely climbed above 120.

Lots of riders all over the course all day
I finished up my lap, handed off to Zack, and proceeded to drink a lot of caffeine, eat a lot of carbs (sugar) and rest up for my last lap in the dark.

Photo Credit - Gary Ryan - http://toofattorace.smugmug.com/Sports/2014-Leesburg-Bakers-Dozen-Rac/ 
Unlike me, Zack got faster and faster as the day went on.  By the time we got to 9:00pm, with an hour left to race, we were a lap down on the leading two 2-man teams, but up 2 laps on the 4th place team.  All we needed to do was finish one last lap and we were done.

I headed out for the last lap and had some scares in the first sections of woods when my light connection refused to stay together, so I lost my light every time I went off a drop-off.  Not fun to hit the bottom of a drop and be in pitch black!  Luckily, the course went back through the camping area, so I rode back over to the camp, grabbed a new light-head and rode back to where I left the course to complete my lap, which went uneventfully (other than whacking a few trees with my arms).

Closing out the last daylight lap
Zack heading off to do 2 night laps
We ended up 3rd in the 2-man category after riding 21 laps and just shy of 100 miles each. Possibly the best part of the day was finishing up and heading to the huge bonfire with a bluegrass band and pizzas by the truck-full to close out the night.  Another successful year at the Baker's Dozen!

- Jeff

April 09, 2014

Getting the season rolling

After a terrible winter of cold weather and snow here in the Washington, DC area, and being out of action for two months with pneumonia, I finally got back to bike racing in descent weather last weekend at the All American Road Race and the Sugar Hill XC, both in Maryland.

While neither event went particularly well for me (riding in the basement at an easy pace for months doesn't build much race fitness), they were good training events in generally sunny conditions.  I had a pack finish in the 80 mile road race Saturday and 9th in the mtb race Sunday.  Most importantly, it felt so good to get back out on my Spark 900 on dry and fun trails in Patapsco State Park.

All American Road Race - Photo Credit Igda Warner - http://velogirl22.smugmug.com/

Next up is the Baker's Dozen 13 hour relay event in Leesburg, VA on April 12.  While I've raced this event the past 6-7 years on a two person co-ed team with Terri Spanogle, Terri broke her foot this spring, so I'm going to attempt the event solo.  I tried to race the Baker's Dozen solo the first time I rode the event, but it came on the heels of multiple 80 hour work weeks and I spent most of the race catching up on missed sleep and only got in 3-4 hours of actual riding.  Hopefully this time around goes better for me!

- Jeff

March 31, 2014

South Eastern Regional Championship #2 In Conyers Georgia

Last weekend I went down to the 2nd race of the SERC series at the International Horse Park in Conyers Georgia. This is the same place where the Olympic mountain bike race was held in 1996. The trails are very sandy with a lot of tight turns and short steep climbs. I was happy to be running the Continental X Kings for all the cornering as the tall nobs dug into the sand and made traction very predictable.

The race started off with a long straight before you hit the trail which turned into a drag race for the single track. I entered the woods in 6th place and we started to form a lead group. I started to loose contact with the leaders but still had a very good race for 4th place which nearly came down to a sprint finish. On the last lap I exited the woods with about 10 bike lengths on 5th place and I managed to hold him off around the finishing straight. 


March 24, 2014

4 Hours of Tuscarora

After all the hype about the toughness of this race, I can now say first hand that it lived up to all expectations. Early season races always mean mud, cold, wet, and gnarly. Tuscarora was all this plus. Three solid climbs and two super fast fire road decents all mixed up with gnarly rock gardens and multiple hike a bike sections. As for me, I rode a strong race holding the third spot for the first five laps. The course took its toll and eliminated the leader and defending champ with a double flat, launching me into second headed into the last lap. I was confident I could hold this spot but was nursing a couple cracked ribs from a fall on the second lap. The Scott Spark and trusty Continental Xkings guided me safely through the race and final lap to hold my podium spot and second place finish. Awesome race and hats off to the promoters for going above and beyond with trail prep, food and killer awards.


March 10, 2014

Southern Virginia Shootout 2014

This past Sunday I went down to Danville Virginia for the Southern Virginia Shootout. This has been the opening race of the season for me and many mid Atlantic and southeastern xc racers for a number of years now and it is always a great time with a high level of competition. This year a recent snow melt left the race course sopping wet testing racers skills and their bikes. This was also my first ride aboard my new Scott Spark 900 and this race would certainly be a test of the bike's ability.

