Written by Kevin Ryan Sunday, 02 October 2016 00:00
The 12 Hours of Bradbury race is a Maine mountain biking institution. It’s as much a social event as it is a bike race. All my fellow local mountain bikers are there, and I usually see a few friends from points south as well. For years now, I’ve told myself early in the season that I’m going to do the race solo – but it never happens. Who wants to ride for 12 straight hours when there is a park full of your riding buddies to hang out with?
A week before race day, I noticed a lot of play in the linkage of my rear suspension. Off it went to the Bath Cycle and Ski shop, where it was fast tracked for a rear triangle replacement. Luckily Santa Cruz was able to dig up a slightly used 2014 rear triangle and overnight it to the shop, which replaced it with mere hours to spare before race day. (My bike was all black, but now has a bright orange rear triangle!) My wife and I were both relieved that I wouldn’t have to do the race on her Tallboy.
The B12 race course had been static for several years. This year’s course featured a few changes, including swapping out the lackluster climb up the Knight Woods double track for some sweet unnamed single track, which made for a much nicer finish. As in the past 2 years, race day was dry, sparing us all the hazards of wet and slippery roots.
2016 found me on a very competitive four-person team. Bikeman teammate Warren Gerow, local rider Channing Jones, and I originally signed up as a three-person team. Three-person is a good size team as riders get can get 4+ laps in, but have plenty of time to hang out. However, this year Bikeman teammate and local legend Dereck Treadwell was looking for a team and asked to join ours – and when Tread asks to join your team, you don’t say no!
Our main competition this year was a team comprised of two other local riders, the Oickle brothers, and two of their friends from Massachusetts. (You might recognize the name Oickle from the top of the list for every Strava segment in Bradbury.) Our team put forth one hell of an effort, and we had no major mechanical issues or crashes for the entire day. Despite this bit of good luck and the fast, dry conditions, the Oickles and their teammates took the lead during the first lap, and stayed there for the rest of the day, leaving us on the podium with a respectable second place finish.
Maybe next year I’ll finally get around to doing this race solo...
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