Written by Kevin Ryan Monday, 25 February 2019 00:00
I have wanted to do this race for the past several years, but I always ended up having a conflict. In the few weeks prior to the 2019 race, I had been traveling back and forth between Maine, Connecticut, and New York. I finally had a weekend free, and the last thing I wanted to do is drive anywhere. Luckily for me, Bikeman teammate Warren Gerow offered to drive. Unluckily, the night before I ended up coming down with the Cold from Hell. Feeling terrible on race day, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity or the free ride so I decided to go for it despite my miserable man-cold.
There are a few course options for the Loppet. Racers can do either long or short versions of the course, and with or without singletrack (cough, roadies). Despite having my chops busted by some racing buddies on account of feeling miserable, I decided to go with the short course with singletrack, which proved to be the right choice.
The morning of the race was cold. Damn cold. My GPS unit read in the low teens, and the wind was ripping. Prior to starting, I pedaled in circles trying to stay warm. Bikeman ally Doug Thorp saw how frozen I was and hooked me up with a windbreaker (thanks Doug!).
Once the race got going my body ignored the man-cold and got into race mode. I did constantly notice the freezing temps, but the course was too good to care. Race organizer Chris Riley and crew did a great job on this one. The groomed ski trails were fun, but the singletrack was absolutely fantastic. The snow had set up nicely, and the trails were sinuous with plenty of fun little ups and downs. If I lived nearby, I would ride this stuff constantly!
Unlike the previous weekend’s race at Twin Brook, I ended up riding solo for most of this one. I had no crashes or other mishaps and managed to keep a steady pace, finishing fourth out of 24. I was definitely satisfied with that result given how lousy I felt. When it was all over, racers debriefed by a campfire and everyone pretty much agreed how great the course was. Thanks in advance for a free ride to the 2020 Loppet, Warren.
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