My first XC race

With a gap in my enduro & Super D race schedule I figured I would sign up for an XC mountain bike race. I had never done one so I planned it as a training day and worked my usual training schedule around the race knowing that I would be pushing my limits. So I headed off to Delaware.

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The race was Ramsey’s Revenge held at the beautiful rolling hills of the Brandywine State Park in Delaware, one of my favorite places to ride! I’ve ridden these trails in the past and knew it would be a challenge.

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Upon arriving I got a sense of seriousness from the other racers. Maybe it was because I was only here to do it as a workout? I remember getting nothing in return when I greeted a fellow racer with a “hey”. He must have had his game face on.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone was as focused, there were a lot of people I got to talk to that were very friendly. I wound up parking next to Angelo Mascelli, the regional SRAM rep. who handily won the CAT2 30-39 age group. I also got to meet a couple of guys from the Ceres Park crew racing for Hangsterfers Lubricants, Erik Goldberg and Robert Garrett. It’s always nice to meet your “friends” from Facebook in person. Both of those guys had great races.

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The Brandywine trails are a great mix of rock gardens, open farm field trails and beautiful single track. As an enduro racer, I find the terrain to be a perfect training ground for our area. For the XC race we’d be covering just about everything. Open field climbs, rocky descents and single track.
The course included a trail that I normally only ride down. Unfortunately the course had us going UP this trail which is aptly named “Lung Buster”, what a challenging climb.
Being an enduro racer I did try to have some fun during one of the downhill sections on my second lap. I attempted to grab a KOM (Strava speak for King Of the Mountain) on a segment from my friend “Lev” but I came up 4sec short. The trail segment is a blast to fly down!

 

All in all it was a fun day, weather was beautiful as you can tell from the photos.

 

Ramsey's Revenge street crossing
The race organizers were nice enough to stop traffic for me! At least I think it was just for me?

Post race notes

Thanks to Dusty and Jenna Burchnall for running a great event!

I’m not going to rule out doing another XC race this year, I can always use the workout. I wound up 14th out of 35 racers in my CAT 2 age group which wasn’t bad. Besides the usual pain from riding hard for 16 miles, I’ll be sure not to forget to grab my gloves before race time. Since my hands tend to sweat a lot, I often bring two pairs of gloves with me on a training ride so that I can maintain a good grip on the handlebars. I brought gloves but didn’t grab them from the car when I set off for the race. I wound up gripping the bars tighter than usual in the race on the fun rocky downhill sections.
I’m not used to going that hard continuously for 16 miles which was a challenge. Having run XC in High School and college I expected to feel some pain during the race. That experiment was fun and I certainly got a great workout but I’ll happily stick with enduro as my race of choice!

*The last two photos by: Paul J. Freeman Photography.

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