After a weekend off to get my wits about me and some local racing, Kerry Shields and I loaded up the RV and headed north. First, a pit stop at my grandparent’s house, then Friday to the course.

I went to the Rockland Community College venue last year, solely in a support capacity for Emily. I got the flu week before the race, which was a beautiful day Saturday and a mudder on Sunday. The weather this year was looking good and wet for Saturday, and also the potential for remnant slip n’ slide Sunday. Needless to say, I was excited to toe the line.

Myles, race promoter, and course designer, did a good job utilizing a long hill, evenly, throughout the course. There were ample off-cambers and tough punchy climbs. So when the drizzle started falling just before our race on Saturday I knew we were in store for some slick corners.

The majority of the course was on open grass fields, which was conducive to running very low pressure, especially with the added moisture. However, there was a wooded section which was newly cut for the race and had quite a few exposed roots and rock, which was conducive to a higher pressure to prevent flats.

I went 26-24 on the Donnelly PDX (Rear and Front) and sure enough, by the time we hit the first off-camber tight uphill, into the stairs, I knew I had too much tire pressure.


I waited a lap until our group started forming then did a quick pit, yelling the half lap before to Kerry so he would drop 2 PSI, front and rear. Curtis and Cooper put a few bike lengths into me but I quickly rejoined and immediately felt more confident on the bike.

I started getting gaps on Curtis and eventually Cooper. They also pitted for tire pressure adjustment, which helped me get some more time.


With 3 laps to go, I had a good 25-30 second lead so I coerced myself and the bike to stay steady and smooth.

I took one more pit for a clean bike one lap before the finish. I didn’t want anything to go wrong on that last lap and the bikes were starting to pack up with the newly uncovered dirt turned to mud, in the woods.

From there it was smooth sailing to the line.

Day 1 Highlights from HERE

Saturday night more rain came down and it was on and off until early Sunday morning. I thought the course would be similarly slick but the heavy winds dried it out significantly.

The punchy climbs got soggy and felt as if the mud was turning each tire knob into a little suction cup.

I hole shotted again but this wasn’t as necessary as yesterday, maybe even an unwise decision. The wind was howling at times and being on the front was a major burden. A lap in, and with most of the technical sections behind us, the field was strung out but still one huge unit. It didn’t widdle down to a group of 3, Curtis, Cooper, and I, until about 6 to go then it was a group of 2, Curtis and I until 4 to go and then Curtis got away from me with 2.5 laps to go.

He was hitting it hard up the climbs like every watt went directly into propulsion, and going straight over the top. I was feeling inefficient and he was cracking me. Eventually, I couldn’t hold his pace over the top of a climb and he was gone. At that point, I knew it was survival mode. I tried to mitigate time loss and came in 2nd, down 30 seconds.

Champaign showers followed and warm showers followed that.

Day 2 highlights from HERE

We quickly broke down our compound, loaded the RV, hitched up the trailer, and got on our way down south. First, another pit stop at home then back to NC on Monday for Thanksgiving prep and some more training.

P.S. I am making my first turkey this year, so cross your fingers for me.


Photos by Marco Quezada