UPDATE: Battle At The Bend: 20 Q&A's

Ever since the BATTLE AT THE BEND race flyer appeared in the October issue of Mountain Bike Action, I have been approached by many riders wanting more information about the event. Since some questions have been asked a few times, here is a little Q&A session.

1. I'm seeing the race flyer on forums, in magazines, Facebook and elsewhere but have never heard of the resort or this race, what's the deal? In 2009 Cypress Bend Resort developed an on-site mountain bike trail for the explicit purpose of hosting mountain bike races. The upcoming Battle At The Bend is their first USAC sanctioned cross-country mountain bike race; new trail, new race.

2. Where is Cypress Bend Resort/Battle At The Bend? On the Texas/Louisiana border towards the northern part of Toledo Bend Lake; approximately 3 hrs from Houston, 4 hrs from Dallas/Fort worth, 4.5 hrs from Austin, 1.5 hrs from Shreveport, 4 hrs from New Orleans, 4 hrs from Jackson, etc.

3. So an actual resort is doing this? Yes, Cypress Bend is a 600 acre full blown resort with a championship golf course (member of the Audubon Golf Trail), state-of-the-art conference center, full service spa, well appointed bar & restaurant, heated indoor/outdoor pool, hot-tub, sauna and so much more, so bring the entire family for this cannot miss event. Call Battle weekend a "race-cation" if you will; there's something for everyone.

4. Is there still availability at the resort and special rates? Yes, call (877) 519-1500 and mention "Battle At The Bend" to reserve your rooms and get the special Battle weekend rates. We would advise making your room reservations early, and reserving now does not mean paying now. Learn more about the room options at www.cypressbend.com as there are over-sized rooms and full blown suites available.

5. Are there other accommodations or any camping in the area? Yes, check www.toledobendlakecountry.com for other options.

6. What exactly is Hercules? Hercules is what we call loop 5 of the new trail, roughly 6.1 miles with an average lap time of 1:12:30 and fastest known single lap time of 49:56. These times were recorded at the Grand Opening/Fast Lap Challenge in May, and since then the trail has undergone revisions designed to speed up the lap times by 10-15 minutes.

7. I have heard Hercules is tough. It was in May and revisions have been in place since May's grand opening to provide more flow and are scheduled to be completed 1 month in advance of the Nov. 21 race. Now that the course has had traffic, rain and some smoothing it's definitely getting faster and faster with every passing week, and we're not done yet! The goal is to provide one heckuva race-course that challenges racers from each category and requires both fitness and bike handling skills to win on.

8. I have heard the trail design really allows riders to strategize and attack. Yes, the course was built so that one rider cannot monopolize the trail. There are plenty of passing opportunities on most climb, descent and false-flat sections, so you aren't forced to "follow" whoever hits the trailhead first; unless that's how you want to roll.

9. When can we pre-ride the course? Anytime from now thru Saturday November 20th at 3:30 PM. The course should be in race-form by October 21st (maybe earlier), so anytime in November would be best.

10. What's the climb of death I heard about? The C.O.D. is a short and steep climb section that only a handful of riders have actually ridden up. It was designed as a quick shoulder-bike section and even the riders that have successfully climbed it state they will shoulder that section when riding at race-pace. Don't worry as you will be rewarded with a sick downhill just minutes after reaching the top, and again it's short so don't be discouraged, as it's a brief race-equalizer more than anything.

11. Cat-1 and Pros are really racing for $5000? Actually they are racing for at least $5000! Depending on overall attendance, that amount can increase and the final payout will be announced first thing Sunday morning.

12. What's the Fastest Team Challenge? Any team, even if conjured from thin air for the purpose of this race, will have their fastest three riders' lap times averaged. The team with the lowest averaged lap time wins the honor and a smooth $500. Not currently on a team, get creative, so long as the team name can be announced in a public area over a PA, go with it (i.e. no foul names).

13. Can a rider be on two teams? Definitely yes. There are some racers that want to represent their local club and their official sponsor, and we will recognize both as separate teams that a rider can be a member of. This is a great opportunity for riders to represent their local clubs and create a club vs. club atmosphere (ex: DORBA vs. GHORBA) so when you register, separate your teams with a / and we'll know what to do (Sun&Ski/GHORBA).

14. Any rules about the teams? 1 rule. Although a team can have a countless number of members, when it's time to calculate the team's fastest three riders averaged lap time, all three riders times used will not be from only Cat-3 riders; i.e. a team must have at least one non-cat 3 rider (Pro, Cat-1 or Cat-2) finish to be eligible for the honor and cash.

15. Registration is online only? Yes, and we are paying 100% of fee BikeReg.com charges to keep riders from being monetarily penalized (roughly $3) for registering online. Also, we know that some racers like waiting until the last minute to register, so to further encourage registering early we have a 100% refund policy for any racer that cancels, as long as we are informed outside of 72 hours prior to the event (Nov. 17th at midnight CST). Register at http://www.bikereg.com/events/regist...?eventid=11271

16. Why register early? Starting positions in the starting chute are determined by the date/time of entry, so registering early gets you an up-front position. Also, registered participants will get informative emails as we get closer to the event, so it's a great way to stay in the info-loop.

17. What's this "Pre-Battle Party?" On Saturday night we plan on having a super fun mountain bike meet & greet social, resort style. Music, fire-pits, cocktails, gourmet brews and more (including the 1st Annual Bobby D ping-pong challenge), and in a resort environment overlooking the 18th green and Toledo Bend Lake. There are even discussions on having a freestyle dance contest where the winner gets to pick their starting position in the chute, surely a first for any mountain bike racing event, and a great chance to create a viral video!

18. What's the Pre-Battle Dinner? Our executive chef is working up a gourmet "get the racers ready" dinner plan for Saturday night and we'll announce those details when they come.

19. I am a team, vendor or bike shop and heard that I can reserve space for free. This is true. Just contact kbennett@cypressbend.com to reserve your 10X10 or 10X20 space, available on a first come-first serve basis. Keep in mind, with X-mas being around the corner this is also a good chance to showcase products/services that might not have to do with cycling; as example one vendor already signed up creates custom baby clothing and pacifiers. Get creative!

20. What is the "giveaway?" All registrations are entered into a resort giveaway, and the winner will be chosen on Battle day. We're talking two nights, spa for two here; the real deal!

21. I have other/more questions, where can I get answers? Contact Kerry at kbennett@cypressbend.com with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at the 1st Annual Battle At The Bend; a chance to close out 2010 with some great racing, celebrate the sport we love with fellow enthusiasts from several surrounding states and in a relaxing and luxurious resort environment!