Last wrap up from the visitPA.com Rocktober Challenge last month. There was some discussion after this thing about whether it might have been too hard. Like much in life I suppose the answer must be "it depends."
What I'm sure of is that the event is too hard for some people. This is definitely not a beginner's marathon. It may not even really be appropriate for a sport racer. When one figures that the guys at the front of this thing are national caliber endurance racers and they took almost as long to do these 75ish miles as they take to do some of the 100s...well, that means this was tuff. Or maybe they just all stopped to enjoy the scenery?
This is what I'm thinking for 2009: We're going to keep the endurance race where its at right now - 75 miles of mountain bike bliss. What we're going to do differently is make the event a little more accessible to the rest with either a long XC or (more likely) a relay.
It'll work like this -- since we've designed the course as a 3 leaf clover we can use the center point of the clover as a place to switch riders. Each team will consist of 3 riders and the teams will be required to have 1 beginner, 1 sport, and 1 expert on each squad. Beginners will do loop 1, Experts will take on loop 2, and Sports will finish it out on loop 3. I'm not quite sure how yet to integrate this into the MASS - perhaps just as a team event similar to the US Open Team Relay we do in April or maybe we can do some sort of XC points too with the results from each loop counting as stand alone XC points...we'll see.
Hopefully this gives those of you not into a 8-10 hour 75 mile mtb experience a little something to look forward to because as anyone who did the 2008 Rocktober Challenge will tell you, the riding in RB Winter and Bald Eagle is just plain spectacular.
Stage Race coming - July 4-6. Be there!