Kelley Acres: Podium Interviews

The Masters Elite descend the flyover.

The MABRA Cyclocross Series dropped in on Chris and Fred Kelley October 4, 2009, to play in their backyard. Talk about a scene that would have driven my grandfather crazy, all those kids with their bikes on his property!

Kelley Acres ‘Cross featured lots of climbing, ridable barriers, and a Euro-style flyover. It was a great day in the country for cross racing. We caught up with some of those on the podium to see how the day went. Thanks for reading.

Note: All photos by Kevin Dillard of Demoncats Photography. Check out more sweet images by Kevin at

If you raced on Saturday, did you choose any different gear (bike, wheels, tires, clothes) for Sunday’s Kelley Acres? Did you change your warm-up routine at all?

Wes Schempf (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 2nd Place Men’s Elite): No.  I warmed up for a bit longer this day than on Saturday.

Tom Mackay (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 2nd Place Men’s 3/4): Everything Identical. No spinning Saturday night, but a lot of eating.

Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure, 3rd Place Men’s 3/4): I raced BCA and really pushed myself hard during the entire race.  To recover I ate a ton of food!  I get ridiculously hungry after these races, but I think that it helps me to recover.  Everything else I kept the same for BCA.

Keith Rohr (Adventures for the Cure, 3rd Place Men’s Masters 3/4): Same bike. same warm-up, fixie on rollers. A little spinning on sat post-race. Mostly hanging out watching races. 

What was your favorite part of the course? What feature could you have done without?

Wes Schempf: The flyover was pretty cool.  I could do without the narrow downhill start, but that seems to the only paved area to start.

 Tom Mackay: fly over, climb, jungle cross parts I liked. I could have done without the headwind up top.

Patrick Blair: Oh man this was by far one of my favorite courses yet!  It was very well done.  My favorite part was the long uphill section in the woods, but of course the flyover was totally awesome.

Rohr getting trippy on the flyover.

Keith Rohr: The flyover. That was trippy. Well designed course. 

How did you approach the fast descent into the sweeping left-hander on the backside of the course? It was fast and slippery in the morning and then seemed to try out some. Share your technique.

Wes Schempf: I got into my drops before turning left and heading down the hill.  I scrubbed speed on the way down by braking and then I let off the brakes when it opened up and counter steered to really try and get some traction

Tom Mackay: I rode the drops to keep my center of gravity really low, swung wide and kept my speed under control.

Patrick Blair: I put my brakes on at full force and prayed that I would not fall down.  I have am still not confident in my bike handling skills.  As I became more confident in the later laps I tried to lean into the turn and that really made a big difference.

Keith Rohr: I was brake-happy. 

Any thoughts on the flyover? Good, bad, not a factor?

Wes Schempf: It was good.  It is neat for folks to be able to get that experience and the construction was top-notch.  In the end it wasn’t a factor, but I would have liked the barrier leading up to it moved closer so it forced a dismount before the steps.  Similar in idea to the barriers at BCA cross.

Tom Mackay: Awesome, but not a factor in the outcome.

Patrick Blair in the elite race.

Patrick Blair: Amazing!  Awesome!  Loved it!  My only criticism is that I think it created a little bit of a bottle neck in the 1st lap for the people who were not out in the front.  Maybe if it was avoided in the 1st lap or somehow at the end of each lap it would not be as much of a bottle neck factor.

Keith Rohr: Awesome. 

Did you ride or dismount for the log barriers? If you rode or hopped the logs, walk us through your technique.

Wes Schempf: Rode the barriers.  I would control my speed for the approach so I wasn’t coming in too fast.  Get the front wheel on top then shift my weight back while smoothly bringing the rear wheel over, just kissing the top.  You don’t want to be going to fast or you will crash and same thing with your weight, not too far forward or you will go over the bars and not in a good way.

Tom Mackay (l) not 100% sold on the podium candy concept.

Tom Mackay: I hopped them the whole race. The last lap I ate it in GRAND style. Fitting.

Patrick Blair: I dismounted every time, but others were hopping next to me and I never lost any ground due to my technique.  I was not confident enough to even attempt a hop.

Keith Rohr: Dismounted. I use road gearing 53/39 and I wasn’t willing to bash my big chainring. Unfortunately, that’s how Seibold got away and stayed away—bunny-hopping the logs. On a happier note, my 9-year-old daughter Avy bunny-hopped the logs in front of the flyover both times – the crowd went crazy—she cleaned it the first time and had a little foot down on the second time. 

Tell us about the decisive moment in your race.
Schempf and Bishop spent alot of time together over the weekend.

Wes Schempf: Similar to Saturday, I wanted Jeremiah to do some work so I let him by on the pavement about 4 laps in and then lost his wheel.  I just need to get it in my head that he’s not unbeatable and that I can race with him.

Tom Mackay: The start, me and Sam fired up the after burners. The 40 sec or so gap we had felt really nice.

Patrick Blair: I was working with 2 others for most of the race and in the final lap I really pushed through the long uphill section to break away.

Keith Rohr: I thought I could catch Seibold, but Robinison was breathing down my neck the entire race. He caught me with less than two to go and I sort of deflated at that point and knew 3rd was the best I was going to do. My legs were toast from Saturday’s race

What did you eat post-race?

Wes Schempf: some pasta salad about 30 mins after.

Tom Mackay: Mozzarella and tomato sandwich. Mmmm.

Patrick Blair: Almost everything in sight, but trying to stay away from too much junk food.

Keith Rohr: Two veggie burgies, water, brownies, bananas.

Give a shout out.

Tom Mackay: My man Sam O’Keefe, great ride dude. I wish I could climb like you.

Patrick Blair: Steve Wahl because I know he was one of the people who helped make the fly over possible.

Keith Rohr: To my daughter, Avy Rohr. She is not afraid of any cross course. She loves this stuff and she loves competing against boys.


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