Written by Doug Southwick Sunday, 08 July 2018 00:00
Officially this was a “ride”, but we had bib numbers, were being timed, and the 1st place male and female would be getting a prize. I’m not sure but that sort of sounds a little bit like a race. Anyway, I have done RAS twice before but that was at the old starting location. The course would be pretty similar so I did have a clue on what the day would be like. And that was 40ish miles, lots of gravel roads, several sections of class IV offroad (aka VT pave), plenty of climbing, and a few miles of road to connect the good stuff.
I would estimate there was 100 or so lined up for the group start. I recognized some local to me friends, a pro or two, but was a little surprised when Jack (organizer) pointed out Lea Davison (past MTB Olympian) was taking part in today’s adventure (which I thought was pretty cool). We had a motorcycle leading the way and the start was more friendly than sketchy. I decided to hang near the front so I could brag (mostly to my 4 year old) that I was riding with, and briefly ahead, of an Olympian MTB racer. After 4 miles of rollers there was a sharp turn into double track and the combo of being at the rear of the front group and a dude crashing, a few people in front of me put an end to my contact with the front group.
Overall, the loop was pretty awesome. The off road sections were all fun and some of the views from the gravel roads were incredible (picture a pond in the foreground and VT mountains in the background including the slopes of nearby ski areas). The climbs kept coming and day kept getting hotter and more humid. I never found a group to ride with but kept catching then getting dropped on the climbs by one particular guy. I'd say about 3.5 of the last 4 miles are off-road but mostly uphill, so it was fun and painful. Even though I felt really slow I did catch and pass three folks in this section and was happy when I started hearing the band. My goal was sub 3 hours and that time was fast approaching. I hit the finish at 3:03, no biggie - I’ll use that as motivation next year. At the finish there was small party that included (at no extra cost) food, beer or Kambucha, a great band out of Boston (Jimmy Cans Redemption), and later, a raffle. I ended up winning a really nice MTB helmet that was a little small for me but fit my wife perfectly. And the most important part was a good chunk of money was raised for RASopathies (it's a rare genetic disorder - RASopathies, CFC or Cardio-Facio-Cutaneous) disease with has no cure (yet!).
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