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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:57 am
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Location: Sutton
Real Name (public): Brandon
Northeast Root 66 - 16th Annual Hodges Village Dam MTB Race & MA State Championship! 8/7/2011

Oxford, MA

Cat 1 Men 30-39 (4 Laps)

11:30 am down pouring

I felt pretty good coming into this race. It was my 2nd ride after my 100 miler last weekend so I wasn't sure how my legs would respond. It turns out they still worked but had to readjust to the redline type racing of 2hr xc's.

I felt good off the start in the top three into the first turn but I knew it was going to take a while for my legs to wind up and to get into the flow. It took until lap 2 to really get some steam going.

The crowd in the parking lot was looking for shelter wherever they could; in the back of pickup trucks and suv's; under canopies; and in the woods. I heard several people say they weren't going to warm up since they didn't want to be wet for a minute longer than needed.

Heavy, heavy rain soaked the trails and created foot plus deep puddles through the trail. As the day went on the corners became slicker and deeper. My Racing ralph tires were not ideal for this and I slid off the trail more than once. My Nobby nics would have been a better choice but I was too lazy to remount them tubeless. A dedicated mud wheel set is on the wish list now.

As only my 3rd or 4th Expert race I knew there would be stiff competition. I was hoping to place #1 but realistically in the top 5. I'm still not sure how I placed since I had to leave early before lap times were up. There are some very fast guys in the class and I was never able to get the top couple of guys in sight after the hole shot.

All things considered the Bicycle Alley sponsored race had a good turnout. A bunch of die hard riders live in Central Mass and it showed. We have a fantastic trail system in many of the abutting towns and we ride rain or shine.

Several of my riding buddies were racing including John Beaupre (fresh off the Pan Mass challenge) riding his single speed Superfly, Matt Chandler taking 3rd in the Cat 2 (nice work!), and Steve Witkus, a fellow Bikeman.com teammate and surefire podium finisher taking 2nd in his class on his Karate Monkey Single speed.

Smoked brake pads, water in the frame, and internally routed shifter cables in need of adjustment are a few of the side effects of racing in the rain and mud. I curse the additional maintenance and costs - but to be honest I like racing in the mud, although more so with mud tires. In fact I like racing no matter what the conditions. Just put me on the bike and say go.

Numbers -
Distance: 22.5
Time: 2:14
Average heart rate: 181
Max heart rate: 191
Elevation gain/loss: 133/132
Avg moving speed: 10.1
Place: ?


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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:05 am
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Real Name (public): Steve S
Nice work Brandon (and John and Matt)

Having already trashed my bike once at Moody Park I was sooooooooooo happy to have not been racing yesterday. Pat and I were finishing our ride in the 11:00 am down pour. What a fookin mess

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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:47 am 
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Thanks Steve. I just heard back from Root 66 - placed 2nd...wish I could have stayed for the podium but work calls


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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:52 am 
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Location: The woods of Sutton
Real Name (public): John B
Way to go Brandon. Looks like the Bums are becoming a force to be reckoned with around the racing circuit.

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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:57 am
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Location: Sutton
Real Name (public): Brandon
I have absolutely no doubt that all technical skill in gnar can be attributed to BUM (and Commerce) rides. I have not come across gnarly, rocky, off camber, terrain like we regularly ride on any other trail systems. I think a lot of people take it for granted but it definitely builds skill and confidence to go fast through the rough stuff, react after deflecting off boulders and logs, judge gaps between tight trees, and to take a fall (or in my case multiple falls) without breaking bones.


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