Month: November 2011

Taneytown Never Disappoints!

Wow, a perfect Sunday to race up in Taneytown for the 2011 Mabra Cyclocross Championships! A big, glorious shout out to the promoter and all who were involved in putting on a great race at a spectator friendly venue. Good tunes, a great MC, clear skies and LOTS of mud made it an extremely special day.

Bickling bringing home 2nd place and winning the Maryland/DC Championship for 35+ 3/4

Our very own Todd Bickling got the fireworks started early in the Masters 35+ 3 /4 race. At the halfway point, it became decidedly clear that it would be a shootout to the end. The four riders at the front of the field were pushing each other to the max. Bickling, deep in the hurt locker, worked hard with Cory Smith from Sportif Coaching to limit the damage once the lead rider built up a small gap on the chasing duo. Bickling commented that it was crucial having Cory’s help in the chase. If there was one big take away from this race, it was to never give up because anything could happen out there.

Well, low and behold, coming into the final stretch, the lead rider suffered a mechanical and was running his bike full gas up the finish straight. WOW! The announcer was going nuts on the play by play. Every spectator ran to the finish straight in nervous anticipation. Would he make it or be caught?! Todd and Cory were HOT on the heels and had him in sight, closing fast! Unfortunately for Bickling, there just wasn’t enough real estate and he came across the line behind the winner for the 2nd. What a thrilling finish! Congrats to Bickling for notching a MABRA silver medal as well as taking the Maryland State title (since the winner was from VA)!…And big thanks to Cory Smith for all the help!

Tanner Browne not letting a broken chain bring him down!

Next up was Tanner Browne in the 15-18 Juniors race. Tanner jumped on the gas from the whistle and led the field in the early goings. Tanner was riding strong and smooth. Then tragedy struck. Tanner’s chain broke! Did he throw in the towel? Heck, no! In an inspirational show of determination and pride, Tanner ran over half a lap and switched to his Dad’s bike at the pit. Game back on! Tanner managed to grit his teeth and power his way from 9th to 3rd by the finish. It’s beautiful to see a junior keep the fight alive. Very proud of the accomplishment!

Pete Warner, Bill Browne & Brian “Sobe” Sjoberg clipped in for the 35+/45+ open right afterward. The race unfolded as expected with the fellas trying to hang on and navigate the tricky conditions. Sobe fell victim to a failed rear derailleur about 3 laps in; off to drink beer for him. Browne kept the pedals a turning but the mud was winning the battle. Warner managed to eek out 22nd on the day after two spectacular wipeouts on the last lap. We send our apologies to the grounds crew who had to fix course tape after Warner’s last lap escapades. Bickling did console Warner with a post race Blue Moon Ale. Tasty!

That’s a wrap. Congrats to all the MABRA and Maryland/DC State Champs! You all earned it big time on Sunday.

Many of the riders on the team wouldn’t be able to race nearly as much as they are able without the fantastic support of their families and sponsors. Thank you to the mom’s, dad’s, wives, husbands, kids, future kids, dogs, cats, honey badgers that support the riders. And to the sponsors, Bike Doctor, Cannondale

THANK YOU!! – MABRA BAR Awards Party

Brian Sjoberg and Tanner Browne with their awards

What a year it was for Team Bike Doctor! This last Saturday night saw two of the riders receiving awards for best all around rider in MABRA for 2011. Sonoma Restaurant played the hosting duties for this year’s awards banquet and they didn’t disappoint. The turnout was one of the best in years. Lots of racing friends to catch up with throughout the evening and reminisce on some of the highlights of 2011.

The two riders receiving awards were Brian Sjoberg and Tanner Browne. Tanner had a very consistent year and secured 2nd place overall in the Junior 10-14 category. He was only one victory away from nabbing 1st place. Congratulations goes out to Jake Thompson for the top spot in the Junior 10-14 category.

Brian Sjoberg (aka Sobe) resurrected himself from his “has been” days and with the aid of an unbelievably selfless team of category 3 riders secured 1st place. Brian started to see form in mid-June and continued to improve with a number of top 5 placements, including four wins, until the season ended in late August. An exciting year of category 3 racing was made possible by many great teams as well as the rest of the podium for best all-around rider. Congratulations Jason Hall, Andrew Shelby and Ben Frederick!

The Bike Doctor team did a remarkable job of working together on and off the bike in all the categories throughout the year. Brian certainly accounts for the teamwork conducted within the category 3 ranks and would like to give a big thanks to those that helped along the way!

Additionally the team would like to thank all the promoters that put on great races and the officials that put up with riders and got results posted and resolved quickly. Thank you as well to the other teams that helped animate all the MABRA races.

