June 25, 2011 By Keith
The Pinnacle is set in Newport, NH behind the local high school that has a practice ski jump. When you hear about that, you wonder do I have to ride down this wooden structure and fly off in the air? No, but you do get a glimpse of it at the finish of each lap before you take the plunge down into the football field. Combined with that there is a fair amount of climbing and descending, but it’s not like a ski hill race. There is a good amount of switchbacks and hardly and double track.
Keith Reynolds Expert VetI Men, 9th
Emily Phillips Sport Senior Women, 2nd
Janet Lorang Sport Senior Women, 4th
Lisa Marshal Sport Senior Women, 5th
Les Bethel Sport Master Men, 7th
Julianne Oberle, Novice Senior Women, 3rd
Congrats to everyone on their great finishes. There was a good amount of climbing to be directly rewarded with the descents. I think everyone came away happy they made the trip to this classic race course.
Moody Park 6/26
Horror at Harding Hill 7/17
Hodges Dam 8/7
Last time I did this race was 2 years ago, in beginner. I did 1 lap and walked the uphill, and was pretty confused why everyone else liked the course so much. Now I get it! Best course EVER. Best singletrack this side of Kingdom trails. Yes, it has climbing, but it’s mostly fun singletrack climbing with just a little awful fire road. I rode all of it, wahoo. And the downhill is SWEET. Banked sections were new this year. And of course the PLUMMET. Loved it.
Oh yeah… the race. My field spread out on the initial climb. I saw Lisa on and off for the first lap until she dropped her chain and had to stop, but then no one in my field the rest of the race. But it was SO much FUN that no complaints there, and I had plenty of men to “race” against. Everyone needs to come to this race because it will make you love your mountain bike.
I arrived early and cheered on our Sport racing squad. Then I sat in the field and chatted with some of the other racers, relaxing before the race. I prepped a little and faked a warm up, having ridden both the start and finish earlier. We lined up, they said 3-2-and then a whole group started going before ‘go’. I stayed with the front group during the climb and I didn’t push too hard, settling into something like 5th. We went through the course pretty quickly and were starting to catch some earlier racers before we got to the pinnacle, or the highpoint of the course. So traffic backed a few of us up and then through the descents it was a bit difficult to get a pass in so we were patient. I was riding behind Craig, from CT and we’ve been racing together for some time now. I was wanting to pass but held back for a good opening but just then my rear tire burped and got soft. So I pulled over, aired it up and had a stream of riders pass along with some hope of staying with the front group.
Lap two was about gaining back some of that time, and pushing hard on the hills because you can recover on the descents. There was one set of trees that were just a little bigger than saplings – I had to jam on the brakes and ended up coming unclipped. Getting back on and shaking things off I worked to ease into the descent. During the lap points it was nice to hear some cheering from the crowd gathered in the field.
Lap 3 I had an absolute blast on the descent. I heard a rider catching me just before the descent and I never looked back just wanting to stay calm and confident. The first few obstacles were some twists with a few roots and one sapling covering the trail. Once those were passed, your speed could really increase and I grazed a tree with my left hip. Moving into the berm section I heard my friend, and volunteer Aaron yell out some encouragement. Then I could hear the rider in the back starting to catch up, but then came the pump track and I took all the solid lines to open up up a gap which was not contested. The next section opened into the double track with pine needles, signaling the finish. I was tempted to go off the mini jump on the descent, but opted for the safer line and to secure a finish. Once through the finish I learned it was a friend of mine in a different field who would have reveled in passing before the finish. We both loved the chase.