2016 Massanutten Yee-Ha by Beech Mountain Gravity
Published May 5, 2016
On Sunday, May 1, The Gravity East Series kicked off its first race at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia. Our friends from Beech Mountain Gravity and Random Start Photography were there. Here's their day at the races from their website. Photo's provided by Beech Mountain Gravity and Random Start Photogrphy. Overall results can be found here.
Massanutten Resort hosts a downhhill race that has been going on since the era of 70 degree head tubes, single ply tires, and even some rim brakes out on the course. That is a long time ago - ancient times from our guys perspective. That said, in spite of its age, the race packs in a motivated crowd of riders and spectators every year. For 2016, the race organizers added in a new option with more rocks and steep-ness down on the bottom half of the course. 155 racers registered and hundreds of supporters and families were there to watch and cheer on their riders!
For this race, Aiden, Ben, Bergen, and Owen represented our team while Clancy spent some time on a volunteer project back home. All of the riders looked to be riding strong - including Aiden who hasn't been on his downhill bike in quite some time due to off-season injuries training with Seal Team Six (not really, but it sounds cooler that the real story). We are glad he is back and his hard training and discipline is paying off now. He had this to say:
"I felt pretty pinned for not having been on the bike our a course in 8 months. Can't wait to be on the podium next race!"
The weather on practice day was dry but overcast/cloudy, and all the riders knew that would change for Sunday. Rain was forecast for race day and the weather closed in on us Saturday night with intermittent rain that was heavy at times. While some folks braved the weather in tents or other makeshift bivy sites (Shrimper), others took to their condos for the evening to avoid the weather. This is one of the fun things about Massanutten - it is the one race in the area where camping on the slope is an option. This is rather unique in the Southeast and we hope the resort keeps it up to help riders foster new friendships in close quarters while keeping costs down! Sunday morning comes quickly and we all wake up to rain. Owen, Bergen, and Aiden were out early to get in some good practice while Ben (the late-riser in the group) decided to wait it out to the last minute in hopes of better weather. This would be a sign of things to come as the weather broke just as practice wrapped up and the sky was clearing by race time.
The race organizers reverse the start order here at the Yee-Ha, kicking off first with the Pros and wrapping up with the 14&U group. So the team order out of the gate was Owen and Bergen both in Cat 1 (0-18), Aiden in Cat 2 (0-18), and Ben in 0-14 Boys. Competition was tough in those classes with one trend that is worth noting: this year the 0-14 class is growing! There were ten competitors in that class compared to less than half that last year and we've seen the same at other venues in 2016. this is a good sign for youth mountain biking, and a trend we hope continues.
Results were good! Our riders all made quick work of the top rock garden and looked smooth and confident up there. Bergen flatted somewhere out on course, and was disappointed do DNF. The flat happened high enough on the course, and knowing the final rock garden would likely destroy his wheel he made the good decision to call it a day. Owen had a fast run, but got a bit close to some trees along the way. In spite of that brush with disaster he got back on course and finished strong - still in 3rd on the podium. Aiden had a clean run and finished 4th in his group. Ben put his run together solid on a track that challenges him (its called pedaling) and took first in his group. Race Results are available out on Roots and Rain with some cool analytics to go along with the times - check it out.
The riders were well prepared, and well equipped to have fun, mix it up with friends and competitors and represent their sponsors well. A big thanks out to all of our Sponsors as without them we wouldn't be where we are today!