April 30th, 2017
This past weekend full-filled an emptiness I’d had for almost 2 months.. no XC races! The last was The Knot, at the beginning of April. After that was prep for the Stage Race. Then the Stage Race. Then, my next planned XC event was to be the Blue Ridge Mountain Bike festival a few weeks ago. Much to my disappointment, there was 100% chance of rain, so I skipped that weekend in trade of another few hard training days. I’ve recently made due with some short track races, but still, not the same
Now, with the beginning of the season well underway, I was excited to get back into it.
Harbison State Forest – Damn near my ‘home trail’, if I’d have to choose one based on proximity and attractiveness for a race. I never miss a race here with it only being an hour up the road
The course starts on a dirt road and doesn’t narrow into the trail for about a mile. The start is usually fast into a 90 degree turn then up the gravel road. At 1040 the pro/cat 1 race starts and i’m 4/5th off the line. Into the first turn (50 yards in) and i’m on the ground
After that, it was mostly playing catch-up for me. I made my way onto the trail and put in a solid effort getting through the pack. This was a two lap, roughly two hour, race. After hour one, I was into 4th. Feeling good at this point and then for the final lap of the race I didn’t see the lead group once.
The two hour grind sent the riders on Harbison’s most prominent trails and heading back to the infamous Spider Woman trail. It includes a large uphill rock garden that most dab a foot here and there to stay upright. Otherwise, the trail was super fast, averaging 12-13mph for the race. Flowy; a creek crossing; some steep climbs.
I managed to get caught by one other rider, putting me back in 5th place coming across the line.
This was a tough race for me; starting dead last, riding the whole race with a broken shoe strap, and playing catch-up for most the race.
stoked happy content with my finish as a second for the South Carolina State Championship. I love coming back to this place year after year. Each time, it feels like a reunion; seeing everyone from both SC and NC.