My First Solo Endurance Race- Brunswick Brawl, Leland, NC


I am excited to tackle my first solo mountain bike endurance race this Saturday, October 12, at Brunswick Nature Park-Leland, NC, called The Brunswick Brawl.  This year’s Brawl has a 1/3/6 Hr options and I will be racing the 3 Hr option.  Not only am I racing, but I have been privileged now for the second year in a row, to be part of the event planning team for this race.

2013-Brunswick-Brawl-Logo-(tp-Bg) (2)Cape Fear SORBA, my local bike club, is responsible for making this race a huge success on the North Carolina coast.  Last year was our first year transitioning this to a very successful and high quality endurance race.  Currently, we are on track for having the best year yet, as we are hoping for record registration numbers.

Our Title Sponsor, Visit Leland, NC, returns to support our efforts, as well as, Bike Cycles- Wilmington, Two-Wheeler Dealer-Wilmington, Bicycle Gallery-Jacksonsville, TD Bank, St. James Plantation, Diesel Parts of the Carolinas, LLC, and Realtor Sean Skutnik of Coldwell Banker.

Personally, my goal is simply to complete three 9-mile laps before the the 2.5 hour cut-off for the 3 hour race.  This means 3 laps of at least 50 minutes a piece which will allow me a 4th final victory lap!

Currently, I feel like my conditioning and training puts me right on the bubble for this to be achieved.  At 100% output, I can ride a 43 minute lap, but pacing three laps is going to be the secret. Last year I raced in the 6 hour Duo class and my lap times were:

  • Lap 1: 46.12
  • Lap 2: 45:03
  • Lap 3: 48:52

I seem to still have a solid riding base as last year, but I have not gotten much faster, therefore, I am thinking I will target 48 minute laps.  this will leave me a little time to fix unexpected mechanicals and address any hydration refills.

This year’s race course is better than ever.  With the rain moving in already this week, Brunswick Nature Park will be tightly packed and faster than ever.  In tandem with the long volunteer trails hours of Cape Fear SORBA, there are 4 new berms that keep the rider moving fast through transition sections.

As a race promoter, I am very excited to see the geographical reach of our race.  So far, it looks like I will be joined by racers from Raleigh, Cary, Salisbury, Fayetteville, Charlotte, Charleston, Winston Salem, Southern Pines, Greensboro, Ayden, Apex, Myrtle Beach, Midway Park, Wake Forest, Southport, Carolina Shores, Camp Lejuene, Winnabow, Wilmington, Laland, Carolina Beach, Rocky Point, Castle Hayne, Jacksonville, and Morehead City,  For our club, this already makes the race a huge success!!

If you are interested in racing, registration is still open until this coming Friday, 6 pm.  Sign up now!  And do not forget the great rates for local accommodations if you are traveling in from afar.


Brunswick Brawl 2013 Endurance Mountain Bike Race in Leland, NC

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The Brunswick Brawl 2013 endurance mountain bike race at Brunswick Nature Park in Leland, NC is officially live for registration.  This race is sponsored by Visit Leland, NC and put on by volunteers from my local Cape Fear SORBA club.  Race date is Saturday, October 12th, 2013 with 6hr/3hr/1hr options.  Can’t wait to race it!  Race registration link.

Brunswick Brawl 2013 preflyer 1 up 8-5X111 non-cropped

October is for Endurance Racing!

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IMG_3780From the looks of recent mountain bike cyber chatter, October is going to be an awesome month of endurance racing options!  If you are looking for a reason to get out in the heat and start your training now, you should have no lack of motivation when you see all the great races available in just 3 months.  Here are just a few that I have on my radar that I would like to share:

I am sure there are many more, but this will at least get your endurance juices flowing!!!!!

CCORS Race #2 @ Brunswick Nature Park

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IMG_8425 (1024x683)I decided to race Sport for the first time at this past Sunday’s Coastal Carolina Off Road Race Series #2 at Brunswick Nature Park in Wilmington, NC.  Being my home trail, the mileage is very comfortable for me and I wanted to stretch myself.

Also, I figured I would be good “chase bait” for all my riding buddies starting in the classes behind me.  The only way I figure I can honestly say I was ahead of them during this race was to be in a class that starts before them!

