Dear BMR sponsors,

It seems like we just finished a full cyclocross campaign, and before the cross bikes had even dried off, we were out racing our mountain bikes again. Bruce opened the team account with solid performances in the early season Central Coast MTB series races, as well as the Total Body Fitness series events held in Folsom, CA. I guess he experienced near typhoon weather during his first two of three of the events there. Having braved that, the weather from here on out will seem like Spring conditions. Bruce's consistency and perseverance paid off with 2nd overall in Folsom, in some of the toughest conditions of the year.

Not expecting too much so early in the season, I was as surprised as anyone with four consecutive wins in early Spring. I guess my little single speed experiment panned out, and I will continue that into this season's local series at Central Coast MTB. Once the drop-races are figured, I am currently leading the Pro/Expert single speed class there. Janel will be taking a short leave to nail down a needed class for her nursing degree, but pulled a sweet 2nd place out at her first mountain bike race of the new season.

I usually do a few road events in Spring to get the legs ready for some hard efforts. I was all set to go to the Wente RR weekend when the invite came down the pike: Blackmarket team riders, come one, come all; daily hammer sessions in the heart of the central coast wine country; evening gorge-fests; Belgian beer on tap. Hmm. Gee. Had to think about that one for about 2 full seconds. The bulk of the BMR squad made there way down to the team's legal headquarters in sleepy Templeton, CA, where Trina and Edwin had concocted a full-tilt-boogie festival of pain and feasting. The riding was nothing short of amazing, the food was a veritable cornucopia of delights, and of course, Belgian beer is the BEST. This will definitely have to be an annual event. Don't worry Edwin, we'll bring more coffee...

After Tim warmed up the Sea Otter course with a solid 13th place in the hyper-competitive 40+ Expert race, I was to have a crack at the 24hr relay on nearly the same, but shortened circuit. In the absence of a corporate team in Family Cycling Center to assist, I lent my services to a co-ed 5 person relay, captained by Caletti Cycles owner/builder John Caletti. We had lost a rider, Eric, due to a crash the week before the event, and scrambled for a replacement. Eric's wife Grace was to take up the reigns and be our 5th person. Having two women on the team more than qualified us for the co-ed status, but may have been viewed as a handicap to some. The women on the team totally rocked, and we not only overcame any perceived shortcomings of our situation, but strong-armed our way onto the podium for a super solid third place. You have to go back five or more years to find a local 5-person co-ed team cracking the podium with two women. The team was very supportive of each other in pretty harsh weather conditions, and showed just how far a little faith can take you. John, Cory, Grace, James, Julie ("the Brain"), Eric (support), and Janel (team barista)- you all rock the trail! Read more HERE. (Not only had Grace never raced a mountain bike before, but she had never raced at night. Simply amazing and heroic.)

More Spring racing to come. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

Thank you all for your continued support of Blackmarket Racing.

Mark "Howie" Howland
Team Director
Blackmarket Racing

Spring '08 race results:

Elite Masters 35+:

Mark Howland 01 March Central Coast MTB #3 (SS) 1st
Mark 16 March TBF MTB series #3, Folsom 1st
Mark 30 March CCCX MTB #4 (SS) 1st
Mark 06 April CCCX MTB #5 (SS) 1st
Mark 13 April Napa Valley Dirt Classic 2nd
Mark 03 May 24 hrs of Adrenaline (composite team) 3rd
Tim Thompson 17 April Sea Otter Classic XC 13th

Elite Masters 45+:

Bruce Lodge 16 March TBF MTB series overall 2nd
Bruce 24 Feb. TBF MTB series #2 4th
Bruce 16 March TBF MTB series #3 4th
Bruce 06 April CCCX MTB #5 4th
Bruce 30 March CCCX MTB #4 5th
Bruce 10 Feb. CCCX MTB #1 7th
Bruce 17 Feb. CCCX MTB #2 7th
Bruce 01 March CCCX MTB #3 7th

Elite Masters Women:

Janel Lodge 01 March CCCX MTB series #3 2nd


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