Some of you reading this might be wondering why write about Monster Cross nearly a month after the race took place. The explanation is simple though. Trails in the North East are slowly recovering from a brutal winter and many local early season races have been postponed or cancelled leaving options for racing pretty limited. This week we’d like to highlight a recount of Monster Cross as told by our fellow Grassroots rider, Lester Brown:
Monster Cross (MX) has become one of those local events, the type that quickly transforms into new legend. Set at Pocahontas State Park (PSP) in Chesterfield, Virginia (just outside the capital city of Richmond), the venue occupies approximately 8,000 acres of land with three lakes and 80 miles of trail (hiking, biking, multi-use, equine).
Over the years I have ridden countless hours at PSP, a great place to log base miles. It is during those long sessions where I truly get to let it all melt away. All that is left is the breath in your chest, two wheels and your will. I live for those zen-like moments in the winter and always emerge clearer (and hungry). In fairly stark contrast, Monster Cross brings this venue alive with a field full of riders to rival that iconic scene in Braveheart. This year would be no exception with over 700 participants across a dozen or so categories. I use this event as a early season gauge and a chance to have fun with a bunch of riders. My expectations were moderate at best especially having been crashed out the previous day in a road race in Williamsburg, VA (150m to the line going from 40mph to zero). Most of that damage was to myself with a good patch of road rash on my hip. (By the way, if you don’t own stock in Tegaderm, make the investment.) I arrived on site with an hour or so till start just looking to stay relaxed. My local Giant dealer, Coqui Cyclery
, was on-site with a tent and mechanic support so I setup my bike, feed station and sorted nutrition for the event. The staging area is located by a boat ramp next to a field that quickly turned into a mud pit. [Secret Strategy: Don’t line up early for this event unless you want to play a game of foot down during the roll out.]
The promoter gave us final instructions and siren send off with a neutralized roll out to the entrance of the fire road.
The race was divided into a 21- and 9 mile loop intersecting at the start/finish. By the time you finish the 9 mile loop and remember you have to repeat the 21 miler, the monster starts breathing on your neck. Feeling fairly good I sat in with the lead group for the first 10 miles until the pace was lifted on one of the larger hills. I decided to stay a bit more conservative but found I was able to put down good power. Being an mountain bike and cross friendly event, there were a few race casualties with the worst offenses:
*double flat for a rider in the lead group
*lost PowerLink on a single speed guy (he would later fix the chain and pass 213 riders to finish strong)
Our group of six riders worked together throughout the first lap as we saw each others strengths and set good tempo. The second loop went well until the final road section were I started to cramp. Slowing my pace and stretching some I was able to get back into a group and finish strong.
The post race made things worth while with catered food, a beer garden and bright, warm sunshine. Even better was having the chance to meet some of the new Giant family as Jordan K. and David F. made the trip down. Both guys were in good spirits following a solid race with a talented pro/expert field. Even better was the chance to see the Anthem Advanced 27.5 Team 0 up close. The bike is beautiful and made me excited for mine to arrive in the coming week. Final result was 6th place in the Men’s Mountain Bike category which was an solid improvement from last year at 10th place. Thanks to the following people for making the day a great one:
Michael DeLano – Giant rep and awesome guy
Current Soundtrack: Coldplay – Paradise