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2008LehighMTB

Lehigh ECCC Race Septemer 2008
By Trevor Booz

So me and 3 others made our way to Lehigh University's Mountain Top campus for the ECCC Mt bike season opener XC race. All day Friday it had been raining all day into the night, so needless to say the ground was soaked and everything was very slippery. The attendance at the race for all schools was very high, with the usual UVM, UConn, UNH, and all those other New England schools as well as Penn State, Kutztown, Rutgers, and some of the other local areas. Didn't see any other Philly teams unfortunately though. The Men's C started off the day with Drexel being represented by a new rider, Nick Kuzmyak. I had talked him into racing when I met him over the summer and it was great to see some new Mt Bikers on the team. He had a pretty good race, with the wet slippery rocks/logs/everything and only platform pedals as well as this being his first race he managed to complete the 6 or so mile lap in 20th place out of 40 entries, congratulations Nick for a great first race ever especially on one of the most technical places to ride in SE PA with super slippery and slick conditions.

Now for the Men's B and Woman's A. Myself and Mark Stevenson entered the Men's B race and Courtney Reid entered the Women's A race. Each race consisted of 2 6 or so mile laps of the rugged terrain of South Mountain Bethlehem. As we had all expected, the start was the most hectic part of this race. I think someone really needs to reconsider reorganizing this race's start, as the past two years I have done it it has just turned into one gigantic bottleneck that basically screws anyone over with a couple minute loss in time if you end up not in the first row of the starting line. For those who are unfamiliar with the course, you start in a wide grassy area lined up about 10 people wide and 4 rows deep. In less than 100 yards this grassy area turns into a 1 person wide opening between a fence and a huge rock with it being close to impossible to squeeze two wide through here. After this point the course goes downhill on what I would consider a 1.5 track, not quite single but not quite double, for about 1/4 mile until you hit a semi technical uphill. Well seeing as the crowds were still bottlenecked going downhill this semi technical uphill turned into a run uphill when it was easily ridable. The race then proceeded on another downhill through some technical rock sections and very loose soil (where my front wheel washed out and I ate sh*t, scraped up my knees, and lost about 10 positions from the pack). At about 1 mile into the course the pack started spreading out as we entered the very technical fairly level section. After this you hit some rolling power lines and by then it was a comfortably spread out pack. Upon completing the power line section everyone realizes, wow I have been going downhill for an awfully long time, when is the uphill coming? Well the "lungbuster" climb forces you into that granny gear to hopefully power up the next hill, most people ended up walking but that was their loss as I just pedaled on by. This climb goes on for a while, there are some more super techical rocky sections, short climbs, ect, until you reach the switchbacks. At the end of each lap everyone is faced with about 10 switchbacks, some littered with rock gardens while others with only a few roots. This climb seems to go on forever but it did provide some awesome passing opportunities. I know on the final lap I passed about 6 people here which was awesome. At the top of the switchback you get back to the starting line and prepare for a second lap.

Mark, Courtney, and I had ridden here about 2 weekends ago, and we did not nearly have as much trouble making it through the course as we did on Saturday. The wet conditions created a powder like coating from the soil on EVERYTHING, I can't remember the last time that every single rock, root, and log I hit made me slip. So many foot dabs that day, I dont know how more people managed to avoid major wipeouts.

So the results for the XC race were as follows:

  • Men's C
    • 20th out of 40 - Nick Kuzmyak - I believe it was about 52 minutes?
  • Men's B
    • 4th out of 32 - Mark Stevenson - 1 hr and about 22 min
    • 9th out of 32 - Trevor Booz - 1 hr and about 27 minutes
  • Women's A
    • 5th out of 11 - Courtney Reid - I think she said 1 hour and about 45

minutes?

I would have to say Drexel put together a good showing for XC, I didn't do short track because I didn't think anyone else from Drexel (besides Joe but he was super busy all day) was going to be there to chill with. So if anyone did - to be continued....

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Page last modified on March 02, 2009, at 12:45 PM