Race Report: H2H Bulldog Rump, Tomlinson Run MTB Challenge, and Lester’s Pirate MTB Race
Tomlinson Run MTB Challenge presented by ABRA. New Manchester, WV.
Jamie reports on her race:
“It’s been a while since I raced a legitimate XC course. This week’s race was at Tomlinson Run State Park, located in the northern Panhandle of WV. Unlike the endurance races I have been racing all year, Tomlinson was pretty tame as far as technicality. The course was muddy, as usual, but it lacked the typical rocks and roots that I’m accustomed to riding. It did, however, have a respectable amount of climbing. The main challenge for this race was the relentless heat and humidity that seemed to suck the air right out of my lungs.”
“Lap one pretty much sealed my fate for the day. The course began with a 1 mile climb that eventually leveled out before dropping into a fast downhill. Right away, I noticed that my body wasn’t handling the heat properly. I wasn’t dehydrated necessarily, as I was sure I took all the right measures to fuel properly. But I just didn’t feel right.”
Struggling with the heat and starting to feel queasy, Jamie was eager to cool off on the next downhill. Her line proved treacherous, however, and she crashed hard over a slippery log pile. Despite the heat and bruises, Jamie persevered to the end of the race and finished in second place among the Pro/Open women, thus qualifying her to compete at XC Nationals.
Jamis Bicycles H2H Series: Bulldog Rump presented by Cycle Craft. New Jersey State Championship. Andover, NJ.
The Giant Northeast Off-Road Team was well represented at the 19th Annual Bulldog Rump. Ryan and Tyler made a long trip down from Vermont to attend, while other riders drove in from New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The team’s three New Jersey residents (Jon, Mike, and Wendi) were all in attendance for their State Championship.
Bulldog Rump is a familiar race to many of the Giant Northeast racers. Jake raced Bulldog Rump in his early days as a mountain biker and even crossed paths with a bear during his first Bulldog race. Mike and Wendi formerly raced for Team Bulldog, and they and Abbey have raced Bulldog multiple years.
Race day was warm and sunny, and Wendi described the course as a “dry, fairly fast course filled with short climbs and descents.” Many riders noted that although the course was not very technical, the numerous sharp, pointy rocks required care and attention to line choice.
Abbey and Wendi both raced in the Pro/Cat 1 Open division. The Pro/Open women shared a combined start with the Cat 1 women’s age groups, which meant more women on the line and a more competitive start. Abbey dug deep during the starting sprint in order to reach the single track first and thus avoid the inevitable bottleneck at the hairpin turn leading to the first steep climb. Wendi held back on the starting sprint to conserve energy, but then had to focus on working her way up through the field. The smattering of pointy rocks suited Wendi’s strong technical skills and she felt confident and relaxed throughout the race. Abbey was able to defend her lead throughout the race and finished in first place. Wendi was rewarded with a fourth place finish in the Pro/Open field and a first place finish for the NJ State Championship.
Mike and Jake raced together in the Cat 1 19-29 age group. Mike was pleased to hold onto a mid-pack position from the sprint into the first climb and hoped to settle into a fast pace and start picking off competitors. Jake had a hard time finding his rhythm off the start, but tried to push hard and chase the leaders. As the race wore on, the heat became more oppressive and Mike’s focus turned toward hydration and maintaining a steady pace. Jake found he’d pushed too hard too soon, and had to spend some time recovering during his second lap before regrouping and making another effort on the final lap. On the third lap, Jake regained contact with Mike, and the two finished in 11th and 12th place, respectively.
Ryan, who made the trip down from Vermont to attend, got a chance to pre-ride the course.
“Even though the course wasn’t technical, line selection was an incredibly important factor in regards to keeping your sidewalls clear of anything that could end your day. With this in mind, I pumped my tires up a couple pounds more than typical, and opened up my rear shock fully to allow my Maestro suspension to track to the ground in replacement of my tires. I was super impressed with how it performed on all sections of the course. This was finally a race that had a duration that I have been training for, and was ready to ride fast the whole time!”
Though Ryan was was technically racing as a junior in the Cat 1 15-18 age group, he started and raced with the Cat 1 19-29 age group. Ryan stuck to second wheel on the sprint start, rode in the front group for the duration of the race, and came in for a strong fourth place finish among the 19-29 men.
Tyler and Jon rode in the Pro/Open men’s class. Tyler, unfortunately, got a little too intimate with a sharp rock and ended up with too big a slice in his tire and too little air in his C02 cartridge to complete the race, despite his impressive persistence. Jon felt like he started slow off the gun, but was happy to dig in and work his way up to seventh spot in the field. Fading slightly near the end of the race, Jon finished in ninth place in the Pro/Open field and in third place for the NJ State Championship. Jon’s four boys worked in the feed zone for him and cheered him on lap after lap.
Pirate MTB Impromptu Race: Poor Farm Park, Ashland, VA.
While so many of the Giant Northeast racers were hanging out at the Bulldog Rump, Lester was getting up to his own shenanigans at home in Virginia.
Here’s Lester’s report of his weekend:
This weekend should have taken me up north to play with the rest of Giant Northeast at Bulldog Romp in NJ but due to logistics was unable to attend After consulting with my coach we revised workouts for the weekend: “Same through Saturday, but Sunday is a mock race. If you can get out on a good course for 90 mins and race a friends or training buddies – perfect!”
So I lit up the bat signal on Facebook and messaged about 15 guys and girls around the area that would be game some shenanigans. After many “that sounds awesome but I’m leaving for/still on/coming back from vacation”, I found about 5 riders willing to give it a try. The night before I scrambled through Beer and Wine store and Dollar stores for sufficient ‘prizes’ and trail markers. Exceeding my expectations I went home to prep for my race day:
- Pack bag with kit, nutrition, etc.
- Pre-assemble breakfast bowl
- Scout coffee near race site
- Social media check-in before bed
- Fill up the gas tank in car
The next morning was a late one which left me rushing out the door and eating breakfast in the car. Weather was perfect for pillaging the trails – sunny with partial clouds and temps in upper 70’s. Everyone was slow to roll in but excited to see how it would play out. Everyone mounted up given the following agenda:
1st lap: Pre-ride and course marking
2nd-3rd lap: Race Pace
4th lap: Cutthroat
Coordinating a group is challenging and after 25 mins we all finally wound up back at the parking area to start the race. While the course wasn’t terribly long, it presented some interesting features including a flat speed section, 3-4 ft. drop into creek bed (think mini version of the ‘drop’ at Iron Hill), and uphill climb that loops back on itself for the descent! As we started I sat in the lead for majority of second lap but after a dab on a feature known as the ‘Can Opener’ was passed by one of the faster guys. I gave chase and closed the gap down by the fourth lap which proved to be more fun than I imagined as ‘Cutthroat’ is no rules. Let’s just say trail markers weren’t safe. We finished up and waited for the other riders who became victims of the Cutthroat lap about 10 mins after. Everyone had fun and we formulated how to improve things for Pirate MTB #2. Huge thanks to all my fellow RVA riders for Coming out to help me get a great workout and some fun.
Lester’s Current Soundtrack: Ludacris – Child of the Night