May 01, 2014

Bike Line Spring XC @ Fair Hill - Race Report - 2014

Date: April 27, 2014
Race: Bike Line Spring XC at Fair Hill - MASS Series Opener
Location: Elkton MD
Conditions: Fast and hard packed
Riders: Open/Elite- Cam (1st), Jeff (8th), Nick (10th), Mike (22nd), Adam (38th); Masters 40+ Elite -  Nate (6th)

This was the first official team race of the year. Beautiful conditions for a race.  Cool, with trails that had seen a little rain earlier in the week, making the dirt tacky and mostly dust free.  An extremely blue sky.  Vibrant green grass.  Springtime, finally!

It was great to see Bart at the event with the Scott Sprinter van.  He had a Spark RC for folks to check out.

We lined up with 50 or more riders in the combined Elite and Elite Master's fields.  The field was so large that we extended over the road, into the field on the side, just to have enough room.

Lined up behind Cam
As usual in this race, the start was very fast from the gun.  We headed along a newly graded gravel road (it was kind of like riding on marbles), across a stream, then into singletrack.  The race is generally won or lost in the first sprint for the singletrack as the course is so fast, drafting works.  If you're not in the lead group and can catch that draft, you lose tons of time.

Sprinting from the start
Already back in 15th place, just 15 seconds off the start - I should have used a larger chainring!
Cam and Nick had a great start and got into the lead group.  Jeff was just a bit off in the next group.  Mike, Adam and Nate got hung up in the lead-in to the singletrack entrance.

Fighting it out for placing in the first singletrack section
Following the wheel into one of the few open field sections - off the the left, in the distance, is the lead pack
Trying to pass was tough. The wind was fairly strong, and heading into the new (and extremely green grass) was so slow, it was very hard to get around anyone.

Jeff got hung up in the first lap and Nick got caught up by a bobble by the other riders in the lead group of seven, kicking him out of their draft and adrift until Jeff's group of six riders caught up to him at the end of the first lap.

Cam's group was about a minute up on the Jeff/Nick group after the first lap.  Mike was riding his usual, start slow and turn in faster and faster laps, strategy.  Jeff took off after the Cam group going into lap 2 and eventually worked up to Jordan from the Giant Off-Road team (Jordan had flatted) at the end of the second lap.

It took a bit for Jeff to catch up to Jordan, but it was a good wheel to follow
In the third and final lap, Cam attacked his group and turned in the fastest lap of the day on the final lap, winning by about 30 seconds.  Behind him the lead pack exploded with the riders who had been riding with Cam lost between 30 seconds to nearly 3 minutes in the wake of his attack.

Captured the podium shot just a moment too late
Jeff couldn't quite come around Jordan in the final sprint and ended up 8th.  Nick turned in a very fast lap on his last lap to pass six riders and finish 10th in a 3-up sprint.  Mike rolled through in 22nd.

Nate missed out on 5th place by .1 second in a tight sprint for the line.

All, and all, a perfect start to the mountain bike season.  Couldn't have asked for better weather or conditions.

Most of the team made the race, but John, Ross and Zack were at other events and it will be good to see them and Dylan and Scottie at future races.

John was at the Chain Stretcher H2H series opener and riding in the top 10, until a mechanical took him out of the running.

Ross placed 37th at the Cohutta 100, the second stop on the National Ultra Endurance Series.

Zack was riding the rocky ridges and valleys in the Shenandoah Valley in the Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville long-pull ride.

Dylan was finishing up final exams at Brevard before heading back to Virginia this week.

Full results from the Fair Hill race, including lap times, are available here.


Mike riding some fun trails at White Clay Park after the race (only a few miles away from the race venue)

Next up for the team is a split between the MASS Iron Hill event, Michaux Maximus (rocks galore) and the H2H Wawayanda Spring Cleaning series event.

- Mike & Jeff

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