Many of the riders on the team wouldn’t be able to race nearly as much as they are able without the fantastic support of their families and sponsors. Thank you to the mom’s, dad’s, wives, husbands, kids, future kids, dogs, cats, honey badgers that support the riders. And to the sponsors, Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Great job by all the riders that call themselves MABRAins and additional congratulations to all the riders that made the podium of each category for Best All-Around rider! See all of you next year!

Battle: a long struggle to succeed or survive during a difficult situation

Cyclocross is a game of battles. The game can take on many forms during a race. Sometimes it’s a battle to get into your pedals, or you’re fighting for position going into a corner. Most of us have faced that inner voice that tells you to quit because it hurts, or you just crashed and lost two positions and are trying to claw your way back to the lead group. It’s a game of small battles that can sometimes add up and become overwhelming. Fighting through these are part of racing cross, and require a strong will of mind and body.

Sunday’s Rockburn Cross hosted by Adventures For the Cure was full of new surprises as the MABRA series rolled into Rockburn Branch Park in Howard County, MD. Tanner Browne and Emir Crnovic lined up for the Junior 15-18 race ready to do battle. Tanner ended up 4th after crashing on one of the technical sections, and fighting back from 7th. Emir, fairly new to bike racing, but full of enthusiasm and fitness, ended up 7th. It was the first race where he stayed strong to the end, and didn’t give up or get frustrated.

Rockburn CX-Tanner and Emir at the start

Rockburn CX-Tanner after his crash

Rockburn CX-Emir hanging tough

Lumber Jack Evan Ellicott put his wood chopping axe down for a few minutes to line up for the Single Speed race. With only one gear, Ellicott found the Rockburn course to be pretty tough, but dug deep and crossed the line in 4th place. However, clocking-in post race for Fatherly duties took priority over his well earned photo opportunity, and he missed his call up to the podium.

In the Master’s ¾ race. Todd Bickling and Steve Fife went into the race with a game plan. The plan was for Fife to set a hard but steady tempo at the front to try and create some separation, and for Bickling to hang out on the back of the group and launch some late race attacks with the hopes of either Bike Doctor rider getting the win.

Rockburn CX-Bickling and Fife: TEAMWORK

After crashing on his surgically repaired collarbone last week at Schooley Mill, Fife didn’t even know if he could pull it together for Sunday’s race. Wednesday’s visit to the orthopedist for x-rays confirmed nothing worse than deep bruising and swelling. Once the doctor gave the all clear, Fife put his mental game together and poured all of that stress and worry into his pedals at Rockburn.

Rockburn CX-Fife and Bickling (obscured) in the sand

Sticking to the plan, Bickling and Fife made the selection of the lead group, and during the last lap got a gap on the field with unattached rider John McGreevy in tow. Going into the last few turns, Fife assumed the lead just before the paved finish, and was able to hold off McGreevy with Bickling rolling in hot on his heals for 3rd.

Rockburn Podium-1st Fife (and daughter Tavia), 3rd Bickling

Pete Warner and Brian Sjoberg battled it out in the Master’s 1/2/3 race against a stacked field. Warner finally picked up his new Felt CX bike from Bike Doctor in Waldorf, and was really looking forward to putting it through its paces. Here’s a race breakdown in Warner’s own words:

Rockburn CX-Pete Warner in "no man's land"

“At Rockburn, I’ll be honest, I was pretty happy about NOT being last. I was pleased with my start but then I could not shift down from the big ring and lost a bunch of spots trying to get it in the small ring. I just went as hard as I could in what felt like no man’s land. I’d get real close to the guy in front of me, and then have a blunder that would set me back, argh.  BUT, I never went down!!!!!!  Happy not to wreck the new bike in the first two races. I LOVE my new bike! I ended up 17th with Sobe damn near chasing me down for 18th.  I was like, “where the heck did he come from? Us roadies out doing cross like to stick together”

Emir and Pete ready to rock at 540 Cyclocross on Saturday!

Cyclocross racing is hard. Battling through all of the little and big setbacks are what makes overcoming them so worth it. It doesn’t matter if your fighting for 1st or battling for 18th, it’s a fight worth fighting. Hanging with your friends in a beautiful park after the race with a cold beverage in your hand sure does help too.

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Fatherhood, Team rides, Podiums & FUN!

Wow, it was a busy weekend for the Team Bike Doctor crew. A good bunch made it out to Sjoberg’s place Saturday morning for a nice ride around the Crofton/Davidsonville area. It was followed up with some recovery beverages and grub at the homestead during a team meeting. How Sjoberg talked his wife into letting the team invade their home we’ll never know? Thanks Lyra!

