What a difference a year can make. Last year, this race was a nightmare of mud. It wasn’t just mud, but an axle deep, shoe-sucking flow of organic slime that grew visibly worse with every single lap. This year, All Out in Moody Park was a fair weather, single-track paradise. Well, as much paradise as you can get while your lungs are sucking wind and your legs are screaming at you. The weather was utterly amazing: super clear blue skies, warm but not hot, and dry.
The course consists of a five mile loop around Moody Park in Claremont, NH. It starts by circling the pavilion area and then entering the woods for a single-track descent. It then exits the woods and follows a long double-track section that was still a downhill – just gradual enough that a single-speed could spin out. On the back side of the park it climbs up a pretty technical section and then descends again to nearly the beginning of the climb. The course then winds along with some short abrupt climbs before getting to “Gravity Cavity.” This is a very short double-track descent into a small valley followed immediately by an open sandy climb back into the woods. I would say the steepest pitch is well over a 20% grade before bottoming out. I hit 37mph in there. After the “Cavity” the trail crosses the road for a brief climb and another descent before starting the long gradual climb back up to the pavilion area. Again, there wasn’t much of any mud to be found. The horrid, deep, mud spots we slogged through last year were filled in with “corduroy highway” logs, not that we came close to needing it this year. Apparently someone was planning just in case the weather repeated itself. The total distance was around 5.5 miles; a bit longer than the advertised 4.7 miles.
Right up to the day before the race, there were very few riders pre-registered. I think a lot of people were fearing the mud of last year and waiting until the last minute to see what the weather would do. There were plenty of race-day registrations. The single-speed field went from 5 to 12 which isn’t bad for our class.
The single-speed class was started between the Elites and the Experts. I dragged off the start and immediately drifted towards the back of the pack right behind my teammate Kevin Orlowski. I followed Kevin down the initial descent. He seemed to be picking all the right lines. It was easy to forget that he is riding a fully rigid bike. Impressive. Kevin and I picked off a few riders early in that first lap. He was keeping a good pace that kept me from blowing up, so I stayed on his wheel a while. The leaders seemed to have vaporized almost instantly. Who were those guys?!?
Near the end of the first lap I decided that it was time to put on some power and I worked my way past Kevin. He hung on for a quite a while after that. I really pushed on the second lap as much as I could while maintaining some reserve for the rest of the race. I even managed to nearly climb all the way out of Gravity Cavity with my single-speed. A few Expert riders caught up with me on this lap, but that was expected.
I raced the third and fourth laps almost entirely alone. Brian Currier passed me on the latter part of my third lap. I generally do better when I have someone to try to reel in but that wasn’t an option for me out there. Solo suffering. I was passed by a couple more Experts on the final lap but held my pace in spite of the fact that I could feel my strength fading a little.
I finished at 2:00:40 for 4th place. This was only 8 minutes down from 1st place. The guys ahead of me were Dejay Birtch, Thom Parsons, and Peter Macleod. At least I was closer to Peter this time (he had a bigger gap on me at the Pinnacle). No podium for me. While I didn’t produce the results I wanted, I do feel that I really raced well. I was able to keep the power on through the whole race. I only had some slight hints of cramps in my quads on the last climb. I really can’t complain about my effort, but I need to figure out how to get faster.
My daughter, Emma, also had a good race, overall. She raced really well, even though she crashed hard on the first lap putting a crack in her helmet. The only big down-side to the day was that the results somehow got quite messed up for the Sport and Novice classes. Usually the time-keepers at EFTA races do a great job, so this was surprising. Thankfully, that didn’t happen for the Elite/Expert/SS races later in the day.
- My Strava data for the race.
- Riverside racing team has some photos.
- Karina’s report.
- Cycling Dirt has a video up on the race.
- Official EFTA results (PDF)
- Ride Bully
- Photos below (with a slight NEMBA bias)