This race is in a very nice venue, the Treasure Valley Scout Reservation in Rutland, MA. Staging area is in an open grassy area right next to a big pond. I did a pre-ride on Saturday and was ready for race day on Sunday. Each group had its own staggered start but everyone was racing the course at the same time so there was more passing and being passed than normal but this was not a problem. It was a good opportunity to work on those skills.
12 Sport Masters line up together and most of us were on the front line. Went into the woods in 3rd position but did not hold it for long. It was 1 and 3/4 laps for 15.5 miles with some good climbing and lots of technical singletrack . . . very technical singletrack - meaning lots of rock gardens and rocks and rocky slopes. Quite challenging to ride recreationally but certainly manageable but at race speed it was a bit crazier. Of course my race speed only averaged 6.5 mph. On one short tech descent I had to alter my line to avoid a downed rider and this caused me to hit a rock with too much weight forward and I went over the bars. Fortunately not at speed and with no apparent bike damage, just the usual Gumbo blood dripping from knee and elbow (and now my chest muscle or ribs or something hurt but nothing serious).
So several in my group passed me fairly early on and then I went back and forth with a handful of riders. Ultimately finished 6 out of 10 finishers. Not real pleased with that finish placement but generally pleased with completing a difficult race. I have never seen more riders off the side of the course with mechanicals - mostly all flat tires but a few broken seat posts and other miscellaneous issues. It is interesting that I seem to be doing better in faster races (Massasoit Lung Challenge, Weeping Willow, Hodges Village Dam) versus the technical courses (Glocester Grind, Pat's Peak, Treasure Valley). Part of it could be that there are more racers doing the easier courses and it is the more experienced racers who do that harder courses.
The hardtail was perfectly adequate for TVR but if I had a full suspension race bike I would have used that. My FS bike is almost 10 pounds heavier and I have not been riding it recently so I stuck with what I have been on. Next up is the 50 miler at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, the Landmine Classic. This will be my first long race and I will primarily look to ride steady and see what happens. Then I am pretty sure I am going to do the 12 hours of Bradbury in Maine later in September as a solo rider, I figure I might as well experiment.
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