Race: Greenbrier Challenge - AMBC/Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship Series/Mid-Atlantic Super Series (a lot of series start with this race!) / Maryland State Championships
Conditions: Dry, sunny, cool, one permanently muddy downhill
Riders: Jeff (1st pro); Cam (3rd pro); Zack (8th pro); Mike (11th pro); Dylan (1st Cat 1 open); Jay (2nd 55+ Cat 1)
Greenbrier is the traditional start to the Mid-Atlantic cross country mountain bike season. It's hosted UCI events in the past and has been a fixture on the calendar for 10 years.
The course is 40% single track/60% double track, has two small climbs, one steep climb of about .8 miles, a rocky climb and three fast downhills. Pro and Cat 1 Open fields did 5 laps of the 5.7 mile course; other Cat 1 fields did 4 laps.
Cam came into this event sporting the #1 plate for the year as last year's MASS series winner.
|Loading up the bus|
|Flatscreen TV - we watched a few movies on the ride to the race|
|"Keg Ride" license plate|
|Great rack system that held a lot of Sparks and Scales securely|
|Newly built up Spark 900 RC|
|We had reserved parking and needed most of it for the Keg Ride bus|
|Pro field start|
|Photo Credit: Ethan Frey (http://ericfrey.zenfolio.com/)|
|Zack at the start|
I realized on the first fast downhill that I'd made my chain too long and in the 36x11 gearing (I'm running a mix of SRAM XX1 crankset/chainring, SRAM XX 10spd cassette, SRAM chain, Shimano XTR shifter and Shadow Plus rear derailleur) the chain had too much slack and was hopping off the front chainrings.
A quick stop to put the chain back on and I was passed by 6 riders. A big effort up the next rocky downhill got me back into 6th place and I found myself riding with my mtb training partner, Ian Spivak, of the Bike Doctor team. At the end of the 1st lap, I looked over to see Dylan about 45 seconds behind us.
|Dylan chasing (and passing) the pro field|
My Spark was awesome for these efforts. I put it into climb mode for the ascents and full open for the descents. It's like I was riding two different bikes - a climbing bike and a descending bike.
|Jeff heading out for another lap with Ian - Photo Credit: Gwadzilla (http://www.gwadzilla.blogspot.com/)|
I slowed up a bit to try and get Ian to chase Cam (I didn't want to chase at that point!) and we three rode down the next descent together and to the base of the final rocky climb. Ian put in a tremendous attack and rode away from me and Cam, quickly putting 15 seconds on us. I looked over at Cam who said he was cooked: it was up to me to chase Ian. I gave it everything I had -- so hard I was seeing black spots and cognition was starting to fail...
I caught Ian after the rocky climb and on a flattish section before the final descent. I passed on the outside and blew into the final descent. The Spark 900 RC worked like a dream. I floated through the muck, over rocks and fallen trees and came out the other side of the descent with a 10 second gap.
I locked the front and rear suspension out and sprinted for the finish for all I was worth and had enough time to give a victory salute before the finish.
Cam came in just a bit behind for 3rd.
Zack had an equally great day in the pro field, finishing 8th and Mike is just now getting back into training after a winter spent renovating his house, and finished 11th.
|Pro Men's Results|
|Jeff and Dylan Post-Race|
|Cat 1 Open Men's Results|
|Cat 1 50+ Men's Results|
|Pro Men's Podium (Jeff 1st, Cam 3rd)|
|Cat 1 Open Podium (Dylan 1st)|
|Cat 1 55+ Podium (Jay 2nd)|
A very big thanks this week to our team sponsors, in particular:
- Continental Tires - Zero flats, no slow leaks, fast rolling and tons of traction
- Fizik Saddles - Comfortable for a long day in the saddle, light weight and fit to how you ride
Next up is the Bike Line MASS series event at Fair Hill. Hope to see you there!
Here's my data from Strava: