Monday, October 4, 2010

Blue Mountain (Pennsylvania)

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The final stop of the Gravity East Series was well-picked. Honestly one of the most enjoyable courses (and parks) of the summer. The weather was especially friendly too, raining the week before and stopping for two days of pure sunshine.

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As a most excellent bonus to the trip, Rachel and I visited Dave Laverdure, one of my very best friends. Dave moved to Philadelphia years ago and it's a rare pleasure to spend some time with him.

After a night at Dave's, Rachel and I drove the extra hour and a half to Blue Mountain, just in time for a full day of practice. The course was fun and fast, a deceivingly steep course that left the rider at least "touching" the brakes for nearly the entire track. What I liked most about the trails at Blue Mountain was their resemblance to good XC trails, with a more natural, singletrack style. The course was littered with technical rock gardens too, but had a definite "line" through every section.

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After Saturday's practice Rachel and I explored Jim Thorpe, PA. The town was alive with activity. Bands on every block and people everywhere. We also took a drive to Lehigh Gorge State Park before the sun set.

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On race day the course had dried a bit more and seemed even more enjoyable. I had a great run with little error and a smile on my face the whole way - good enough for 3rd that day and 1st for the season in CAT2. It's been a long summer with a load of races (and highway hours), but it's taught me a lot about the layout of the east coast. I've decided to take a step back from racing next season and focus more on riding, visiting many of these GES stops again to explore THE REST of what each mountain has to offer.

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