The 2011 Race Season had a rather snowy and unconventional start for the Veloworks Spokes, Etc. race team last Saturday out at Rockland Farm in Leesburg, VA as team-members competed in the 3rd Annual Snotcycle put on by Plum Grove Cyclery. A snowstorm the week prior left the farm and race course covered in 4-5inches of snow and made even getting into the farm quite the challenge. Luckily we had John‘s big 4wd truck to pull in, and Chris, John and Lance to scoop out a place to set up shop for the day.
The 2011 Snotcycle was anything but your typical mountain bike race. With the snow covering the course, we managed to maybe ride, oh, 500 feet or so down a semi-plowed gravel road before racers were off the bikes and trudging through the snow. You could try to run, but running in bike shoes isn’t exactly easy, especially when snow would freeze around your cleat, making walking a bit difficult and clipping in at times almost impossible. So the ‘race’ more or less turned into a trudge through the snow, where when the trail packed down a little, you could jump on your bike and if you were lucky pedal about 50-100 feet before a rut or turn had you sliding out and being launched off your bike and into a snowdrift. The infamous “Pines” out at Rockland Farm proved the most ride-able part of the course for the day, while the snow cover on the open fields, played tricks on racer’s eyes as the white and lack of contract in the snow-covered trail, made for almost a guessing game as to where the tire tracks were (yes, tire tracks, thankfully, for a few portions of the course, the Plum Grove folks drove their tractor and/or someone’s 4wd over the course to make a somewhat ride-able surface). And that was just after one lap …
The second lap proved to be more ride-able, as by now probably close to 200 racers had trudged around the course at least once. This still, however, didn’t alleviate the frozen-cleat issue, so while more of the lap was on the bike, we weren’t exactly clipped in, leading to some more than sketchy little descents on some of the little rollers out on the course. But when the snow settled, it was still a fun day for everyone, with stories to tell and laugh about. Besides, one of the main reasons we race Snotcycle, is to have war-stories of riding in less than perfect conditions to tell for the rest of the season.
And as far as the racers finished up and survived the snow-covered adventure…
Lance giving Mike some last minute race tips
Mike was the first to head out on the snow-covered ~8 mile course, racing in Cat 2 Men’s. This was no ordinary mountain bike race, and luckily for Mike, is running skills came into play here as racers ended up having to walk/run/trudge for the better part of the lap. With confusion due to course conditions, Mike ended up riding a detour and an extra lap, so we’re not exactly sure where he finished, but he did finish and had a great first mountain bike race!
Mike off to a strong start in Men’s Cat 2
John followed racing in Cat 2 Men’s 40+ (on his singlespeed!) and made it through his lap for an 8th place finish!
John coming into a strong 8th place finish in Men’s Cat 2 40+
Lance raced in Cat 1 Men’s and had a great first lap, but had some knee issues and had to pull out after one lap. Regardless, his one lap time (1:21) still earned him a 34th place finish in a highly competitive field.
Lance heads out into the fields of snow in the Men’s Cat 1 Race
Emily finished out the day for the team racing in Cat 1 Women’s, she made it through two tough laps (and was extremely thankful that Chris had some Orange Shot-Blocks along the way) and finished 4th.
Emily finishing her 1st lap in Women’s Cat 1
So here’s to the first race of the 2011 season, and the first race for the Velo Works Spokes Etc. Team!