The 2010 Show-Me State Games mountain bike race is next Sunday on the 25th. I told myself last summer that I’d race this year, and now it’s getting close.
I checked out the condition of the race course a couple weeks back, and it was in really bad shape. I think I had to dismount and climb over 5-6 trees, and there’s a really deep gully where there used to be only a small, very shallow ditch; it’s deep, and I can see riders going over their bars if they’re unprepared for it. It’s basically hidden around a corner, and you don’t know it’s there until you’re right on top of it. Also, where Deer Run trail runs along a creek, the trail is dangerously close to the edge in a couple spots. Normally, people like to point at bikers for trail destruction, but this is entirely weather related.
Over the last two years, mid-Missouri has been hit with one rain storm after another, especially in Spring and Fall. The creek is continuing to widen as the dirt gets loose, and massive trees are falling into it.
In two places where the trail used to come within a couple feet of the edge, it’s now literally on the very edge, and it doesn’t help that in both spots, the trail is curved. Racers unfamiliar with the trail could easily over-cook it and head right over the edge, which is about a 10ft drop into the creek. To make matters worse, the hardpack top soil is gone, replaced by 2" deep sand.
I went back out this week, and noticed a lot of the fallen trees have been removed, but there’s still one that forces a dismount. I had my loppers with me and cut off all the eye-gouging branches that jut out from it, but the tree was too large for me to remove. There’s another broken tree on the newer trail that the Boy Scouts made back in ’08, with a huge, pointed section of tree that you have to lean sideways as you pass to avoid getting hit in the face.
Assuming the course stays relatively dry, and the hazards are cleaned up in time, I’ll be out there next Sunday ready to race. It’s my first race, so I’ll be in the 30-39 Beginner class. I’d like to win, but it’s really about getting over my first race that I’m focused on. After this one, I’ll probably join the Sport class next year, and finish mid-pack or lower. I won’t be too concerned with it, I just want to finish well this time around. Wish me luck.