Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MASS #2, the Michaux Trail Cup

This past weekend I raced at the second Mid-Atlantic Super Series Endurance Race, the Michaux Trail Cup. I figured doing a tough and technical race in Michaux would also be a good gauge of my fitness with the first race of the NUE Series, the Cohutta 100, happening in two weeks. The Michaux Trail Cup ended-up being the top-notch test I needed and more than that, it was just a super fun race. 

One of the many fine trails of the day.
The Michaux Trail Cup was a completely new course from other races held in the park and Zach Adams did an excellent job designing a very challenging endurance course. The course had a good mix of technical single track and fire road. It seemed like just when my body was about completely worked over from the rocky trails, I’d pop out onto a fire road and get a chance to relax a little. The technical 42 mile course was made even more difficult by the 5900 feet of climbing covered over the route. But, the course also had many awesome descents to reward the riders for all their climbing effort.

Like the first MASS endurance race held this season, the single speed group was separated at the start from other groups. This time we started in the third position behind the open men and women classes with about 1 minute separating each group. Before the first steep and technical descent, our group had already caught the open women racers. I picked my way through all of them pretty easily, except for one rider, Cheryl Sornson. Cheryl was on fire and she stuck to my rear wheel like it was a road race. Even when we started catching and working our way through the open men riders, she stayed right with me. Heck, she even took a couple of pulls on the fast fire road sections where having a geared bike was a better tool than my SS.

Eventually, Cheryl and I cleared just about all the other riders in the race and when I’d look over my shoulder there was nobody within sight of us. I decided with such a good gap it would be wise to push hard on the climbs and ride the technical stuff more conservatively, so I didn't injury myself or break something on my bike a couple of weeks before the NUE Series began. Riding this way gives me a chance to have some fun on the trails rather than just pounding through the technical stuff. With about 10 miles to go, Cheryl dropped off my pace a bit, but she only finished around 3 minutes off my time by the end of the race. All I can say about her performance at this race is that the other ladies of the NUE Series better be ready for Cheryl this year!  Additionally, I need to say that everyone should keep an eye on the young overall race winner, Dylan Johnson.  He is riding very well right now and he will certainly be in the mix with the lead riders at the NUE Series.

At the finish, I knew the SS win was mine, but I was surprised to learn I had actually placed second overall, even with the 3 minute starting deficit over the open men. If you missed doing the Michaux Trail Cup this year, please do yourself a favor and put it on the “to do” list for next year. I enjoyed everything about the race from the awesome trails to the pig roast dinner held after the event. It was definitely another fine event put on by Zach!

Happy Trails… Gerry

Photo Credits: Riding - Tori Sulewski 
                        Podium - Karen Potter


  1. Well done Pfluginator. Another season begins!

  2. you make me blush. It was awesome to ride with you!

  3. Congrats on another win, Gerry! I had a *different* experience out there on Sunday. I missed a turn and rode miles into the forest before I realized I was lost. Then it took me over two hours to find my way back, and I cramped so bad that I still can't walk down stairs three days later. It was fun until then, though. (Although I did question my decision to run a rigid fork more than once!) Again -- congrats!

  4. Thanks, 1speed, Kid, and Churtle. 1speed, Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Michaux is a big place and I've heard stories of many riders getting lost out there over the years. But, if you're goning to be lost, it is at least a beautiful area to ride.