Saturday, 31 Oct., All Hallows’ Eve morning, Gills MA. So what made this self-proclaimed Grass Roots event so spooky? First, it was fairly cold that morning, around the low 30’s up where the sun was, at the parking lot, near the registration table; where was the course I wondered?
Not to worry, I was in the right place; the course was about a half mile and two hundred feet down in the Hollow, by the Fall River, where the sun didn’t shine and it was at least five degrees colder.
The course was technical, better suited for a mountain bike event, more so than Winding Trails, if you’ve ever raced it. From a technical standpoint it was nice, very punchy, short little risers; lose dirt, mud, roots and a gravelly thirty foot steep climb. Most of it was ridable if you had the skills; the two exceptions were the last section near the start line where it went through some very big and gnarly roots. It was ridable if you wanted to waste time and possibly break a rim. Of course I must mention the section by, or literally on the river.
If you were to miss the left hairpin and downhill turn you’d wind up in the river, the course then continued on the water’s edge for perhaps fifty yards where then you went through a sandy section and up a punchy six foot riser. It eventually went through several fields with the prerequisite turns and a very nice chicane.
Gauvin rocking it in between the tape!
Ok, so what about the race? Race time, 9 am, lined up on the second row. Whistle sounded, off we went, pavement and straight for about one hundred yards, left turn over a gully and then slight incline. Skipped the first sandy, gravel steep climb; understandable. I came out of the first quarter mile in third place, up through the punchy muddy little climb and then down a fairly long slight decline to the left and down the hairpin turn on the river. Came out of that river stretch and into a single track section, several turns, attempted to downshift, had a little issue and then a swooping sharp left. Wasn’t paying attention, instead of riding the berm, I cut into the turn. I slid out, went down, four riders passed me within a few seconds. I fixed my chain and got going again, within another quarter mile I washed out again; looking too far ahead and not paying attention, passed by another rider. I washed out one more time on that first lap and got passed again. I eventually finished ninth out of fourteen.
Overall I enjoyed the course and yes I would do it again, hopefully with better form. I came home that day and made some adjustments to my bike. Let’s see what happens this weekend.
Oh yeah, once I crossed the finish line who did I see but Gauvin, he did the next race and took second place, way to go!