Really tough effort at the Mayhem Mountain Bike Race in Southern NJ. It was a treat to have summer weather and dry trails though. Also amazing to FINALLY ride my JoplinCC on single track. It felt so smooth through the twisty trails, hooked up even through slippery pine needles.

I had a great start and hung on the main group through the first single track. Another rider made a fast pass from behind to take the lead and I jumped onto her wheel on the way by. I was able to hang on to her until the trail opened up onto fire road. I wasn’t able to match her power as she hammered off. Along this same road another rider caught me. I hung in 3rd place for 3 laps of non-stop pedaling and dropped off the podium on the last lap, I didn’t have anything more to give.

This race course is so unique – the elevation seems minimal, but the effort is brutal – it is constant pedaling – with sections of sand and soft loom that really suck the power out already drained legs. The single track is flowy and twisty without any rocks, but there are a few rooty sections, particularly in the beginning. There are a couple bridge crossings, with one in particular that has a large step up. There is also one really steep climb at the end of the lap that really tests your ability to dig in when your exhausted.

It was great to get through the race feeling like I put down a steady hard effort. I also worked on varying my riding position (which helped minimize the screaming lower back pain that this type of riding tends to bring about) and kept my vision up as the foggy race brain set in — all things I’m consciously working on this year.

All in all, a great season opener.

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