Unfortunately, I left my iPhone at the house and wasn’t able to monitor my 18 miles like I do EVERY time I ride, so I was riding blind somewhat. #StravaJunkie #StravaWithdrawals

A few surprises and lessons learned on Sunday…

1) I was pretty amazed that I just about matched my 2nd and 3rd lap (only 1 second off).  I did feel like the 3rd lap was my fastest but I guess it was an illusion.  I did feel like I was in a good groove at the third lap and could have kept going.  Maybe this means I could have pushed it more, not sure.

2) It can really slow down a lap and momentum when you have to spend most of your lap pulling over to the right to let people pass.  I knew this was part of the game starting up but didn’t realized how many people in the classes behind me were actually going to pass me.  Maybe there is still a magic starting place for me.

3) I learned you cannot just change racing divisions in the middle of a race:-)  I realized half way through the race that if I would have raced Single Speed, I would have placed 3rd since there were only 2 riders!!  I yelled out to the officials after my 2nd lap that I haven’t changed gears the entire race and please switch me to single speed, but they didn’t fall for it.  Then, after the race, I realized I should have been convincing them to change me to Expert while I did a 4th lap and then I wouldn’t have ended up at the bottom since 2 expert rider DNFed!  I guess I will have to throw money the next time in between laps…kind of the reverse act you see at Cyclocross races where fans are holding out $$$ for riders at the top of the hills!

All in all, I was pleased I finished 3 laps at somewhat of a race-pace for me and did not cramp up in the legs.  I felt the potential right at the end of the last lap when climbing a final incline but was able to adjust and prevent it.  This is great news as I really don’t want to end another race with locked legs and IV fluid in the local Urgent Care (Thanks Tree Shaker in Charlotte!!)

One of the best memories of the day is my son racing his first kids race!  He was so excited to get a medal and reminded me several times that day it is his first medal EVER for bike racing!  I hope he continues as it will be a special treat for me if he enjoys father and son rides as he grows up!

“Run for Ray” Underhill Trail Run 2013

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If you were like me in the 80’s, skateboarding consumed your life just as mountain biking seems to be doing in the present.  Eagerly awaiting your Thrasher magazine in the mailbox, there were many times you would see Ray Underhill from Powell-Peralta blasted across the pages doing nasty tricks you could land ONLY in your dreams.


As you may or may not know, Ray settled down in Wilmington, NC in 1998 when he started working for Easter Skateboard Supply.  Unfortunately, Ray passed away in 2008 after a long battle with a brain tumor.

The Run for Ray Trail Run is a fund raiser for the Ray Underhill Foundation, the family and the Chordoma Cancer Foundation.   Ray Underhill was not only a professional skateboarder he was an amazing father, husband and friend to many.  Chordoma took his life prematurely and this benefit run is an event to honor his memory, as well, as to help his wife and two young children. The first annual Run for Ray trail run was held March of 2009.  100% of the proceeds go to the Ray Underhill Foundation, the family and the Chrodoma Foundation.

Mark your race calendar!  The 2013 event will be held Saturday February 23rd at Brunswick Nature Park.  With the addition of new trails there by Cape Fear SORBA, there will be NEW distances this year.  3 mile, 9 mile and 18 mile trail runs.

Since I have been a part of building these off-road biking trails, it is rewarding to see two my vices merge together in an unique set of circumstances.

Oh yes, do not forget that there are times when Tony Hawk enters this race at the last minute and if you are fast enough, you might be able to brag to your children that you outran your childhood skating hero!

Run for Ray Trail Run Registration
Run for Ray on Twitter
Run for Ray on Facebook

Alternate Entrance for Brunswick Nature Park Trails From January 14-18, 2013

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For those that frequent Brunswick Nature Park, you will soon find out that 133 South is closed for construction only a few hundred feet before the park entrance.

If you are looking for an alternate entrance to the bike trail, you might consider pulling off on the right immediately before the construction and ride your bike along the dirt road that will eventually take you to the Brunswick Nature Park parking lot.  I have marked this location with a purple pin drop.

From what I have been told this road is still park property so you should be fine riding this road in to the trails, but do not hunt me down if you get in trouble for taking this way in to the park!!!

Detour Entrance for BNP

First EVER CycloCross Race in Leland, NC

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Here is some great video of the first ever cross event held at the newly constructed Brunswick Nature Park in Leland, NC. Cross is not a “new” sport by any means but seems to be increasing in popularity and gaining lots of momentum thanks to Port City Velo Origin8 and Bicycle Gallery-Jacksonville.

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