Payten Maness - Cyclist

Life is better by bike

Hotter n' Hell Weekend


Hotter n’ Hell Weekend is the biggest weekend in the Texas Bike Rally scene, but has also evolved into one of the biggest weekends in the Texas Race scene as well.

This year was my 1
st chance to race all three days, starting with the Friday Night Criterium. With big crowds on hand and some super fast women, I knew I was in for a fun race!

While I missed the break that eventually proved to be the winning move, I was able to hold on for 5
th place.


Then it was time to sit back and watch my long time shop buddy and sometimes-training partner, Nick Torraca go out and do battle with the big boys and his Elevate team.


The race was very exciting, and Nick managed to pull off a 5
th place as well, not a bad night for the Mad Duck Racing Family and #bikeLife Training athletes.

Saturday morning came way to early, after a night race and a 6:45 am road race start, I was not at my best at the start. I started cramping ½ way through the race and wasn’t really having the most fun I’ve had on a bike. The good news was the group stayed together for a group sprint.

I was in a decent position as the Sprint started, about 4
th wheel, however I picked the wrong position, had to hit the brakes hard and was forced into a mid pack finish. Another learning opportunity.

We then stayed at the finish line and waited to for the boys to roll in, and were excited to see sprint finish featuring Mad Duck Racing’s own Nick Torraca heading to the line with a 3
rd place finish. This was good enough to move “Little Nikki” into the overall lead in the Omnium.

For the remainder of the day, I was treated to a tour of MSU by my Belgium Race Mate, Hannah Ross. We had a great time and a huge thank to Hannah for being such an awesome host!

That brings us to the finale on Sunday, another criterium. Due to my poor finish in the road race, I was free to race Sunday just for fun!

Prior to the race, I was fortunate enough to be able to help with the Special Olympics Race. A huge thanks to the organizers for including this incredible event. It was a true highlight of the weekend.


After the Special Olympics race, it was time to focus on my final race of the weekend. The pace for this race was high, it was the kind of race I really enjoy! I had a great time attacking early, being a pest and doing my best to keep the pace moving.


Hannah Ross and I were able to make a bit of a deal during the race, as she helped me win a prime, I helped her keep the pace high on the final lap so that she could win the Sprint. Both were a success as Hannah won the race and I was able to win a prime, a fun way to end my racing weekend. Congrats to Hannah on a great win!


After a cool down ride with Hannah and Coach Clarence, it was time to settle in and see if Nikki T could hold on to his leader jersey and take the overall win for Team Elevate and the Mad Duck Racing Family.

It was a great way to end the weekend as we watched Nick and his team control the race and bring Nick home with overall Pro1 men's title. I can't wait to fight it out next year and see if I can replicate Nicks win! Now it's time to crank up the training as I prepare for the State Road Title!


Also wishing Christie Tracy a speedy recovery after a really tough crash. Christie was racing super strong and crashed midway through Sunday's Crit. She suffered a collapsed lung, 2 broken ribs and a pulmonary embolism…..yikes! Please send Christie positive thoughts and vibes, we can't wait to see her back out there with us!…Get well soon Christie!


Heusden - Race Report

Today's race was in Heusden, a municipality located in the Belgian province of East Flanders.

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It was another Dames Elite Race, with a large field donated by the big teams. Having watched videos of the last 3 years races, it seemed pretty clear that the group would stay together and the pace would be high.


I decided early on that rather than sit in and hope for a result, I might as well try for a break and see if we could get lucky!

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Well, the 1st one didn't work, so why not launch another!


And again we were pulled back by the group.

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I decided for 1 last effort….

….and agin was pulled back by the field. By this time I'd pretty much used all I had, but was able to hold on to the peloton and rolling with the main group. Another fun race here in Belgium!


Dudzele Race Report

Today was yet another beautiful day for racing, and today it was a Dames Elite 100k in Dudzele. Dudzele is a beautiful little village located in Burrge. The race was fun, with a break of 8 forming on the narrow roads. The large teams were blocking well, so the lead had grown to near 4 minutes. We were able to put pressure on the break, and in the end were able to get within 12 seconds of the break, but just ran out of road. It was a fun day, and I was able to get some work in and stayed with the main group. Now, time for a few off days before my last week of racing here in Belgium.


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Rest Day - Again

Usually on rest day, I get a bit agitated. But here in Belgium, rest day means going out and enjoying the beautiful roads around us. Today I rode a few of the "roads" that are part of the Tour of Flanders. Back home, they would be closer to "non-roads" or maybe even a mountain bike trail. Here, it just part of the experience. Today it was Taaienberg… Casually known as the “Boonenberg” the Taaienberg is a climb where Tom Boonen has been known to test the legs of his competition.


Well, with road like that just outside your door, rest day or not, it's a "must ride"!


As I explore the area, I am struck by how peaceful the country is, how nice everyone is to cyclist, and how fortunate I am to be here!

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I hope that you all get a chance to come here and ride, its a truly magical place for cyclist.

Well, it's time to sign off from rest day, as tomorrow we are tentatively scheduled to race in Dudzele for a Dames Elite 100k. Looking forward to another fun day of racing!


