“SERC #9” XC Race at Ft. Payne, AL

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The South East Regional Cup (SERC) Series #9, the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) #9, and the Alabama Mountain Bike Series #6, all came together this weekend at DeSoto State Park in Ft. Payne, Alabama.  Since 1982 Ft. Payne has been famous as being the home of the “June Jam” festival hosted by the country-rock band Alabama. The park downtown has bronze statues of the band members that are larger-than-life size. The Ft. Payne race course is typically 10 miles in length but was shortened to a 6.5 mile lap this year due to the excessive rain and flooding.  The Grand Masters 1 (Cat 1 50+) raced three laps so we did 19.5 miles total, making it one of the shorter races in terms of mileage.  The reason they cut the mileage short, however, is that the...

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“Santos Vortex Trail” XC Race

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The US Cup East, South East Regional Cup (or SERC) Series is the largest USA Cycling sanctioned cross country mountain bike series this side of the Mississippi river. It brings in riders from all over the Eastern US and is equaled only by the US Cup West Series on the other side of the country. In other words, the US Cup is the mother of all mountain bike series. This year the SERC Series kicked off at Ocala, Florida, a few miles south of its traditional venue of Gainesville. Like many Florida trails, Santos is in an old abandoned rock quarry. Unlike my visit a month earlier for the 12 Hours of Santos endurance race, when the overnight temperatures were below freezing, this time the highs were in the upper 80s and the overnight lows were in the mid-50s. My...

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“Bouldergeist” XC Race

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There seems to be an unwritten rule that every mountain bike race must have its own unique name. Generally that name conjures up wild and violent images — seemingly, the more extreme, the better. Perhaps it is race promoters appealing to a video game culture or maybe it’s just tradition. Mostly the race names are a stretch, with one notable exception: Bouldergeist. In a single word, race promoter Howard Rhyne epitomizes his race. Succinct, fully descriptive, and emotive. Bouldergeist is the perfect name for yesterday’s well run race at San-Lee State Park. (Great job, Howard and company.) Think about it… Bouldergeist suggests large rocks (boulders) and poltergeist (the apparent manifestation of an invisible and destructive entity). Most...

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“Shootout at Angler’s Ridge” XC Race

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The Shootout at Angler’s Ridge was the second race of my mountain bike season, and was located an hour north of Greensboro, just across the state line in Danville, Virginia. Like last year, this race was the Virginia State Championship race so it attracted lots of the best riders from all around the area. Last year’s Angler’s Ridge race was my second ever cross country mountain bike race, and I managed to win the VA state championship as a Cat 3 (beginner) rider. Not bad. This year I hoped to repeat as a Cat 2 (sport) rider, so even though it’s not part of either the Southern Classic Series or the US Cup East (SERC) Series, I still included it on my race calendar. I arrived at the course Saturday afternoon with friend and super-fast rider, Bart Wellisley,...

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