To say this season has had benign cross racing weather, might be an understatement. The western part of Pennsylvania had a beautiful fall. The temperatures were mild and for the most part it was very dry. Most falls are not like this in this area, which makes cross racing a lot more difficult.
This week the weather took a pretty drastic change, which included getting a lot of rain and falling temperatures. The colder weather eventually even brought some long awaited for snow to the region. As a matter of fact, my local ski resort, 7 Springs, was able to make enough snow this past week to open for skiing this Saturday.
Since I can never do enough skiing, I had to make the short trip up to the mountain and do some early season turns. There were only a few slopes open, but it felt good to do some linked “S” turns down the mountain again. And, for the majority of the snow being of the man-made variety, the snow conditions were actually pretty good. 7 Springs is going to close during the mid-week to make more snow and do some grooming of the slopes, but will open up again next weekend. In the meantime, I may need to go up there one day this week to do some renegade runs with my backcountry skis. For some reason, skiing down the mountain is a lot more fun after putting out the effort to ski up it.
So, I got my first skiing tracks made for the season this weekend and as an added bonus, I also got to race my cross bike in the snow for the first time this cross season as well at the Raccoon Township Firehall Race. I did okay at the race, but crashed way too many times to do really well. I also used my single speed cross bike during the race because I thought it would be the better choice considering the mud, snow and cold temperatures. While the single speed was definitely the sturdiest bike choice, it definitely is a slower bike than my geared cross bike. But, my bike finished the race in one piece and without any mechanical issues whatsoever, so I am happy about that. Plus, it is always much easier to clean up a single speed after a race with nasty conditions than it is to clean a geared bike, so this made my SS choice even better for me.
There is one last local cross race next Sunday, which is at Raccoon Twp. Park. Considering that the long range forecast is calling for more cold temps and snow, I am sure this race will be as tricky as the race was today. I will more than likely do this last cross race of the season, but I must admit it was awfully hard staying off of the mountain today. I guess that I just need to remember how much bike racing will be missed in a month or so when the preregistration deadline comes around for the race later this week. I am sure that I will have many opportunities to make first tracks with my skis this winter after racing is done.
Happy Trails, Gerry
Thanks again to Benjamin Stephens for another fine photo.