Payten Maness - Cyclist

Life is better by bike

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Hotter n' Hell Weekend

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.
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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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And again we were pulled back by the group.

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I decided for 1 last effort….
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….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!


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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—

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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.


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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!

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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!


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And what would bike riding be without COFFEE!