So this weekend was going to be my first ever MTB race down at Fair Hill (Bike Line Spring XC @ Fair Hill Mid Atlantic Super Series). Id never been down there but heard it was non-technical and flowy like White Clay. I hadn’t been on my MTB at all since my epic fall/surgery combo over 2 months ago other than the Thursday night Belmont ‘race’ I did last week. Luckily that gave me some confidence as I didn’t fall once
Saturday I had to get things together for the race. 1st up was to cut up my Thule roof rack trays in order to have them fit disc brake rotors.
While I was out there I got a little yard/alley work done.
What you do when you have too many old bike parts. Old drop bars + zip ties = garden hose hook
Long day of yard work usually entails a nice cold brewskie. Im pretty excited that Full Sail is now in PA. Love me some Session!!
We had some dinner plans at 9 that night and got a bit fancy, then out to the bar. I missed dancing as I figured I should get some sleep for Sundays race.
I met up with Mark, packed the bikes up, and headed down to South Philly to pick up Mat. We got everything together, grabbed some coffee at Ultimo and cruised down 95. All three of us were racing the Cat2 19-29 XC race. We picked up numbers, bullshitted, and got in some warm-up.
Fair Hill Strava Data
We lined up and I was able to squeeze in 2nd row on the edge. We then sat there for 10 minutes (not so fun) as my nerves were starting to get the best of me. I don’t like starts. Theyre very hectic/draining mentally and physically.
Eventually we got the whistle to go and over course the guy in front of me couldn’t clip in to save his life. I had to make a quick move to the left and get back in the mix. The start was fast, really fast. My goal was to get towards the front but not burn too many matches as I had no idea what I was getting myself in for. At the first river crossing I got dominated by the dude in front of me with a face full of water and shoes drenched. Holy hell, Wasn’t expecting that! By the time we hit the single track more than a mile from the start, a group was off the front (maybe 7 guys with a few off-off the front with Ryan and Mark in the group somewhere) and I was in the next group of 4. I tried to follow their lines and do whatever they were doing in single track but could tell they were able to flow WAY better than myself. Soon Brendan from Bicycle therapy gapped our group and I was sitting behind 2 now with a large gap behind.
After a few more sections I was able to pass the 2 riders in my group when we got out into the fields. I tried to make the gap as large as I could in these sections as I knew they could catch me in the twisty sections. I had a blast ‘ripping’ around not knowing what was coming next. I almost ate it hard over the metal-grate ramp they had set up over a log… wasn’t expecting it to be that short and kick you so hard. Front here on out the race was kinda a blur. I got amped up going back across the start/finish with some teammates cheering me on. I still had a good gap but wanted to put in some hard effort on the open sections again. About halfway through the next lap I could feel a bit of pressure behind me and I could tell I was starting to fade. My goal was to keep it upright and keep some in the tank incase I did need to sprint at the end. I ended up cruising the last bit making sure no one was too close behind me. I soft pedaled the last bit after being in the pain cave and ended up 9th out of 28th. Goal accomplish, don’t fall/die and try for a top10 result.
Overall I had a blast. It was like a cross race but it was warm outside. Cant wait to build the fitness back and get some technical skill for the next couple MTB races.
I was a newb and forgot beer and food. Thanks to Derek and Ryan for both. Next time ill be ready!
Cat2 19-29 a solid 6-10 of philly dudes
Oh i won $5 gift card to Bike Line and a sweet bottle.
95 was a mess driving home with beach traffic… totally forgot about beach traffic. but we did see this gem ‘Truck Norris’