USA Cycling Cross Country Nationals at Macungie, PA

Nats 10

This week I had the privilege of competing at Nationals, and I have to say, it was a truly great experience.  One of the coolest things I’ve ever done.  I learned a lot but I also had a lot of fun.  It was awesome, and it is hard to convey the entire nationals experience, but I’m going to do my best to help you get a feel for exactly what I experienced. The venue, one of America’s smallest ski resorts was for a week the site of one of mountain biking’s biggest events.  Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Philadelphia, hosted the 2013 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships. “Bear Creek is one of those mountains that is often and generously referred to as a “local’s” hill. But what it lacks in...

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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...

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“Tiger Rag” XC Race at Clemson, SC

Wow!  I guess there was some level ground after all!

On June 23, 2013, race 9 of the Southern Classic Series intersected the US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship  Series (SERC) #7 at Clemson South Carolina.  Now throw in a Georgia State Cup make up race and you have lots of the best riders throughout the southeast showing up ready to compete.  Essentially, anyone who is still in the points race for any of those three series was likely to be in attendance. Now about the course:  Last year I raced it as a Cat 3 (or beginner) rider, so I did one lap.  Since that time, USA Cycling, in their infinite wisdom has decided that I needed to be upgraded — not once, but twice — to Cat 1.  After all, I have been riding a bicycle for a whopping two years and am only halfway through my second...

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“Bump and Grind” XC Race at Jackson, GA

Mark Perri (50) left, Mark Gilliam (51) middle, and yours truly (58) right.

This week’s race was the 2013 US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship series (SERC) race #6, the  American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) race #6, and the  Georgia State Championship series race #4.  The intersection of these three races, coupled with double USA Cycling ranking points made for a very well attended event with many top competitors bringing their “A-game”. I dubbed this race the “bump and grind” because the course was probably the bumpiest course I’ve ever ridden.  There were lots of roots and rocks sufficient to kill any momentum you developed and forcing you to grind along the trail under power most of the time.  In other words, there was not a lot of opportunity to rest. Just how bumpy was it?  Riding this course was...

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“Race to the River” XC Race

Harry Mathis (2nd) and me (1st) on the podium for the SC Championship.

The fifth race in the Southern Classic Series was held this weekend at Harbison State Park in Columbia, South Carolina. It was the final of three races that comprise the South Carolina State Championship: Sumter (race 1), Spartanburg (race 4), and Columbia.  Because I was leading by 18 points, I decided to race Columbia and skip the US Cup East (SERC) race in Winder, GA.  After all, if I managed to finish no more than three place behind Harry Mathis, I was a lock for the SC Championship. I drove up Saturday afternoon, after a 30-mile club ride where I was determined to keep my heart rate low and for the most part I was successful.  My plan was to pre-ride the course while keeping my heart rate low so I would have legs for the next day’s race.   That’s...

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“Stump Jump” XC Race

2013 Cat 1 Podium

The fourth race in the Southern Classic Series was held this weekend at Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was the second of three races that comprise the South Carolina State Championship: Sumter (race 1), Spartanburg (race 4), and Columbia (race 5 next week).  A good finish at Stump Jump would mean I have a good shot at the SC State Title, having already placed 4th at Sumter prior to being mandatory upgraded to Cat 1. Last year as a new Cat 3 rider I had won the race and I really liked the course.  There was nothing overly technical and there was plenty of climbing, which favors my small size and relative power.  As a fairly new rider I tend to lack the technical ability of some of the more experienced riders, but fortunately, I’ve always been able to make up...

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Tsali “Knobscorcher” XC Race

tsali

The US Cup East, South East Regional Cup (or SERC) Series intersected with the Southern Classic Series and the American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) Series for what was to be a huge mountain bike race — huge in both attendance and in terms of being physically challenging. The Tsali trail system is located near Bryson City, in western North Carolina and is named for a Cherokee man who hid in this area in 1838. When the government ordered the Cherokees to move to Oklahoma (think “Trail of Tears”), Tsali and others escaped to these mountains. Later, Tsali voluntarily surrendered after receiving a promise to allow the others to remain in the area. As a result, he, his brother, and two older sons were shot and killed. Today the eastern band of the...

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