Pre-Season Cyclocross Races 4 & 5 at Zebulon & Durham, NC

Bright and sunny and 91 degrees!  I thought CX was a winter sport!

This year I decided to race the BHB Cross Central Cyclocross Series as a cyclocross tuneup.  Last week I reported on the in the series, all held held at the Spring Hill Campus of Dorothea Dix Hospital in downtown Raleigh.  The final weekend was a Saturday and a Sunday race, Saturday at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, and Sunday at Rock Quarry Park in Durham. A couple of things make races four and five stand out from the first three.  The first three each had an average race temperature of 71 degrees.  Race four was a blistering 91 and race five was not much better at 80 degrees.  Remember, cyclocross is a sport where you race flat-out for about 45-50 minutes with average heart rate well above 90% of max HR. The courses were much different from the very...

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Pre-Season Cyclocross Races 1, 2 & 3 at Raleigh, NC

It's a beautiful day for a ride in the park.

The 2013-2014 cyclocross season is about to start and there seems to be a flurry of pre-season races popping up around the area.  I decided to race the BHB Cross Central Cyclocross Series because it was close and four of the five races are on Saturdays. Races 1-3 of the series were held at the Spring Hill Campus of Dorothea Dix Hospital in downtown Raleigh, a great venue.  The course was really a roadie’s course in that it was fast, flat, and non-technical, but it was still a great place to tune-up the cyclocross skills before the season begins. For the first and second weeks, the course was roughly 1.67 miles in length and with only three minor changes: the placement of the barriers, a turn was widened to go around a tree that fell between weeks one and...

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“Six Hours of Shiner’s Revenge 2013” at Woolwine, VA

Are we having fun yet?  Hell yeah! Check out the wheel drift!

Near the end of cross country mountain bike season last year I decided to try my hand at some endurance events.  I raced ORAMM (Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell) and did well, so  I thought I would try the Six Hours of Shiner’s Revenge, a brand new race, being hosted by my friends and fellow racers, Eric and Betthney O’Connell.  You can read my full report on last year’s race at: http://weightweenieblog.com/?p=611 Having won the open 50+ race there last year, I automatically put it on my calendar for this year.  However, as the race approached I happened to notice that Eric had lowered the age bracket to 45+ to increase the size of the field.  Last time I gave up seven years but this year I would be giving up 13.  That’s a lot of age, but my...

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“SERC #10” Season Finale at Fontana Dam, NC

Jim Frith - 1st, Tom Willis - 2nd, Mark Gilliam - 3rd, and Troy Zimmerman - 4th.

Fontana Village Resort in Fontana, NC hosted the final race of the US Cup East / South East Regional Cup (SERC) series.  Besides being race #10 of the SERC series, it was also the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) race #10 and the Southern Classic series race #12. As if the convergence of three series was not enough, it was a “mandatory” race for the SERC series.  In other words, if you wanted to compete for ranking in the series, you had to race at Fontana.  Needless to say, that brought out a big crowd.  For many of the classes, mine included, the leaders were within a point or two of each other, so everyone brought their “A-game”. A little interesting background on the venue — Fontana Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Little Tennessee...

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“SERC #8” XC Race at Woolwine, VA

Riders meeting is about to start..

The Southern Classic Series, the Virginia Off Road Series, and the South East Regional Cup (SERC) schedules all intersected this weekend at I.C. Dehart Park in Woolwine, Virginia.  For those unfamiliar with Woolwine, it is located about 15 miles across the North Carolina border due north of Winston-Salem.  Google Maps says it is a three hour and thirty-nine minute drive, but given the back roads and bad directions, it was more like four hours. The race course was 8.5 miles in length and was a figure eight course with the first section being 3.5 miles of some of the steepest, “gut-busting-est” climbs you’ll ever ride looping back and overlapping the same trail with a  very cool “fly-over” bridge that leads you into the second and larger 5.0 mile loop...

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“Hobby Park” XC Race at Winston-Salem, NC

Matt Podium Hobby Park 480

The Southern Classic Series cross country mountain bike race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is held in a venue named Hobby Park.  The park likely got its name because if you have a hobby, this is your park.  It has a runway for radio controlled airplanes, two tracks for radio controlled cars, a long paved hill for soap box derby racing, nice trails for running and or hiking, and last, but not least, it has a great mountain bike trail. The race course is 6.7 miles in length beginning and ending at the model airplane runway and is thickly wooded with a mix of pine and deciduous trees, as well as all manner of vegetation.  The trail surface itself is for the most part hard-packed, dark, loamy soil that is riddled with tree roots — probably one of the more...

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“Uwharrie XC Festival” Race at Troy, NC

Randy Shields (left) leading the way. I'm still in 3rd place prior to my mechanical.

The first Sunday in June was the Southern Classic Series race # 7 held in the Uwharrie National Forest near Troy, North Carolina.  The Uwharrie National Forest is a federally designated national forest located in the Uwharrie Mountains with a total area of over 50,000 acres.  The thick canopy of pine and oak make for a lot of shade but also hold in the humidity and stop any breezes, making for a steamy race. The Uwharrie trails are some of my favorite trails anywhere and have a great mix of technical elements, climbing, and long stretches of rutted jeep trails where you are either grinding up slow, steady climbs or bombing down long gradual descents.  The trail surfaces range from hard packed dirt, to loose gravel, to a couple of sections that are just slabs of...

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