I’m now 70% committed on going to the Mark Twain National Forest South of St. Louis and race a 56 mile MTB race. It’s called the Berryman Epic Challenge. It’s a great prize list. Plus I hear it’s unbelievable singletrack. Rocky and challenging. The winning time last year was 4:42. That is a lot of singletrack riding. This will be the longest MTB race I’ve done in both time and distance. Catherine and Bill are racing too. The winning women’s time last year was nearly 6 hours. That is a really long time to be riding challenging singletrack.
For the last two days I’ve been going out and riding my MTB during the day and then trying to make it work right at night. Yesterday it rained most of the day, so the singletrack riding was pretty treacherous. Kind of reminded me of the Mt. Snow Vermont Norba National/World Cup. Wet roots and rocks. The main issue was the wet leaves covering everything. It’s full on fall here, so it is beautiful out. But, for cycling when it’s wet, that is not good. Now I’m pretty tweaked everywhere from all those minute movements needed to stay upright. I was pleasantly surprised that I came back with all the blood I left the house with. That normally wouldn’t have been the case in these conditions. I did see two huge wild turkeys walking across the street just a few houses down in my neighborhood. Maybe that is good luck?
MTB racing is nearly as energy consuming as cyclocross when you’re not riding. There is so much stuff to do. Sealing tires. Making sure you have all the extra stuff you’re most likely going to need for the weekend. It’s endless.
So, I’m driving there tomorrow to pre-ride whatever I can of the course and try to get a feel for the terrain. Tonight I’m going to do my most serious training and watch the movie Race Across the Sky here in Topeka. It’s a film on this years Leadville 100. Starring Lance and Dave Wiens. It’s a long race. But not mostly singletrack. They should come out this weekend and see what midwest MTB racing is like.