Monday, October 4, 2010

Blue Mountain (Pennsylvania)

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.

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.

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.

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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