Written by David Keppler Sunday, 17 September 2017 00:00
One of my favorite local CX races is the Super Bubba Cross race in Gill Massachusetts. The race is organized, run, designed, and promoted by fellow Bikeman.com teammate Mark Stotz. His family owns a chunk of land that runs along a local river and offers a great variety of terrain and challenges. Added bonus is that it’s about a 5 minute drive from my house. Hard to beat for a mid-week CX race in September.
The race is split up into an A and B category and I thankfully decided to compete in the B category. We ended up doing 4 laps of a challenging course that incorporates steep climbs, rapid descents, riverbank ruts, and a couple of grassy fields peppered with phragmites. The course is about 1 ¾ miles long and has great flow and variety.
There was a small group of us at the start line for the B race as the start gun sounded (actually Mark’s wife gave us a countdown and we started when she said Go!). The start is paved and about 150 yards long before we take a sharp left over a bridge and onto the gravel/grass mix that made up parts of the course. We sped along some double track into the woods and weaved our way around some trees to get down near the river. The river flows on the right as we navigate the shore for a short distance and then quickly climb back up onto a double-track road. We dabbed down to the river two more times, much like a fly fisherman might cast his line a few times to stir things up. After the last stretch along the river we made our way into the first part of the open field. After winding our way around some sharp corners we shot back into the woods for a short stretch before hugging the river one more time.
Back up into the field we passed the pit and motored through one more stretch of woods, a bit of field, and again along the river before hitting the woop-dee-do that put us into the small field that sits next to the start of the race. A long straightaway through the field brought us to a sharp, 180 degree right hand turn and back up a small incline to the barriers. Dismount, hurdle, run (quite a ways), hurdle and remount and we make a sharp left to head down towards the river for a short visit and a 180+ degree left turn. Again we made our way around the interior of the field and then down a sharp drop along the river once more. After 50 yards or so things get hairy with roots, mud, rocks and a sharp incline that caused all but the strongest riders in the A group to dismount and run. Impressive to watch some of the A group guys ride that section for sure. One more climb with a sharp descent that spit us back out onto the road to begin the lap again.
The first lap bypassed a serious climb, steep descent, and sharp drop that added more flavor to the subsequent laps. The climb at the beginning of lap four was a definite effort in will power trying to avoid dismounting and running. Fortunately I was able to ride it every lap. I rode hard and was able to keep a second place position until the end of the 3rd lap. In the end I ended up trading off with one other guy for the 2nd/3rd spot and he ended up gapping me at the end by about 20 seconds. I was a little disappointed but felt good with a 3rd place finish.
The Super Bubba Cross is a super-chill local race that is nonetheless very well run and organized. The course is challenging and exciting and the atmosphere is one of friendly competition. Mark is a great guy and he and his wife put on a great event. If you can make it down I would highly recommend adding this race to your calendar. You won’t regret it. Thanks for reading and keep the rubber side down.
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