It’s been quite a few years since I’ve raced Pat’s Peak. I wasn’t a huge fan of the course way back when so I’ve sort of avoided it in favor of other races. Now that we also have our Gravity team this event presents the only real chance for both sides of the team to be racing the same event at the same time. So it seemed like it was time to give it another chance and get the team together for a cross over event.
I had been hearing rumors that Pat’s has been working hard to improve the course and I’m happy to report that they have been very successful turning a course that I have avoided for years into a challenging, fun course that I will probably try to make sure I do in the future.
They reduced the amount of time on actual ski trails, they added some really well built switchback climbing, lots of bridges spanning wet areas, there is even a tunnel to ride through that goes under the DH course! There is some great new terrain up top that is technical but still flows really well and the main descent towards the end of the lap is burly, fast and super shreddy. You need to be a well rounded rider for sure. Congrats to all the folks who have worked hard on this course over the years.
We had a good sized Cat 2 field. I was able to get myself pretty well positioned early on, maybe about 4th wheel(?) and made a few passes on the early technical climbing and was riding in 2nd for the second half of the first climb. A small group bridged up to me at the top. One guy got away but I was able to hold my own on the descent and lap through in 3rd with a bit of a gap on the rest of the field.
Kenny F. and Stephen K. bridged up before too long and we settled into a paceline on the way up battling for that last podium spot. If I was a more competitive person I probably would have (and should have) attacked in a few spots where the pace softened a bit but I was comfortable and happy with where I was so I went the lazy route. Everyone was being very mindful of gaps because it was apparent we were all pretty evenly matched so any gaps that grew too big would be very hard to shut down. Case in point, Stephen bobbled a bit in a tricky spot up top on lap 2 riding second wheel. I got around and the gap Kenny got and the gap I got probably held about true to the finish.
I felt like I almost closed on Kenny heading into the main descent, maybe within 5 secs or so but I chose a poor line heading into a little bridge, dabbed, lost another 5-10 secs and wasn’t gonna make anything back descending on a rigid bike so I ended up in 4th maybe 20-30secs behind Kenny. I’m happy with the day. The course was super fun and it felt good to be up there battling with some great riders on my 29+ rig.
Congrats to all our racers who got on the podium, a very successful day for NEMBA Racing!