After finding the Millstone race series on their last day, someone mentioned that Craftsbury Outdoor Center also had a weekly race series this summer on Tuesday evenings. I figured I would take a trip over there and see what it was like. According to Google Earth it is only 11 miles from my house but, in this part of Vermont, you really can’t get there from here. We had to drive all over a series of dirt roads to get there. It ended up being more than 20 miles, which really surprised me. I’d forgotten about how removed things are over there.
They once hosted a NORBA race there back in the early 90s. I don’t remember much about it other than showing up very late for the start and getting very cold and muddy on some wet double-track. It snowed during the race. After the race they also had a chili supper for everyone who entered, which was very cool.
The group was was small yesterday, and most of the people there seemed to know each other. It had a definite low key feel to it. The bike race grew out of their weekly 5k running race series so it not really a big deal. There were quite a few more runners there than bikers. Still, a race is a race, and its always an opportunity to test yourself. We were only doing one lap (3.1 mi) so I knew the pain factor would be high.
The course this week was mostly nordic ski trail double-track. There were some good single-track sections thrown in there to keep things interesting. The majority of the single-track was on the latter part of the course and it was really pretty good riding. There was a surprising amount of climbing and it came in short, steep pitches at times. I definitely had to work and with only 5k to travel there wasn’t any point where you could afford to rest in any meaningful way. It makes for an intense 17 minutes.
I ended up finishing first by a fair margin. My daughter, Emma, also raced and rode pretty well. They have at least one other route for the mountain bike course that they alternate with this week’s loop. It is supposed to have a lot more single-track, so I may go back to give that a whirl. Personally, I would love to see a longer loop or more laps but that may just be me.
The course profile can be seen here.