Rough and Tumble Racing at Masters Natz

Flag a Flying

Flag a flying in Bend

When wheels get skipped at 30+ MPH anger gets tripped and that was the story from Masters Nationals in Bend. A flowing, fast chicaned course with uneven pavement made lanes change instantly and tempers flare with them.

Stay on the wheels as they bounced around in Bend

Stay on the wheels as they bounced around Bend

When a good chunk of the pack went down in the Mens 45 - 49 race, fists of fury got thrown before the pedals turned again.

Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in tongues

It was so rough and tumble that later in the Mens 35 to 39 race, the announcer called out a team for their tactics.

On the PA.

It’s gets old seeing a team defend their lead by chopping wheels, braking at the front, and taking the turns wide.

It does. Former Pro and Voler Rep Russel Stevenson commented

One of the sketchiest crits I’ve done in a long time. On the deck twice, chopped every lap then nearly taken out in turn one of the finale.

And Josh Liberles from HPC Cycling added

.. a guy goes off the front to “burn himself out.” Then SC Velo imploded and couldn’t control the front. The off-the-front guy stays away to claim the win solo, and Leo Grande raced more negatively than anyone I’ve ever seen.

Rock Steady over a Rough Road

Rock steady over rough road

Nerves, ego, and pressure to win a jersey combine to make a race so hectic, afterwards those that crashed walked about wandering what had just happened. Like they’d lost a tiara to Honey Boo Boo.

Crashed Out

Crashed Out

Michael Easter won is what happened after taking advantage of a late crash, building a lead, and holding it while those behind couldn’t get to him.

Won a Jersey

Won a Jersey

Driving it out of the chicane

See more photos from this race lightboxed on G+ and Flickr in high rez.

For a post about my race, see Pam’s Podium Shoes.


We stood on the 2nd to last corner at the 35-39 race and watched 20 people go down in half a dozen crashes. It was like the course was designed to maximize crashing—high speed, off camber and pot holded. But not hard enough to split the field.

I did the 45-49M race and was in 15th position with one to go when the crash in turn 1 took me out of contention but didn’t take me down. That was one of three crashes that I was aware of. They all occurred in either turn one or the apex at turn 5. I’m not a good bike handler but I know my limitations and I know how to compensate. I’ll say two things about this course: 1. There was no advantage to be gained using deep dish carbon wheels with all the downsides of poor breaking and poor shock absorption. The guy that washed out in front of my on turn five unweighted his deep cross-section front wheel in the off-camber apex. 2. 85psi 25mm clinchers on aluminum HED Ardennes (155lb rider weight) allowed me to take any given line with confidence through the corners. The course was all about the corners.

@john remarkably, I didn’t get any crashes in all the photos. I talked about the course with the officials and after walking/pre-riding it, didn’t anticipate the issues until at speed in a group. Neither did they.

@jim I was in that race with you and good call on the rim choice. I ran Hed Stinger 5s at 90 psi in the rear and 80 in the front. Understood that Natzs is an intense race, but the pavement shouldn’t decide so much.

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