July 25, 2010

Long Pine Classic

It's been a while since I've posted to the site so I figured I would start with the Long Pine Classic which was held on July 4th. The weather was hot and humid. Starting temp was in the upper 80's and this was 9:30 in the morning. After getting to the race site and going through the pre-race ritual it was off to the rider meeting and to the start. The Long Pine Classic is not your typical mountain bike race. Instead of doing 4 or 5 laps the organizers have you do one colossal 25 mile lap. Held in the Michaux State Forest the Long Pine Classic is run on some of the best single track anyone could want for a race. It has a little of everything for everyone. Lots of tight twisty singletrack, rocks, roots and lots of climbing. The start was a neutralized affair which was pretty cool. Instead of having everyone rip roarin from the start we followed a motorcycle for about a mile and a half on a gravel road to the start of the single track. As soon as we made the turn into the singletrack it was game on. I had a good start position on the front row about four riders to the right of team mate Aaron Snyder. Into the singletrack I was in about 8th position. It took a while, but eventually found my rhythm and everything was comming together. The first few miles were tight enough to not allow passing so between that and the mass of riders trying to enter the singletrack I did not see anyone for most of the race. Enter the climbing. Between the bouts of epic singletrack there has to be climbing. I don't mind going up hill in fact I even look foward to it in some sort of a twisted way. Most of the climbs were done on a gravel fire road similar to the one we started on so putting time on riders still trying to navigate the singletrack wasn't a problem. There was one climb or rather a hike-a-bike section that just didn't make sense. This thing just went on and on. As soon as you thought it was ridable there you were dismounting again and walking in the negative mile per hour range. Eventually it came to an end not in the it's all down hill from here sense, but rather a long false flat that didn't seem that bad after the walk.
The rest of the course was much of the same as the beginning lots of twisty singletrack peppered with gravel road climbs. The last mile or so was in the high canopy trees with superman dirt singletrack. The kind you just get incredible traction on. The finish was a bit strange. There was an event tent with two people under it. At first I thought it was a feed station, but upon making my way up the climb I noticed it was the finish. Just two people one screaming numbers and the other writing them down. This is where the fun began. Just as I realized that the race was over I also realized that in order to get back to the start/ finish area we had to navigate one of the craziest sections of trail yet. Fun Fun. When it was all over and the sweat eventually stopped Aaron had taken the win in the Pro field and I finished second in the Cat 1 35-39 field. The Long Pine Classic is an absolute must do and worth the trip if you come from a distance. I know for a fact I will be there next year. Until the next adventure enjoy the ride and keep the rubber side down, Scott Wilson

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