Sunday, February 23, 2014

Monster Cross

What an awesome day! Right now we are driving away from the course at Pocahontas State park, near Richmond, VA. It is sunny and a whopping 72 degrees!!! Jeff and I both raced in shorts and short sleeves, which was a great break from polar vortex winter. And there wasn't a spot of snow or ice anywhere to be found. The trails were a little muddy in sections, but overall conditions were not bad at all.

Monster cx is a 50 mile race on gravel and dirt fire roads with a 6 mile section on pavement. It is fast, mostly flat with a few rolling sections and a couple of small hills. There is nothing technical about the course except for 1 large tree across the trail and a few rocky stream crossings, which are hazardous to rear tires. I really like this course because you can go as fast as possible right from the start.

Here is Jeff's race report:
"I felt really good.  I was going at a pace I felt I could sustain and was keeping up with fast groups, at least for me. I started noticing my tire getting soft around mile 4. By mile 5, it was rolling as I was cornering so I knew I had to take action. I put in a new tube in about 3-5 mins and watched a lot of people pass me. Heard a lot of people say 'hey jeff', 'you ok dude?,' 'got what you need?' I got back going and started racing a little out of myself to get back to the group I was with, but that was a lofty goal. Around mile 20, I felt the new tube starting to soften. Around mile 22, I found Jen Tillman, and she said she was going to get on my wheel. I said 'let's go,' and we did. Then around mile 25, the tire was getting bad again, and I went through one of the hazardous creek crossings. I immediately flatted on the rear. I was out of tubes and given both had slow leaks, I figured it was the tire. I called it a day and decided to have a nice 6 mile hike to the finish. Mountain biking shoes are not comfortable for long hikes, fyi. But lots of teammates and other nice racers offered parts and assistance along the way. That is one of the awesome things about mountain biking. Usually everyone looks out for others and is generally nice. All in all, it was a wonderful day on the bike regardless of the DNF."

Here is my race report:
I raced this course last year, but this was my first time racing in the pro/elite women's race. I knew Selene Yeager and Suzie Snyder had registered. Both of their reputations precede them about their strength and racing abilities. I kinda wanted to see how fast they would start an endurance race so my plan was to go out with them for as long as I could. Suzie had an unfortunate fall on a downhill gravel section so it ended up being me and Selene together at the half way point. Things were going really well until I also flatted going over one of those hazardous stream crossings 5 miles from the finish. Suzie and another racer passed me while I changed my tube, but I got up and going again and finished 4th. It was a bummer to miss the podium, but I still had a really fun time racing on fast trails and testing my fitness and tube changing abilities (both need work)! It was great to be outside and not on the trainer. And free beer, biscuits and fried chicken with teammates at the finish line is something you just can't beat.

Pre-race photo: lots of Baltimore representation at Monster Cx this year
Post-race photo: lots of sun, mud, and rehydrating beer

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