Driving up the lane of the beautiful Oesterling Farm for the 6th annual Marysville festival weekend you can feel the excitement in the air. You are immediately captured by a nostalgic smell, one that reminds you of past victories, defeats, training rides, countless hours of trail maintenance, and a heavy dose of fun all rolled into one. Let me assure you, whether you are a supporter or racer, Mike Kuhn does not disappoint when it comes to fun and the Oesterling family know how to make you feel comfortably at home.
There was a fresh new format for this year's festival weekend. The emphasis was on team and solo endurance racing. Mountainside Ski and Sports represented with 2 strong teams: Mountainside Racing A: Andy Hoover, Sally McClain, and Craig Thompson rocked the Tres Coed Division, and Mountainside Racing #1: Mike Laub, Mike Funk, and Joel Moats crushed the Tres Men Division. Janice Morris, who is deathly allergic to poison ivy, opted to sit this one out, but supported the team with food and cheers.
The Friday Night Time Trial, which in previous years was a 3 mile individual event, entailed a 7 mile loop that racers had to start and finish together with their teammates. Both Mountainside teams took off around 10:30 p.m. The long hot night ended with a cool breeze as Mountainside Racing A finished 1st in their division and Mountainside #1 finished 2nd in the Trio Men's category.
Saturday brought a 12 hour relay event over an 8+ mile course. It was the traditional technically difficult tight, twisty, rooted, log fest that we have come to love and call our "home turf." It came complete this year with some nice new tree tunnels, bees, snakes, heat, and a hefty dose of poison (excuse me while I pause to scratch). It had all the makings of a magnificent battlefield. And oh what an epic battle ensued between the Mountainside A coed trio and Zach Adam's blistering fast juniors team: Cycle Sports/Fast Forward Racing, which included Gunnar Bergey, Madison Matthews, and Jenny Lewis. Each team rotated racers, with Craig graciously accepting the role of Lemans start Champ (again!).
While the men trio of Mountainside #1 were cranking out incredibly fast laps and showing the venue how we roll with domination style, the Mountainside A team traded leads back and forth with the CS/FF juniors throughout the day. It was around lap 11, with the CS/FF in the lead by 10 minutes, that they decided to go for the win and made a tactical decision to pull their female racer, Jenny Lewis, from the race to let the guys try to solidify their lead. After 12 laps completed, Craig's girl friend Nicole, who thankfully kept the team organized with the clock and ready at the start, made a quick calculation and reported that if we wanted the win Craig will need to finish his 5th and final lap at a wicked fast pace in order to have time to send out another rider. Meantime Sally and Andy drew straws to decide who races the last lap if Craig makes it back in time. Andy came up with the short end of the stick which erupted into another kind of race...finding lights for Andy to race with. A big thank you to Rob Lichtenwalner and Lupine Lights for the helmet loaner, however, Andy insisited on a handle bar position. With 10 minutes left on the clock, Jr. Madison took off for his 6th and hopeful victory lap, 4 people scrambled to frantically attach a couple dozen zip ties to convert the helmet mount to a handle bar mount for Andy, and finally at the start we anxiously awaited Craig's arrival. Super charged on Red Bull, Craig was able to deliver and he blazed into the finish with 2 minutes to spare. Andy rocketed out for the dog fight to chase down Madison who was rumored to have his own light trouble. Pleads and glowers from desperate junior mom's to, "Call off your dogs, they're only kids!!" went ignored as the super fast "kid" surfaced through the spectator camp still holding the lead. It wouldn't be long though before Andy zoomed into view looking stronger and faster than the junior. We waited with bated breath during the next 10 minutes until the racers once again entered the spectator camp. This time it was Andy in the lead and huge cheers erupted from the Mountainside base camp. Although those cheers were quickly quelled when we realized Madison had cracked under the pressure, and with his supporters at his side he made a slow and painful walk back to his base camp. No words of encouragement could persuade him to finish, after 12+ hours and 51/2 laps he was ready to put his feet up, drink a soda, and chill. It was a valiant effort for the CS/FF juniors, and as they say, "Better luck next time kids!!" With 12 hours and 49 minutes on the clock, Andy cruised in to give Mountainside A team the victory with 14 laps. Team Mountainside #1 also held onto their domination factor by completing the most laps out of any team for the day with 15 laps in 12:28. Yes folks, that's how we roll! Truly a day worth toasting to!
Sunday offered the ever grueling STXC race. A 30 minute timed event that winds you around the pond and farmstead in a spectator friendly flurry. Only a few Mountainside team racers had the strength and courage to attempt this final event. All did so with a respectable finish time, Craig 7th/20 in the sport division, and Mike Laub 11th and Joel 13th out of 21 expert racers. The McClain boys even got in on the fun by racing each other around the STXC course in a vicious sibling smack down, with the younger coming away with the win.
Putting the cherry on the top for the weekend was the ever popular Huffy Toss. The winner of this event becomes a legend of strength, someone to fear in a dark alley. Beware of him on Red Bull, but our very own Craig "the new guy" Thompson took this bragging right home.
Please, don't miss out on the excitement next year! Pencil on your calendar the Marysville Festival Weekend for the end of June 2010. Come out and cheer on Mountainside Racing. You'll be greeted by big smiles and kindred spirits everywhere you turn.
Thanks to all our sponsors who make the team and the fun possible!!