Sunday, October 17, 2010

Groovy/Neo Series Finale...

Wow, what an awesome event.


Saturday marked the final Groovy Series/NEO Power Series Event for 2010 and then end to an exciting, exhausting season. 

The weekend started for me on Friday morning at 0500 when I got into the shop and began making prizes for the series awards table; custom painted bars, bottle openers, etc...then it was off to Vulture's knob in the waning hours of the evening, to attend to the final maintenance items on the course punch list.  The trail is in the best shape ever, with over 6000.00 dollars and numerous hours of volunteer labor put back into the course this year, it is a shining example of how a privately owned property can be utilized for the benefit of the public.  After too few hours of sleep, I was back in the shop at 0430 for final clear coats and to get the items into the bake box so they would be ready for the race at 1500.

When the sun finally broke through the windows of the shop, the warm rays of light highlighted the fact that it was to be a special day.  Clear skies and temps in the 60's was more than we all could have hoped for for the day...we were truly blessed with both excellent weather and a supportive community, as participants began to arrive in droves.

The first event was the kid's races, offering free racing for children on a monitored course for ages 2 to 13.  Fifteen children came out and put their best effort on display, warming the hearts of the spectators and, of course, their parents. 

As a extra bonus, many of the kids wore costumes to celebrate the upcoming Halloween, here Boden the pumpkin rolls away from the start...
Flash Sommers heading toward the finish line...
Tate Amstutz showing Dad how to catch some air on the final run into the finish...
Excitement on the face of Tiera when she learns she won her class...
and the reason we have the kids races; the joy of participating in a sport that reaffirms that every racer is a winner...
Medals, goody bags, and cookies in hand, the kids left the podium area to settle in for the adult races, where mom and dad had an opportunity to play like a 10 year old for a couple of hours :)

A sea of color, 121 racers rolled to the start line for todays event...
The under 35 expert class took off like a shot, a dead heat of the eventual top five racing away from the line as one trail eating machine, leaving the rest of the expert field to vie for the leftovers...
Thirty seconds later, it was the 36 and up expert field.  One of the fun rules for this race; if you wore a costume, you received preferred start line status, moving ten feet ahead of the rest of the field.  Here, Carey came dressed with bandages, blood and scars, doing his best rendition of Jeff Pendelberry after a race ;) ... of course he was in the lead at the sound of the whistle.
It was a super fast course, evident by the average speed of the top experts; over 13 miles per hour for what could be considered by many the most technically demanding race course in Ohio.  In the end, Steve rose to the top of the podium just mere seconds ahead of Jeff.  Rounding out the top spots with stellar performances were Tim Carson, Ross Clark, and Kyle Spisak.


Our other Groovy riders did well, with Carey laying down the law just like an Amish Steven Segal and taking home the win on his favorite course.  Love the denim jacket dude...hope you made it yourself, I can't imagine paying for that  :)
Kalten did very well with a second place on his single speed (note: no podium picture of Kalten as he was treasonous and wore a Specialized shirt...BAD BOY!)

Another program that is a direct result of the generosity of our local mountain biking community is the "Bikes for Kids" program.  Larry Clouse heads up this charitable operation that provides mountain bikes, helmets, and locks for underprivileged children who would otherwise not have an opportunity to experience this sport.  Each race we are able to provide a bike, with over 12 bikes given away this season alone.  Private donations as well as a portion of each race entry feeds the program.  Thank you to all our racers for helping us provide for those less fortunate.

Larry and Matt from Jamis, getting ready to announce this race's recipient...

The lucky owner, hope to see her on the trails soon...

After giving away one bike, why not another.  That's right, it is time to choose the 2010 Groovy Cycles frame/fork/bar give away.  Each time a participant came out and raced, their name was entered into the drawing.  Additionally, those who helped at the three trail days received another entry for each day volunteered.  Grabbing an angelic "Vanna White" from the audience, she drew this years winner.

Doing our best Carnac the magnificent...who could it be?
Keith Feeman!  To look at his face, do you think he was surprised?

Keith will receive his frame kit the first race of the 2011 when all the Groovy awards will be presented.

On to the NEO Power series awards, the highlight of the night was the tie for first place.  Both Steve and Jeff ended up with 180 points, leaving us in a bit of a predicament...how to resolve who gets the series championship.  There was only one solution, to arm wrestle for it Sylvester Stallone style.

Perched on the podium, hands locked in battle upon the first place stance, the two gave it all they had...
In the end, youth prevailed, with Jeff slowly crushing the last remnants of energy out of Steve.  Both were great sports.

As the evening wound down, we got silly and gave away loads of booty from our sponsors: Season and one day passes from Ray's indoor mountain bike park, race passes for 2011 from 331, cases of Monster, Kona bikes, marathon bars from Snickers, Edge outdoor gift certificates, Pizzas for a year from Pizza Pan, Chipotle burrito packs, Hammer product packs, shirts, bottles and SO MUCH MORE.  It was probably one of the largest prize tables I've seen, a testament to the growth of the sport.

Another lucky winner, Peter takes home a pack of 5 Ray's passes...oh yeah!
What a day!  Eighteen hours after my day started, we were done cleaning up and
ready to call it an end to the season.

Thanks so much to the guys at 331 (Kevin, Jay, Mike, Dusty) and their selfless families, all 408 individual racers who played with us this season, and to Christi for seeing me less than most inmates on a work release program.

A special thank you to the Groovy race team, Carey, Steve, Jeff and Kalten for a fantastic racing season..  I've been blessed to have a team I'd consider not only friends, but family.   

Can't get enough?  Want to see every detail of who won what?  Check out the picture albums at 331 Racing's facebook page, courtesey of Connie...

http://www.facebook.com/331Racing#!/photos.php?id=24889227892

cheers,

rody

3 comments:

Keith said...

Rody, I still do not know what to say. I still can not believe it. Now I have so many things to think about.

stevendot said...

this sounds like a really fun race series. Maybe next year...

Dale said...

Excellent times Rody, I'll be out there for more trail days and race days!!!!! Thanks!!!!