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Mountain bike racing returns for 2023!

I (Matthew) may have forgotten to compose up a season recap for 2022, but now we’re back yet again for 2023! MIT cycling returned to the slopes this tumble, with a couple of adventurous weekends of racing in western MA entire of new faces, shredding, bonfires, and a little bit of mud.
Our very first weekend led us to an previous favourite: Holiday getaway Brook Farm in Dalton, MA. The XC study course is an ECCC traditional, with wonderful winding trails via the woods, and a compact fall in the initially hundred yards that under no circumstances fails to result in whole chaos in the Men’s C field. Our crew for the weekend consisted of relative aged-timers Matthew and Josephine, newcomers Max, Amine, Omar, and Tim, and new-to-MTB-racing-but-old-timer-with-regard-to-MIT-biking Nick.
Josephine in the zone
Immediately after rolling in following darkish (and soon after Amine, Omar, and Matthew’s memorable to start with trip to Olive Garden), the staff awoke from their tents to a wonderful morning, and in an exceptionally unconventional transform of situations, decided to really pre-experience the program. Nick confirmed that cyclocross prowess translates very well to MTB, getting the gain with Max not way too far at the rear of. All the other Men’s Cs conquered the study course successfully, rolling by means of the end line smiling. Josephine experienced the unlucky destiny of an early puncture and received to acquire a extra relaxing early morning. The afternoon was enjoyed sessioning and spectating the dual-slalom system, and griping about bracket and timing errors. It is not bike racing except if you have a thing to make excuses about. Good ‘murican pub foodstuff and bonfire spectating despatched us to bed with sweet desires.
Max discovered to do this stuff on a blue bike
Sunday featured some stable quick-monitor XC racing, with Nick and Max getting W’s. After some enjoyable suntanning and a cup-noodle lunch, the crew packed up and headed dwelling. A person reliable weekend down.
Nick leaving anyone in the dust as constantly
For our next weekend of racing, we returned to Western MA to test out a new race study course at Thunder Mountain in Charlemont. However the week was soaked main up to the celebration and rain loomed in the forecast, a refreshing crop of new mountain bikers turned up. Initially-time mountain bike racers included Maaya, Andrew, Varsha, Melissa, Gabriel, and Julius, whilst Matthew, Tim, Max, and Felix returned for additional time on grime. This was the biggest group that MIT has taken to a mountain bicycle race in at least the past four a long time!
Are your footwear soaked?
Max donning the right uniform
Rain, rain go absent, arrive yet again some other working day that isn’t proper right before a mountain bike race. Following a damp night of camping the staff arose, anticipating a peaceful bicycle experience down the hill and throughout the river to Thunder Mountain. We were surprised to see so a lot of teams piling into vehicles for a distance that need to acquire significantly less than ten minutes on a bike… till we observed the bridge closed sign. A four-mile detour ultimately received us to the foot of the mountain, only a few minutes before the race was meant to commence from the major of the slope. The good news is ECCC does not run on time and we built it just fine.
Bridge detour caravan
Now I had promised some of the initial-time riders that the ECCC race classes are frequently rideable, even if you’ve under no circumstances ridden a mountain bicycle right before, but this was a new course and I couldn’t be certain. At the start line we acquired a dire message: “Sooo I rode the study course, and it is quite techy… and all the things is super damp and slippery which makes it tougher. Also, there is fifty percent a mile of bog.” To insert to this, the class was 30% for a longer period than it was meant to be, and highlighted several alternatives to get dropped. Needless to say, it was not the least difficult introduction to mountain biking. Still absolutely everyone toughed it out by means of the mud, with a couple of folks neatly withdrawing right after an hour-lengthy lap. Kudos to Melissa, who was the only to start with-timer to complete both equally laps, and type details to Andrew who set his full MIT spandex kit through the mud!
Mud time
Post-race, the day turned close to as the weather cleared, with the workforce expending the rest of the afternoon hitting the circulation trails. I had a good deal of exciting looking at Varsha and Maaya construct confidence all over the afternoon, and seeing the grin on Gabriel’s facial area soon after our to start with lap. Tim and I had some superior operates on techy stuff, although Tim managed to bend his next brake lever of the season. A great bonfire hangout with some clutch late-night grilling provides from Julius capped off the day.
Smile for no elevate strains
The sun arrived out for working day two, and remarkably there was no mud to be uncovered on the limited keep track of study course. What was to be located: a difficult limited turn fifty feet right after the commence involving a sharp dip to stay away from a rock backyard garden, and a demanding uphill rock roll that built this perhaps the most technically hard ECCC small observe system I have ridden. Terrific for new mountain bikers…
Use safety, youngsters
While the race went off very well for some, with an fascinating sprint complete between Felix and Max to choose first and 2nd respectively in the B industry, it also carried hazards, with Gabriel taking an unlucky crash. The team rallied to field two blended relay teams we could have arrive in 2nd-to-very last and previous, but I’m certain we had the most entertaining.
Excellent ol’ Western Massachusetts
Although most individuals headed household after the brief keep track of races, Felix, Max, and buddy-of-the-workforce Emily hung all around to trip a pair of the enduro trails, which showcased beautiful views throughout the valley. It was a unforgettable weekend for guaranteed.
Riding enduro for the views
Many thanks to all people who came out to the races this drop, and thanks as often for the tricky work from the people at ECCC who made it attainable. We’ll be back next yr.
– Matthew Goss
MIT Cycling MTB Captain
 
Photo credits: Group members Max KC, Matthew G, and Andrew D.

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