At the start I found myself in 10th place going into the woods. I quickly picked off 5 riders in the first lap and then found myself alone for most of the race. This gave me time to really get a feel for the new bike. This year the bike came equipped with a fox 32 Float 29er fork and Float rear shock hooked up to Scott's twinloc system which provides full lockout, mid travel, and full travel settings. I already loved the twinloc and the new Fox suspension only made it better. Even in the extremely muddy conditioned the bike tracked extremely well and I felt extremely confident in downhill root sections. On climbs I easily locked out the front and rear suspension and was able to accelerate the bike like it was a hard tail.   

I had so much fun riding the new bike and trying to push it to it's limits on the muddy coarse that I almost wished we could have raced another lap. I crossed the finish line in 5th place which was a good result for such and early season race given the level of competition. As always the Southern Virginia Shootout proved to be a great season opener even in the wet.  

Scott Spark 900: http://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/products/233978008/SCOTT-Spark-900-SL-Bike/ 

Fox 32 Float 29 fork: http://www.ridefox.com/product.php?m=bike&t=forks&p=32603&ref=filter
Fox Float shock: http://www.ridefox.com/product.php?m=bike&t=shocks&p=99103&ref=filter

November 27, 2013

Updated UCI CX Rankings

The UCI just posted its updated world cyclocross rankings on November 26, 2013.  With his great fall season of CX, Cam has moved up to 126th in the world and is currently the 18th best in the US on UCI points.

You can find the full list here.

Unlike many of the others on the list, Cam is both working a full time job and started with zero points at the beginning of this season.  Zero points meant he started at the back of the field at the big races and fight his way to the front:

November 11, 2013


Congratulations to Cam on his first UCI win on Sunday at the HPCX cyclocross event in New Jersey on Sunday.

Results are available here:


From Velonews, here's how it went down:

"Cameron Dodge (Scott Racing) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) won Sunday’s HPCX cyclocross race in Highland Park, N.J.

Dodge was part of a group that stayed in front for the entire men’s race, and when the pack shattered near the end of the final lap, he made his move and darted ahead. Dodge expertly made his way through the final section of the course, which featured a twisty downhill section, a sharp left, a punchy climb, and another downhill before turning to the finish.

Jerome Townsend (Bikereg-Joe’s Garage) managed to sneak in ahead of Anthony Clark (Jam Fund-NCC) for second. The two crossed the finish line at nearly the same instant but Townsend was able to throw his bike across first."
Sunday's win was following another CX win on Saturday at the Fair Hill MAC event (where Cam is the current series leader).

Results are available here:


November 07, 2013

Cam Race CX Updates and New Pictures

Cam and Bart (team director) @ Cross Vegas
Starting at the back of the group Cam won both races Sat/Sun at local MAC Series Event (Whirlybird) sending him into the lead in the MAC Cyclocross Series:


Next he went to FULL MOON VISTA CYCLOCROSS event in Rochester NY which is a UCI C1 event. He placed 6th on SAT and 2nd on Sunday.



Cam is now ranked in 12th place in the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross Calendar (Pro CX)


Cam is ranked as 21st best US Cyclocross rider and 157th in the world.

Take a look at this video and skip to 5:20 minute mark to see Cam's interview...


And, in this video, after the advertisement skip to the 3:00 mark..


Yet, another interview with Cam.


And more photos of Cam...


Plus, another Cyclingdirt interview with Cam...


Watch more video of 2013 Cincy3 on cyclingdirt.org

Mid-Atlantic cyclocross standings - currently ranked #1!


November 06, 2013

Product Testing - Wolftooth Drop-Stop Cyclocross Chainring

Putting the Wolftooth LLC drop-stop cyclocross chainrings through some real world testing.  Set up with a 42T chainring and an Ultegra short cage rear derailleur, even after this bad crash, the chain stayed on the chainring!

I saw a recent article on Velonews about the "new" SRAM cyclocross XX1 style grouppo.  Well, with a Wolftooth chainring on a current crankset and a short cage derailleur, the same exact performance is already available.  Why wait?

October 26, 2013