Steel City Enduro

Crossing the Walt Whitman into Philly.

Crossing the Walt Whitman into Philly.

This past weekend I headed out to the Steel City Enduro held in Bethlehem, PA. The course was held in the Walking Purchase Park which is a nice patch of land located along the Lehigh Valley river. Heading out in the morning it was looking cloudy from the rains the night before but it was due to clear where I was headed.

Reports from locals the day before included heavy rain which would make this course slick on the rocks and greasy throughout. All a part of racing, we all had to deal with those conditions. The tough part was the high humidity for the day. We all wound up drenched at the end of the day.

Expo area for the Steel City Enduro.

Expo area for the Steel City Enduro.

Race Time

Well I did it…jumped up to the pro category for this one. No looking back now, I can get used to the lavish lifestyle of racing in the pro cat…the free massages, limos and beer that flows like water. Wait, I’m sorry…the heat and humidity must have gotten to me yesterday. (None of those things existed)

The course was made up of some flowy single track with very rocky terrain, some boulder heavy trails and a lot of baby heads littered throughout. I was curious how I’d do riding blind on THIS course. Riding a course site unseen is a hot button issue in enduro but a tough one to really enforce…especially on a trail system like this one that is in a city that a lot of riders have access to. Except me of course, Bethlehem is a 2+hr drive for me, so not really that convenient and I never made it out there to pre-ride with others. No biggie…it was my first enduro of the year and I was using it as a primer for the USAC Super D nationals next week. I believe most of the guys ahead of me have ridden this course multiple times.

I warmed up with my fellow NJ bud, Jeff Lenosky so I got the course run down from him. His notes were good but I think I just held back a little too much. Looking back I think I could have shaved 30sec-1min off of all stages, especially stage 4. I slipped during a climb on stage 4 and bobbled towards the down slope side of the hill which stopped me in my tracks.

I rode the course with Brice Shirbach (www.fattirefests.com) and Burke Saunders, both great riders, we had a good time cracking jokes along the way. This is how it should be, we ride hard when we have to, then get back to the casual atmosphere of enduro. Riding with these guys certainly made the day much better!
The water and Popsicle stop after stage 3 (boulder trail) was a very nice touch, well done VMB!

The experience was good over-all, nothing like actually racing to make you realize what and where you could improve for next time.

Results

Below is a shot of the pro men’s results for the day. A stacked field yesterday with Aaron Snyder coming out on top.

Pro Mens results - Steel City Enduro

Pro Mens results – Steel City Enduro

Some photos of the event, check out the boulders! This is one of the eventual winner, Aaron Snyder. http://photos.lehighvalleylive.com/4424/gallery/steel_city_enduro_2013_held_at_salisbury_walking_purchase_park/index.html#/3

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