Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fine Trails

Oh, what a nice weekend of trail riding. I had two fine days of riding some very nice trails and I didn’t even get all that muddy. In addition to the trails being in good shape, the weather seems like it is starting to come around now, too. Thank Goodness!

On Saturday, I did the inaugural Wisp XC Challenge put on by ABRA Racing at the Wisp Ski Resort in McHenry, MD. I haven’t race at Wisp since the mid-nineties, but I remembered the trails being pretty rocky and technical on the resort property. While there were a few sections of technical riding on the new 8 mile long Wisp Course, most of it was fairly smooth and fast. I love riding twisty, fast single track and there was definitely some good stuff at Wisp, along with a good mix of types of trails, too.

The race started fast. There was a short prologue loop which then led to the mostly downhill starting part of the course. It was hard to maintain position on my single speed on this fast section, but somehow I managed to stay in the top ten riders for the first few miles of the races. Once the climbing started, I worked my way up to fourth place overall and the second single speed spot behind Montana Miller.

Montana was pushing his big and ever constant 38x20 gear, which I figured would be a little too steep for this course. By mid part on the second of three laps, I caught Montana and was able to get a nice gap over him on the long climb to the start/finish line. I stayed smooth and fast on the third lap and ended-up taking the single speed win, in third place overall.

Before starting the race at Wisp, I did an entire lap of the course to check out the conditions and to get in some extra training miles. Knowing what to expect on a fast XC course is always helpful to me and it was definitely a big help at this race, too. I enjoyed the trails at Wisp so much that after the race I did another 8 mile loop to cool down and to enjoy the trails at a more comfortable pace. All in all, it was definitely a nice day of trail riding and racing at Wisp.

On Sunday, I went to North Park and did three hours of riding on the nicely flowing single track there. I think the North Park trails are some of the best around for training. There is just a nice variety of everything at the park and nothing too severe to break-up the body or the bike.

With all the rain in the Pittsburgh Area lately, it sure has been awhile since I had two nice days of trail riding near home. Hopefully, that is beginning to change and I can spend more time on dirt than on the road. Speaking of trail riding, I will be headed to Mountain View Arkansas this coming weekend to do NUE Series Race #2, the Syllamo 125. From what I understand, this race is almost entirely comprised of technical single track. Hopefully all the fine trail riding completed this weekend will help me ride the trails at Syllamo just a little bit smoother. Be sure to check back next week for my Syllamo 125 Race Report.

Happy Trails, Gerry

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