Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sandown MTB Challenge

More late season MTB racing!  I love it!  This one seemingly came out of nowhere, hadn't been on the radar at all heading into this weekend and while browsing EFTA for TVR results I noticed Maz has posted that he would be at the Sandown MTB Challenge with the EFTA tent...hmmm.

Initially I thought I was out of luck due to my plans to help Naro on his house this weekend but upon further review I realized that Sandown is just a few towns west of Kensington.  I gave Chris a call to see what time he wanted to get going Saturday.  He said he was looking forward to sleeping in a bit and Noon would be fine.  Race is from 9am-11am...SCORE.

Right around now is when I started making some silly assumptions.  For some reason I'm thinking smaller race, partnered with a little festival they probably want it family friendly so the course will probably be pretty mellow.  I then looked at a really inaccurate topo map and convinced myself the race would be flat and fast.  I threw the 18 tooth on figuring I would need it to keep from spinning out.  Wrong on all counts.

Course had some fast sections but it was also fairly technical in spots, nothing crazy but a few tricky spots requiring full attention.  Also a decent amount of punchy climbing as well as a longer gradual fire road climb that had me climbing very sluggishly with the 18.  I had some issues with the punchy stuff as well because my tires were not handling the grease very well and as soon as I would try and get up and get those 1-2 good power strokes to get momentum for the up and over those strokes would just spin out and I would be running.

I got off to an ok start sitting 3rd behind EFTA regulars Andy Gould and Jesse Taylor.  A few of the DG Cycles guys were yelling "Somebody tell that guy to shift!" at me heading up the first little rise.  Eventually Mark Tucker got by me (per usual) never to be seen again until he half lapped me heading back from the second lollipop loop as I was heading in a few laps later.  A short while later Doug Reid came by (another fast EFTA Sport rider, but could prob be Expert)  I was able to hold his wheel through the back half of the first lap until we came to one of those tricky little sections with a blind bridge hidden behind a tree/rock in a little steep section.  I had not pre-ridden and didn't know it was there.  I was probably riding too close and too fast...Doug called the bridge out as he slowed sharply to make the slight turn.  I came in pretty hot and the braking forces were too much and as soon as my already greased up tire touched the bridge it slid out and I rode off the side to crash fairly spectacularly.

Lost Doug's wheel and then hung out about 1-2mins behind him for the rest of the race in 5th.  Things stayed that way for the remainder of the day.  The 18 was wearing on me and I slowed a little each lap and finally cashed it in after completing 5 as I realized going out for 6 would get me nothing more than more mud.  Andy and Mark came through 1st & 2nd a few minutes later finishing their 6th and were both greater men than I heading out for 7.  My 5 laps was good for 5th.

why am I the only one without SOLO written next to my name???
(pic stolen from Mark

 scored some more pics from Mark & family of me lapping through.  Thanks guys!

The race was pretty well organized for the size of the event.  It's a good spot to facilitate a race.  With some more trail work and a bit more mileage I could see this being an EFTA race.  They would need to eliminate the short 'two-way' section of singletrack but that wouldn't be too hard with just a new small trail put in to turn that lollipop into a full blown loop.  The festival was cool; food vendors and local groups were there as well as a little bluegrass trio complete with banjo and fiddle.

I forgot to request dueling time.

 This area of NH is REALLY into scare crows.  Saw tons on the drive in. Quaint and HORRIFYING

We chatted with the promoter a bit after the race.  She puts on one other race and its coming up on, I believe, Dec 10th at Fort Rock called the Cold Crank Challenge.  That's right a winter MTB race at one of the most technical spots in New England.  I'm not sure if she has any info up online yet but I am intrigued and will be sharing as I learn more.


  1. Anonymous10/24/2011

    Nice report. I came scary-close to slipping off that bridge too. I forgot about the scarecrows, they were all over the place down there.

  2. Anonymous10/24/2011

    Kevin thanks for showing up and letting Lis know that EFTA riders do support all events EFTA or not. I feel this is importent to the sport and helps young promoters such as Lis that their efforts are well worth it. The Cold Crank Challenge at Fort Rock will be the 2nd time there. Last year she had somewhere around 30 racers. We could make this a much more successful race with greater numbers from the EFTA family of racers showing up. Here's a good reason to come "Dawn and Maz" will be racing together after a three year absence from the racing world. Fort rock is our favorite Winter studded place for riding and always was a top spot for racing.

  3. nice job man....that looks like a cool race to leave on the calendar for next year

  4. That scarecrow looks like lindsay lohan had a baby.