I was first introduced to the Enduro format of racing at the inaugural Moonshiner's Enduro last October. With those fond memories in mind, I quickly signed up for this year's event as soon as registration was live.
This year, the event was broadened to a mountain-bike-festival of sorts, with an XC race on Saturday, onsite camping, bike demos, and food support from local vendors.
I drove up on Saturday to meet friends for some preriding. One of our buddies, Chris, had been leading much of the new trailbuilding for the event, so he led us through some of the stages to give us a taste of what to expect on Sunday. The existing trails there are phenomenal, and the new ones perfectly matched this level of greatness. In fact, the new trails had a bit more gnar in their steepness and rocky technicality - both of which were welcomed additions.
On the day of the event, we pedaled to the top of the start as a massive group, creating a train of riders several switchbacks long. At the start, organizer Sam Lindblom gave us the pre-race essentials and let us choose our starting positions within each heat. I chose to start near the beginning of the 19+ category, a few positions behind fellow rider Charlie Snyder, who would eventually claim the W for our category.
After the start, the race feels like a big group ride with friends. After each stage, you tend to regroup with fellow racers, tell some tales of harrowing near-misses, then pedal along to the next stage together. It's this format that makes for a great day in the woods while still giving the racer the adrenaline rush of pushing it to the limit in each of six stages. I'm definitely a fan of this approach to racing, and am considering entering in some of the West Virginia Series during this upcoming season.
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Each time we visit Bryce Resort to ride mountain bikes, I wonder how the resort would stack up to others in its winter season. The resort sits at a relatively low elevation, just over 1,200 feet, but is littered with snow-making nozzles. As Rebecca and I discovered on a relatively mild day in February, those nozzles were well-deserved. The land around the resort was completely brown - not even a speck of snow remaining after several above-average-temperature days. The slopes, however, remained covered in snow.
Despite having only one lift, we experienced no delays in loading the chair. To add to the crowd, there was a collegiate competition that weekend. Even so, there was zero issue with overcrowding.
The trip to Bryce marked the first test of my new Ossur knee brace. I purchased it after experiencing prolonged pain in my knee following a simple over-rotation while working on the Crosstrek. In other words, I didn't injure my knee, but wanted to prevent the possibility of doing so.
I was delighted to experience no discomfort with the brace. I tested this with a few board presses, surface spins, and other moves which required the lateral movement of my knee. All movements felt fine, and the brace seemed to stay in place the entire day.
Rebecca and I were thoroughly pleased with our first experience at Bryce. With its proximity to Winchester (Rebecca's hometown), I expect we'll be making another trip or two before season's end.
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Saturday, January 26, 2019
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Checking the weather forecast for Snowshoe has been part of my daily routine for a few weeks. The fluke 40 degree day is a deal-breaker, though, as it means the top layer of snow will be melting and refreezing, giving the slopes a layer of ice. This week, however, the temperatures remained below freezing. Furthermore, the mountain was blessed with some generous snowfall the past few days.
Since lodging prices are astronomical, I decided I'd try to survive a night in the car at our favorite camping spot near Slatyfork. Even if the temperatures turned out to be unbearable, I could always turn on the car to warm things up. With that said, I had ZERO luck finding any willing participants to join me. No problem - I'd test out the overnighter myself and report back to those doubting my sanity.
Prior to this trip, I'd installed a light bar to the cargo box of the Crosstrek, so I was eager to test out its effect.
Once I'd reached the campsite, I set to starting a fire. A few beers later I was settling into the car for my overnight stay, running the car's heat one last time before I called it a night. Through the course of the night, I woke several times, indicating that it must've been a bit chilly despite feeling relatively comfortable each time I woke.
The next morning I rose from my sleeping bag and began packing up camp. Snowfall had continued through the night, depositing an additional 6 inches of snow on top of an already impressive base. Regardless of this extra depth, the Crosstrek handled the conditions in perfect form. Not even once did it struggle for traction!
I arrived at Snowshoe around 9am, and was on the slopes soon after. Although it has clearly been a light season thus far, they did have enough soft stuff to allow me to shred the edges, peeking in and out of the trees along the border of the slopes. I have a feeling the glade runs will be a long time coming, if at all this season. With that said, I'll be keeping an eye on the trail report in order to return for another snowy weekend.
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