MTB report- EFTA's Clifford Park Assault
by Keith Reynolds
The usual crew was going to be absent, so I was told to go and representthe team. Before the race two others NEBC kits appeared, Norm andanother unknown rider. We all went off in the same Sport wave.
- Keith Reynolds: Sport SR2 – 1st
- Norm Collard: flat; fixed and continued for a workout
- Not sure where our other guy finished.
I arrived early, pre-rode the entire 4.5mi loop. Picked out a technicalline across a boulder gap that appeared ‘on course’ which lessaggressive riders would skirt. Conditions are said to be drier than lastyear. Still, very technical and some mud to contend with in the lowerregions. Lots of jagged rocks, drops and step-ups.
Lap 1: Race starts with bumping and rubbing of knobbies, a few almost godown. I’m about 10+ back headed into the bottleneck of tight singletrack- from the onset it’s very technical most can’t ride with all ofthe bodies. One quarter lap into the lap I take the fast line over theboulder gap and passed 6 riders. I get called out as a cheater; notgoing to let that happen I tell my opponent I’ll go back. Dismount,return back and went around. I re-pass him a minute later. Next I passmy old competition ‘Jelly Belly’ among others.
Lap 2: I am making my way through the single speeders and follow a guynamed Billy through some technical sections; he’s really in control andsmooth, looks like he knows the place. I out gear him on the flats andpass. Return to the bolder gap proves my previous line is ‘on course’-oh no, ride it! I see lots of carnage (mechanicals); chain suck andflats. Who’s left ahead? I pick off what appears to be the remainingSport riders in my wave.
Lap 3: One of the 3 wet spots had a 3 foot wide stream crossing- exitinginto a silty uphill. One guy looks to be bathing with his bike, havingfallen backwards. He’s ok, pass him. I catch more expert riders. I geta call-out from one that there’s 4 bikes in front with a sport vetahead. Usually it’s very hard to tell who’s who (classification/age) inthese races so this tip was unusual. I reeled in the 4 experts andsearched for the Vet- no where in sight. I cross the line @ 1h 25m andfind out that I missed the overall win by 30 seconds.
Single speed ‘Billy’ finishes and comes over at the end to shake hands,I find out he rides there every week.
Ben Moody (expert) did his 4 laps in 1h 35m, wow!
The next race is this coming weekend- Moody Park in Claremont, NewHampshire. This venue was my first mtb race and is one of my favorites.If you’re tempted to race, this is the one for you. Not very technical,roadie friendly and features the ‘gravity cavity’. I’ll miss it forFitchburg but rest assured you’ll see other teammates.