On Sunday, it was back to racing at the Schooley Mill cross race. Fife and Bickling lined up for 35+ ¾ race at 10 a.m. The action heated up quick with both riders clawing to remain in contention for a win. Unfortunately for Fife, he went down hard on his surgically repaired collarbone during the race and was forced to abandon his Super 8 series quest. Fife is heading to the Dr on Wednesday to get it checked out. The team is keeping its fingers crossed Robo-Fife will return soon. With Fife down, Bickling held strong and found the technical nature of the course suiting him well. After a disappointing performance at Ed Sander, Bickling definitely got his mojo back and secured the 5th spot on the podium.
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Bill Browne tossed his leg over the bike and mounted up for the 45+ race at 11 a.m. Bill gave it a great effort and managed to get in some good training. We’re not sure what advice Bill gave his son Tanner after his race, but it must have been spot on. Tanner and Emir represented in the junior race at 12 p.m. After the first lap, Tanner was hot on the heels of the Super 8 series leader, just a great on-going slugfest for the entire race. Emir, still getting his feet wet with cross, didn’t give up and kept the charge going from behind. Tanner made some bold moves during the last lap to put him in contention for the win. It came down to a knock-down drag race to the line where Tanner ended up an impressive 2nd. Emir gutted it out to hold on to 6th. These junior’s are fun to watch!

At 1 p.m., Evan Ellicott, Brian Sjoberg and Pete Warner hit the start line. Warner’s race started about an hour before the race while he built up Ellicott’s loaner bike and talked Bickling into letting him dismantle his pit bike so he could borrow a front brake hanger. Ah, good to have teammates! We’re still amazed that bike held together knowing Warner’s wrenching skills.

But the real enjoyment during this race was witnessing Evan be a caring father. Evan brought his young son Andrew with him. But Andrew was not too happy seeing his father out there racing without him by his side. While coming through the start/finish line on lap 2, Evan over heard Andrew’s cries and pulled the plug; went over and scooped his upset child in his arms which quickly turned to a huge smile. All in the world for young Andrew was set right. If there was a podium for world’s best Dad, Evan placed first today!

Since Sjoberg just goes to cross races to drink beer afterward and Warner spends too much time on the ground, we’re not sure how they fared. But knowing those two, we are certain they had FUN!

Sunny Gill caught the road trip bug and headed over to the USGP Derby Cup. Brief reports indicate two 100+ start grid numbers, very tough courses and lots of crashes equal no big results. But, hey, it’s pretty cool to watch Jpow and Trebon tear up those races!

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Almost and Not Quite

November marked another great Fall weekend of cyclocross for the Bike Doctor Racing Team. With some intense racing, and cool fall weather on tap, it was a weekend of close, and not so close calls.

Saturday was the Patapsco Cross, in Mount Airy MD, race #4 in the Sportif Cross Cup. Todd Bickling placed 7th in the Master’s 3/4, and Pete Warner placed 5th.  In the Master’s 1/2/3, Evan Ellicott landed on the podium with a strong 5th place.  A fun, technical course that tossed in a little bit of everything.  Patapsco Bike & Sport deserves a round of applause.

Sunday at the Ed Sander’s CX race at Lili Pons Aquatic Center in Adamstown, MD, a new course design had everyone unsure about what the day’s racing would bring. Some new twists, turns, climbing, and a little mud created some fast lap times on a course that had remained unchanged for years up until that point.

Tanner Browne-Ed Sander's CX

Tanner Browne-Ed Sander's CX Podium

In the Junior race, Tanner Browne was holding position and fighting for first until a fall caused him to lose the lead. A 20 second gap opened that he fought to close, but in the end it was too much and he ended up second. Once again, Tanner rose to the upper steps of the podium, and he’s setting things up for a final push to retain the MABRA jersey.

Steve Fife-Ed Sander's CX

Todd Bickling-Ed Sander's CX

Steve Fife-Ed Sander's CX

Todd Bickling and Steve Fife sized up the 100 plus competition from the front row of the start grid in the Master’s 3/4 race. Fife pushed the pace in the early laps to get into a select group of 5 that gained a little separation as the laps ticked down. Bickling drifted back as the previous day’s efforts caught up to him on this challenging power course. On the final lap, Fife put in an attack that opened a gap, but was countered by Luther Swift from NCVC. Fife almost closed the gap to Swift at the finish, but not quite, and finished in 2nd, while Bickling drifted in about mid pack.

Master’s 1/2/3 racer Evan Ellicott had a good start, but faded back to 8th during his race. With 2 to go, Ellicott’s back began to tighten up, and he faded a bit to finish 12th. Mud, back pain, and a slight fog from the previous evening’s beverages make for a tough day.

Evan Ellicott at Ed Sander CX (Photo Credit - Bruce Buckley)

No win’s this weekend for Team Bike Doctor, but we posted some good results and had a good time. We’ll be bringing some extra motivation for the last few races as we hunt for that elusive win we all dream about.

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

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