Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pat's Peak MTB Festival (NH)

I was pretty excited for the second race of my road trip at Pat's Peak because my uncle Dan and friend Amelia were coming along to cheer and take photos, and given that it was held a ski area there was sure to be a lot of climbing. The course consisted of three five-mile laps that included a mix of single track, logging roads, and lots and lots of uphill. From the starting line, you basically went uphill for 20 minutes and then descended for 10 minutes, gaining about 850 feet per lap.

Lining up with the 10 other starters, I was feeling pretty good about my changes given how I was riding up hill the week before. As the race started I fell in behind a dude wearing red booty covers who set a good pace for about 10 minutes but then started to slow up. As the race dropped out of the technical, rocky and rooty single track onto the open, sunbaked ski slopes, I picked up the pace a bit and moved into the lead of the race. By the top of the long, open climb that had me struggling in my easiest gear, I could see one guy behind me was catching up. I recognized him as Toby, a guy who I know is fast and who I used to play soccer with back in junior high and high school. As the grinding climb turned into a swoopy, rutted descent, Toby quickly caught up to me and rode a few feet behind for the remainder of that lap before dropped me at the top of the climb on the second lap.

In the third lap, I was caught by a two guys from 30-39 age category, but was able to hold onto second place until the finish line. Coming into the finish I thought I was going to get caught by a guy who was gaining on me (see picture at left). I burried myself to not get passed by him only to find out that he also was in the 30-39 age group. Ah well, it made the racing more fun.

It is interesting to see how at both this race and at the Coyote Hill race, there were some very tough technical rock crossings or sketchy high speed waterbar crossings, but unlike in the mid-Atlantic, there seems to just be the assumption that everyone will be fine riding this stuff. Dangerous sections in both of these races were not marked with "XXX" signs as in many mid-Atlantic races. Here are some pictures from the race (thanks to my uncle Dan for shooting some great shots!):

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