Erpe-Mere Race Report

Erpe-Mere Race Report

Todays entry is a bit of a traditional race report, but given that I finally won one over here, I thought I would share—


Saturday we loaded up and headed to Erpe-Mere (Erpe-Mere, also known as Erondegemse Pijl, as the name suggests takes place in the Erpe Mere municipality, to the west of Brussels) for a 60k Junior race. In these races, the 15-16 and 17-18 race together, but are scored separately. This gave Sophie and I a chance to race together again, and as the only 2 Americans, we were out numbered by the large teams from Belgium and the Netherlands. It was about 50 against 2, so I liked our odds.
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I just kind hung in for a couple laps, got a little bored, and then made a couple attacks that didn't stick. I then followed an attack, and that one failed as well. There was a lull after we were caught, so I decided to go again, I was joined by Gabby Geiskens (15-16 rider from Netherlands) and then Brenda Goessens (17-18 rider on ISOREX from Belgium) joined us. Once we had an ISOREX rider in the group, I knew we would most likely make it, as ISOREX is a large team that likes to block when they have riders up the road and we had about 4 laps left.



With half a lap to go another rider from Gabby’s team joined us, but she wouldn't work so that caused some chaos and slowed us down a little. I was stuck in a bad position pulling everyone to the finish when gabby came around me and started to sprint with 150 meters to go. I was able to get
on her wheel, and came around her in the last 25 meters and barely nipped her at the line for my first win here in Belgium!


The scene on the podium was amazing and one I will never forget, and I got a huge bouquet of Sun Flowers and a Giant Belgian Beer! It was an amazing day of bike racing!


And what would bike riding be without COFFEE!

Herentals Race Report

Herentals race report - Today was a really neat race in Herentals, and like most of the races here was part of a festival.


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I had a really fun time bouncing around on the cobbles here with the Elites, and had a great time just trying to hold on on the wet cobbles. As the race went on, the cobbles dried and the scenery was amazing!


As you can see, the scenery here was amazing here was amazing! One rest day to follow and then back to back races! It's getting good over here!

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Tourist Day - Burgge

(One of the really great things about these trips, is not just the bike racing, but a chance to enjoy the local culture…I love this place)

Today was tourist day as Christian and Chole loaded up the gang and took us for a wonderful day in Brugge. First a little background on Brugge:
…the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Its port, Zeebrugge, is an important center for fishing and European trade. The city-center Markt features horse-drawn carriage rides and 17th-century houses converted into restaurants and cafes, as well as the 13th-century belfry with its 47-bell carillon and 83m tower with panoramic views.

Well, there’s the cut and past history lesson, now to the real fun, this place is stunningly beautiful, that you could explore for days. And with hosts
from William’s Racing Academy, we had a very traditional, fun tourist day that included some incredible local indulgences: Belgium waffles and Mussels!

Thanks again for Christian and Chole for being such wonderful hosts! If you want to experience Belgian life as a bike racer, I highly recommend you contact the Williams and sign up for one of these trips! It is a trip you will never forget.



The Canals in this city are stunning!

Horse Drawn carriages are a big player here1br1


I don't know the story with this sculpture, but it was way cool!

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Some views from the Belfry
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The Food…Yum!!!

Well I'm signing off for now, back to a training block to work off the that Belgian Waffle and to prepare for my next race!

2nd Race in the books

Todays race was in Haaltert, Belgium. On tap today was a 82k Kermis which was high lighted by a wet and technical course. Had a great time as we lined up with 67 women in the Elite field. I was able to come home in 21st, very happy with the result. 1be2

Holly Beard and I at the start, as we waited, the rain began. The good news, my Zevlin Mad Duck tape works great in the rain, doesn't get slippery and looks awesome!


I was happy to avoid the crashes and come home safe in the field.



Tomorrow is an off day with a tourist day in Brugge, then its back on the bike for a few days of work before racing again on Thursday. Loving it over here and having a great time!

1st Race Done

Finally, it's Race Day. What a great time and a great experience. Didn't get the results I had hoped for, but had a great time, learned a ton and can't wait to do it again. Sunday I will get another crack at it and I am super excited to jump on my Focus and mix it up again!


I can't believe how much fun it was to get to race in new places with new girls. If you ever get the chance to come over here and race, I highly recommend it!
1245Dead Tired after the race!


But not too tired for an after race snack…Yum!

And thanks to Sophie and Reanie for this awesome Duck! … Time to sign off from Belgium, more updates to come so please stay tuned!

Pre Race Ritual

The day before a race is one of my favorite days (with race day being the best day!) It’s the day to make sure everything is ready for race day, which eases the stress of race day. My coach constantly harps on me that “the difference between being good, and being great is EVERYTHING”. So this is the time to make sure everything is ready, clean and tune the bike, make sure your kit is clean and ready, go over the checklist and pre pack what you need.
You have to trust that your fitness is there, all the hard work has been done and now it’s time to enjoy. After spending time with the bike, now its time to sit back with a good book, stay off your feet, and get your body and mind relaxed! I love this day!


This place is beautiful

Every where we ride, the scenery is just breathtaking. Found a wonderful little coffee shop (but I do miss my Redefined Coffee House in Grapevine). Tomorrow, its back to work, race day!


Can't wait to race!

Another great day in Belgium, riding in this amazing country, hanging with friends and watching some bike racing, but I am ready to RACE! One more day, and then its three days of Bike racing fun, and I am so Ready!



Morning Ride

Had a great morning ride here in Belgium with my roommates, Sophie and Holly. A few classic Belgium cobbles and the ever present sheep. We will be off this afternoon to watch the boys race…can't wait until our first race!


Belgium here I come

Loaded, packed and ready for my first trip to Europe…I can't wait!


What a great trip!