Hauled myself out of a comfortable warm bed at 8am so I could hustle over to Gainesville State College to catch a little of the
It was a pretty chilly out, but the rain had finally stopped the night before. The race info slated the start at 9am, which is about the time I arrived.
I could tell from the get go that things were either running way late or had been pushed back. A murmur from the crowd later revealed that it was indeed pushed back on purpose, probably to let the trails dry up a bit more since they had gotten pounded with rain the day before. I milled about and tried to get a strategy set up for grabbing a few pics. Ran into Cody from Addictive Cycles at the coffee tent and said a quick hello. I was hoping to see Hodge but I had read in his personal blog that he didn’t think he would make it out to the race. I wonder if he eventually did get down there? I was also keeping an eye out for a squad from Faster Mustache, but I never did see their banner or anything. Maybe they were there in stealth mode.
After a while the morning was kind of dragging along. I was there for at least 45 minutes before I heard any sort of announcement over the PA, and they didn’t run any music til a few minutes after that. This made me think of the guy who was announcing last year…I don’t remember his name but I know he is well known in SORBA circles. Last year at first we thought he sounded kind of corny, but he DID keep a banter going, which kept everyones mind off the cold and kept everyone in the loop about how long it was til the start and such. The guy who did the announcing this time around certainly didn’t do a bad job, but he was strictly business. I kind of missed the other dude. He was fun.
EVENTUALLY, the race was about to begin…so everyone lined up their bikes for the LeMans style start.
I love the sight of all those bikes spread out on the lawn. You are easily looking at 100k worth of rides! The Lemans style start has the riders (in their clipless shoes and all…) do a short run around a pond, then grab their bikes and head onto the course. Aaaaaaand their off!
Knowing there is a LeMans style start was a dealbreaker for any potential attempt I tried to make at getting a team together this year. None of us want to do the run. Of course, me and any potential teammates I could have had also logged little to no time on the mountain bikes this summer, so the run wasn’t the only reason we opted out. Maybe next year. The lake really isn’t THAT big to circumnavigate…
There isn’t much more to the lake out of frame in this pic.
The racers made it back to the bikes without incident and proceeded to get gone. I hustled over to the first place I wanted to take pics, which is a slight curve coming off a loooooong fast stretch, with a slight bump that immediately drops to a lengthy taper, so last year people were flicking jumps off of it.
Unfortunately, with the grass being wet and the course kind of muddy, pretty much everyone decided to just stay on the ground until I finally picked up my gear to move to another location…then some dude on a silver Trek busted a stylin cross-up which would have been great to catch on the cammy. Oh well.
I don’t follow the mountain bike racing scene too much, so I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure this is Pro racer Krista Park
She was blazin fast.
After a good portion of the racers passed, I grabbed my bike and gear and headed to another portion of the course which was actually back in the woods a little bit. I was going to get pics of the riders navigating this one dip in the trail where you have two options…go back up from the dip on the smooth but really steep side, or the less steep but incredibly rooty side. I had been in the woods earlier though to scope it out and I just didn’t think the picks would be that great. Plus it was a little far back on the trail for me to get back out off once the race was actually happening. I didn’t want to get in anyones way. So I opted to use a place a little less far back in the woods right where there was a slight curve and a puddle of standing water. I had hoped to get some nice splashes from the tires in the pics because it would make for motion and drama, but after about three people hit the puddle there was no water left.
This may not look like much of a turn, but people were having trouble with it because of the mud. At least one person came off the bike while I was snapping.
Check out this guy’s ride! Thin tires, abstract bend in the bars…sidepull brakes. Yeah man! I like it! He was jammin too…all my pics came from the early group.
After a while I got tired of the sticker bushes cutting up my legs, so I decided to head out to event number two. Once I was out of the woods I tried to grab a few motion shots.
It seemed like Tumbling Creek was on track to be another really fun event.
If I had to make any suggestions, I’d say it would be cool to have some games or contests or something for the folks who come to spectate to do. I know that first and foremost it is a race, but adding some extra funtime business might help draw some non-bikey people, expose them to bikey stuff, and create more riders. I’m all about making biking grow.
I’m sure the race turned out great, but I had to leave to head to SPOA Harvest Jam 08, so you’ll have to hit the SORBA site to see some reviews and proper race reports.