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Plattekill XC Series

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

I've done this one before in my salad days of racing and it was a lot different. Before, it started at the base of the mountain and you just climbed up the whole darn thing for about 45 minutes then went down the other side. Super grueling but the climb was pretty much fire road. I was skeptical about how good this race was going to be when I was told I had to ride the chairlift up to the top to get to the start finish area. Turns out it was a great way to set up the race and the course had the best mix of terrain. Blazing fast technical downhills, sloppy single track, (not your bike wrecking slop, just the good kind that just makes it challenging) leg busting long climbs and everything in between. Great, great course, huge kudos to the designers. On to the race!

Experts had to do 4 laps of the 7 mile course and were expected to be on the course about 2.5 hrs. Halfway through the first lap after I was warmed up I gassed it on the climb and got away from the others by rocking the granny gear on the steep climb. I'm not gonna lie and say I was in the big ring the whole time, I'm not ashamed. I was able to keep the legs fresh on the steeps by using the rings the good folks at Race Face gave me. That little ring kept me in 1st overall most of the race. I did make the freshie move of putting on a new chain with an old cassette (I honestly thought it would work) so I couldn't use gear #4 on the old X.O twister or the drive train started skipping like all the teeth were tearing off of the cassette. Good stuff!

About 1/4 of the way into the last lap a guy in the senior 1 field caught back up to me and we rode together for a while. He was blazing the climbs but I was catching him on the downhills so I decided I could let him have some room on the climb and I'd be able to smoke the decent and make that time back. All was going according to plan until I stacked it hard and knocked my ear on a log. Yes folks, my ear. The log caught me right in the sweet spot below where the helmet protects. ow. That log also bent my rear derailleur hanger so I lost use of my 3 biggest cogs and lost sight of my riding companion. I put it in damage control mode and used the front shifter to get through the rest of the lap to come in only a few seconds down on the other guy. We turned out some pretty fast laps, some around 30 minutes. I managed 1st in my senior 2 class and 2nd overall. If you can do it, make the trip out for another of their XC events. There are 2 more this year. An added bonus is you get to ride down the fire road to the base after the race at about 35 mph on the dirt, wicked!

Matt DeMeis

Image by: Plattekill Mountain
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