Down & Dirty in Keystone

The Cycle Effect Team has made some mad progress so far this year.  From never-evers to racing downhill in the hail & rain with lightening strikes, mud and controlled chaos.  Coach and racer, Jaime Brede gives us a blow by blow of the SMC Keystone Uphill/Downbill time trial.  Congrats to all the racers who braved the elements that evening and especially to Jaime, the team and their two Roll models Chris Ward and Kate Zander.

The skies were black but the mood was sunny in the team van.  Paloma, Makayla, and myself were all kitted up and ready to race at the SMC Keystone Uphill/Downhill TT.  Coach Brett was driving us to the race start where we would be meeting ROLL models Chris Ward and Kate Zander.  I hopped out of the van and right to the start line – no warm up today as it was pouring rain and I didn’t want to get cold. I wished the girls the best of luck on their own races and set off on my personal  journey  to the top of Keystone Mountain.   Racing the Expert Men’s category on the way up and racing the lightning on the way down, I made it back to the base of Keystone to await the girls’ arrival. It was great to hang out with team member Isidra who sat the race out due to an injury, but came to cheer her teammates anyway. Thanks, Izzy – that’s awesome!

An hour passes, the rain abates, and the sun is going down. Where are they? I was a little concerned since I myself had come the nearest to getting struck by lightning that I have ever been. However, both Chris Ward and Kate Zander are experienced riders and smart women, so I knew that the girls were in the best of care under their leadership on the race course.   Finally we see them – first Makayla and Chris, and about fifteen minutes later, Kate and her charge, Paloma. They made it! Hugs, high-fives , and a sense of relief washed over us all. It was a truly epic adventure for the most seasoned of race veterans, and  Makayla and Paloma conquered the challenge on their second try at racing mountain bikes.

kate paloma hug

After a quick stop at the base area bathroom to change into warm, dry clothes and clean the mud off of our faces, we were off to the Kickapoo Tavern for a well-deserved hot plate of food and hot cocoa all around. The Kickapoo Tavern is one our team’s main sponsors, and they made us feel right at home with great food and friendly service.  A huge thanks goes out to Jason at Kickapoo for taking care of us. Also, thanks to Jeff Westcott and the Mavsports crew for a truly memorable experience, and for making sure we made it back to home base safe and sound. The night would not have been possible without Christena Ward and Kate Chapman Zander – we are so grateful for your leadership and guidance on course that night. Thank you!!!


For more information check out The Cycle Effect or contact Jaime Brede at