Live Love Velo’s Mountain Bike Year in Review by Kim Ely
This year saw LLV racers conquer mountains and rocks, in all conditions from sweltering heat to freezing torrential rain. Races varied from high intensity technical courses through to 70 mile epics that required many, many hours in the saddle. There were plenty of challenges to tackle, a few spills to recover from and loads of good times. Some team members built on years of race experience, and for others it was their first time racing on dirt, or even riding a mountain bike.
Lisa and Diana kicked off the season in March with a road trip down to Maryland for the Cranky Monkey 3 hour. In April, Kim headed to Connecticut, and took 2nd place (Cat 2, 35+) in the Winding Trails Fat Tire Classic. The first long race of the season for LLV was the Wildcat 100 in upstate New York, where Kim and Lisa tackled climbing over the Shawangunks and riding (and walking) through swamps to finish the 100 km event.
There was plenty of action in June, with Tori taking 3rd (Cat 1, 19-39) in the Bear Creek Challenge in PA. The team had strong representation at the Lewis Morris Challenge in NJ, with Tori, Diana, Kyra, Robin, Lisa, Missy and Petra riding. Podium spots were snared by Tori (3rd, Pro/Cat 1), Robin (1st, Cat 2 40+) and Petra, in her first MTB race (3rd, Cat 3 40+). Tori was on the podium again at Windham, with 2nd place in Cat 1. The heat was on at the Stewart Super Six Pack, culminating in thunder and lightning towards the end of the race. Kim and Lisa rode all 6 hours, and Missy, Tori, Kyra, Ellen and Robin passed batons as teams in the open pairs category.
July saw more podium spots, with Petra taking 3rd (35+) and a pineapple prize at the Freedom Fest in Hawaii. Lisa, Diana and Tori also all scored 3rd place in their categories at the Bulldog Rump in NJ. Tori then went on to 6th at the 2013 National Championships in PA. The National Championships!!
In August we again fielded a strong team at the Taconic 909 in NY, with Kim, Diana, Kyra, Robin and Lisa all having a blast on a super fun course. Kim (1st) and Diana (3rd) were on the Cat 2 19-39 podium, and Robin took 1st in Cat 2 40+. Lisa rode up a storm in August, racing the Mountain Creek Summer Scramble, West Hurly Burly Backyard and Tymor Park Challenge, taking out 2nd (Cat 2, 40+) in the first two races. This rounded out the Campmor H2H Race Series, where Lisa finished 2nd and Diana 3rd in their categories in the final standings.
As the temperatures dipped, the races got longer. Kim, Lisa and Diana trekked north for the Vermont 50. The first challenge of this event is entering, with the race selling out in just 20 minutes. The second challenge is riding 50 miles with loads of elevation change and plenty of singletrack. And we all did it! Kim brought home a trophy of local maple syrup for a 2nd place finish in the Sport 35-44 category.
The mountain bike year culminated in our strongest turnout yet, at our local race, the Something Wicked 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines. For several team members it was their first mountain bike race: what a way to start! Kim and Diana again shared the podium, with 1st and 3rd in Cat 2 30-39. Jenn Gatz and Lisa both took 1st in Cat 2 40-49 and 50+ respectively. Cindy took 3rd (Cat 3 30-39), and Patty and Paula finished 1st and 3rd (Cat 3 50+). Missy raced in the mixed pairs with Scott Rath.
In summary, what a year! Twelve Live Love Velo racers competed in 16 mountain bike races across 7 states. Half of our 46 race starts ended with top 3 finishes, including 7 first places. What will 2014 bring? I suspect there might be some category upgrades in store, and even more of the team will be tempted to discover for themselves how much fun can be had racing in the dirt!