Race Report - Bluff Riders Charge (MNMTB Series #2)

5:27 AM

No narrative today – sometimes writing a race report gets repetitive and boring (this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened…).  Long story short: a nice camping weekend, good race, good finish.  Kept the rubber side down.

No, I would rather write about why I love racing in the dirt rather than the road.  Within two weeks I did a road and a mountain race, and the contrasts were striking.  The scene when I crossed the line at the RR: three USA Cycling officials stand on a lonely stretch of Minnesota highway and monitor the electronic strip that will capture my time.  The lead pack, which finished a few minutes ahead of me, is already off on their cool down.  I stand around for a bit to greet the women who finish near me and then I, too, spin off to go to my car that is parked a mile away at the staging area.

The scene at the MTB finish: a sound system is blasting out music (side note: bad music…unfortunately mountain bikers do not have great taste in the tunes), and racers from the first wave of the day are still gathered to eat grilled hot dogs and burgers with their families.  Little kids are getting ready for their race, which will commence after my wave is all in.  Us women finishers are congratulating each other and giving quick run-downs of our race – Did you make that technical climb?  What did you think of the Luge?  Holy cow, did you see that guy go down at the bottom of the first descent?!  The awards ceremony will feature several age-group podiums and tons of swag.  Because of a minor scoring error from the previous race, the organizers decide to give all the women a prize – my haul?  A t-shirt (women’s sizing!), cool socks, and a beer cozy!  After a quick cool down, the Spouse and I pull out the picnic fixings from the car and select a nice spot on the lawn to watch the expert race that is about the launch up the first climb.

Road racing is struggling in Minnesota, in part, because of this lack of community and fun.  The only road races that even try for a bit of atmosphere are criteriums, so consequently we have tons of Tuesday night crits and fewer road races on the calendar.  I understand why clubs are reluctant to put on a road race: they are expensive because of the law enforcement costs (police at every corner, etc.), and Minnesota’s unpredictable weather means any year can be a boom or bust for turnout.  Still, I’d like to see a move toward race events – bust out the grill, throw together a silly kids race, always have the staging area and finish near a park, and definitely put on some good music!

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