Justin and I traveled to hot and humid Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania the past few days for the MTB national championships for XC and short track. We each wrote race reports from our different events so you will receive two separate emails since we each wrote a fair amount.
If you subscribe to FloBikes you can see a full replays from both of Justin’s events and my short track event. The most coverage for LGBRC is probably from my short track event where I was battling for the win. Go to the below link and my event is about 2 hours into the days coverage and goes from 1:57 to 2:25.
Friday: Men’s 50-54 XC, 4th
As defending champ from last year, the pressure was on for a repeat, but it was not to be. The course was quite different from last year’s event at high altitude in Winter Park Colorado, with a lot less climbing, a lot more heat and humidity (above 90 degrees with close to 100% humidity), and a much shorter race (45 minutes instead of 100 minutes due to thunderstorm delays). The slower rocky descents of Pennsylvania are also not my preference compared to high speed berms of Colorado, but at least the course for the masters did not include some of the endless rock garden descents that Justin had to ride!
I got off to a good start taking the second slot as we entered the single track, and I was able to stay just a couple seconds back from the leader at the top of the first climb. We quickly got into the rocky descent where we started to catch riders from the races that had started just before us. This caused some slight chaos and I was in third place about 15 seconds behind two leaders entering the second and final lap. The two top finishers rode away from me on the 2nd lap climb, so I settled into chase mode and tried to ride cleanly.
I constantly passing riders from other categories and when I looked back about 200 meters before the finish line I was sure that the next person in my category was not in sight. But I was wrong and I was passed meters before the finish line by a sprinting 50-54 man in a camouflage skin suit! I’ll blame his wise choice of kit for the reason I did not see him, and I’m sure my stars and stripes jersey made me an easy target!
Sunday: Men’s 40+ Short Track, 3rd
I had not originally intended to do this event but after Friday’s short 45 minute race and knowing that I would be there on Sunday to support Justin, I decided to race! I knew that the competition would be tough since I would be going up against Friday’s podium finishers from the men’s 40-44 and 45-49 categories, in addition to the 2nd place finisher from my 50-54 XC race.
The course was good for me with steep grassy climbs and a flow trail descent without any of the super rocky sections from Friday’s race. It was also cooler than Friday with a 9:25am start time that was before the day’s forecasted thunderstorms. I lined up near the back but the field was small and I was confident that I would be able to move up on the first lap uphill. I held second or third position for the first two of the six laps and felt pretty good as the group whittled itself down to about five riders.
The final laps came down to a battle between four of us, and the finishing time gaps were quite small. The first and second place riders took advantage of course tape that was not fully set up, skipping two rollers and the first berm of the descent by cutting through some smooth grass. That did not seem like ethical racing to me, and I stuck to what the course designers intended. Immediately after our race, the course workers taped off the grass shortcut…..
I chased hard and finished 3rd, just 19 seconds down. I was happy with my performance and logged twelve minutes over 340 watts out of the 25 minute race!