Double-Down Weekend: MASS Relay & Sugar Hill XC
The season has definitely started with this past couple weekends packed with races for Giant Northeast.
Our team has been mainly limited to conversation through email and other social media. The International Intergalactic Global Open MTB Relay of the Multiverse in Marysville, PA proved to be an opportunity for many members of the team met for the first time face-to-face. The name of this event is probably the most challenging thing about it. Otherwise known as the MASS Team Relay, it is a 4 hour relay race with lots of emphasis on fun. Being part of the Mid-Atlantic Super Series for quite a few years now we had good expectations for this year’s race. It turned out to be no exception. Unlike a traditional cross country race where strongest riders and pro licenses dictate the overall fastest lap times and overall victor, rather arbitrary handicapping make this anyone race.
Giant Northeast rolled out three snazzy-fast teams to the relay:
Team Anthem: Andy, Jordan, Ryan and Jess
Jess was a strong anchor for Team Anthem making clockwork of the 3ish mile loop
Team Maestro: Joël, Wendi, Levi, and Jamie
Levi staying focused after riding one of the longer meadow climbs in the course
Team Trance: Jed, Mike, and April
April was ecstatic to ride her new race rig for the first time at the team relay
Things started with a bang with an old man firing a muzzle-loader to set off the race. Andy on Team Anthem quickly snatched the hole shot. The fours hours following turned out to be some great racing overall for the team as we experienced no mechanicals and overall pretty consistent lap times.
The course was muddy, twisty, and slow; all that with tons of logs to ride over which made for a great early season workout.
Besides a few short and steep descents/climbs,there was not really much overall elevation change. After a lap or two it was impossible to tell who was in the lead anymore. But there were lots of costumes to amuse you…unicorns, mermaids, Gumby, Evil Knievel. You name it, they were there!
Who knew a guy with such flexibility could ride a bike?
With the complicated point and handicap system in effect, our Giant Northeast relay teams final standings weren’t the most impressive. But, judging on the fun that we all had, the relay was a huge success!
AFC Sugar Hill XC
April, Ryan and Jordan made the weekend a double header joining their teammate Dave at the AFC Sugar Hill XC in Patapsco State Park, MD. Dave had a great start winning a prime at the top of the large climb at the start of the race.
Dave on his way to claim his bottle of wine
Dave unfortunately had a mechanical later in the race and was not able to finish.
Ryan and Jordan however, maintained consistent laps even with all the climbing and technical riding. They both finished and had a strong early season performance.
Good, clean, lines were a must for the fast technical course
April turned out to be the true Giant Northeast champion this weekend. She cleaned up in the second ever Cat 2 race at Sugar Hill, taking the bottle of wine prime on the first climb and the overall win by 5 minutes. April had a great time commenting about her second ride on her new bike and her overall women’s Cat 2 win:
The trails on top were dry and fast and and I had a swell and swoopy time of it. I didn’t know how to pace myself, so I just pedaled hard when I saw open trail and braked hard when I needed to. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly I could slow my bike down when necessary! I was laughing out loud. I loved the downhills and technical sections like I’ve never loved them in a race before, and I think the full suspension and larger wheels had something to do with it.
AFC Sugar Hill XC
April: 1 of 12 (11 finishers) in Sport Female
Ryan: 21 of 30 (28 finishers) in Expert Male
Jordan: 5 of 30 (28 finishers) in Expert Male
David: DNF due to a mechanical, but took the prime a top the first hill