Martin, Janice and I raced the Bulldog Rump at Kittatinny State Park in New Jersey this past Sunday. Along with the Greenbriar race in the Spring, this is an AMBC race that is a qualifier for the National Championships at Mt. Snow later in July. It also serves as the NJ State Championship.
This was the second year that I did this race and it is a hard, fast 5.5 mile loop with only about 500 ft of climbing. Last year I crashed in the last half mile and finished second in the Expert Master 40-49 class, about 30 seconds behind, so I was looking for another good challenging race. The start was delayed 30 minutes until 1pm which turned out to be good for me. It allowed me time to pre-ride the second half of the course.
The Experts had 4 laps with the Semipro/Pros doing 5 laps. Racing "age-group" in the USA Cycling events is always a stark contrast to the ultra-competitive MASS Open Elite Class. I was able to get off the line and was first going into the single track. About a mile into the race 4 guys passed me. I was able to hold a good smooth pace and after about a lap and a half I began to feel pretty good. As I picked it up I started to reel in the riders in front of me. By the end of the third lap I was back in first and was fortunate to hold on to the finish.
Martin has been riding great this season and again was competitive in the Semipro/Pro Class. Unfortunately, I knew he was in trouble when I passed him late in the race, plagued with another broken pedal. He was still able to manage a mid-pack finish, I think 13th. Janice, racing an XC event for only the second time this year finished 4th in a strong Expert Women 35+ Class.
One of the highlights of the mountainbiking year starts this Friday at the Oesterling Farm in Marysville. The Stage Race and Festival runs through Sunday. This is always a fun weekend with lots of exciting racing, live music, bonfire and a multitude of things to do. I hope to see everyone there!