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Erie 80 Endurance Race

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

On October 21, myself, Kevin Ryan, Warren Gerow and Derek Treadwell made the 5.5 hour trek to Port Jervis NY for the second annual “Erie 80” endurance race. We all participated in last year’s inaugural run of this race and it was a great experience so we decided to re-up this year. There are not a lot of choices in late fall in the XCM race category given a lot of cycling attention turns to cross but for the intrepid who have yet to quench the thirst for 5-6 hour sufferfests there is now the Erie 80 and oh, it so delivers.

Unlike last year’s starting temps around freezing, this year we started at a balmy 52 F or so with temps climbing to near 80 during the day. The race begins with a neutral roll out through town following a police cruiser. About a mile and half in they release the hounds right at the foot of a decent five or six minute climb up a ragged old paved reservoir road which soon leads to single track. The “80” is km and so less than a typical 100 km XCM race but for what it lacks in length the Erie 80 so makes up for in technical. The course is as one race participant named their Strava ride; a “50 Mile Rock Garden”. And that pretty much sums it up; this is 50 miles of some of the most rugged XC racing I have done. Mile after mile of sharp, loose shale rock makes for a required engagement level of 11 pretty much all the time. You need ride “light” and nimble to avoid shredding the rubber and even then a lot of racers flat; which is exactly what I did at around mile 18. After the obligatory denial stage where I tried adding more air, I finally accepted my fate and pulled over for tube install. Things went relatively fast on the repair and I was back at it in no time but as usual had very little idea where I stood overall. A bunch of folks had passed while I twiddled with my tire.

I continued to race my race and after rounding the first 25 mile lap and topping off my food and supplies from my drop bag, I headed out for another run around. I managed to claw back a lot of lost positions in the second lap, bypassing aid stations and just dieseling along. Somewhere around mile 35 or so, while battling the usual 4th hour cramps, a bystander yelled “great job you are in 14th” which surprised me and cheered me up! From there I slogged on but gradually picked off another five racers. I crossed the finish in 5:23 at ninth overall and first for masters rounding out my season with a great result and maintaining my title from last year’s race. The Maine boys did well overall too. Tread was 2nd open, Warren 6th open and Kevin 1st Sport! Bikeman crushed!!!

It was a great season where I raced seven XC endurance events, four of which were National Ultra-Endurance Race Series events in which I managed to win the masters division. I am very happy and grateful and would like to thank Bikeman, the guys in the shop, my coach Tread, and my family for all the help and understanding along the way!

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