"Mount Snow’s trail system has been thoughtfully designed and constructed over time with you, the mountain biker, in mind."
Oops! Looks like the marketing department didn't write the BikeReg course description. Did a little bit of truth slip out of the marketing machine? We'll find out soon enough.
My driver told me we were leaving super early. I didn't argue, I didn't check to see when the race started, I didn't do the math. I showed up when and where driver said to, my driver is scary, you don't mess with him.
Turns out we pulled into the parking lot early. We had plenty of time to gear up and take a practice lap. What can I say about the practice lap? It sucked. I was hating the course, I was hating the weather, and most of all I was hating the "trail care crew". I hit the bike wash to find that pretty much everyone who was dumb enough to pre-ride had a similar opinion. Most racers heard about the horrible mud, and scratched the pre-ride, figuring four laps would be enough abuse for the body and bike.
Then we lined up. I was at the back of a good sized field, tons of fast guys came out to prep for the big race in two weeks. Whistle blows and off we go. You're not getting a recap. If you want to know more about how my race went, read Colin's report. He sums up my race better than I could. Let's just say I did better than I expected. Way better. Mount Snow is the race that I historically do the worst at, and I came in 13th out of a field of 29 elite racers. I shaved an hour off last years four lap time. Sure, the lap was a bit shorter, but it wasn't that much shorter.
I wanted to continue hating Mount Snow. I did. When I first sat down to write my race report, I was ready to spit the hate like the hate had never been spat. I was going to do it player hater's ball style. I had jokes, tons of 'em. I even made a graphic...
Ooooooh, I wanted to hate so bad. I feel that after my Pat's Peak discussion, I have become the mouthpiece for mountain bikers that hate ski area races. I had big shoes to fill, I HAD to hate. I have been type-cast into the "mountain hater". I wrote and wrote, but just wasn't feeling it. The hate was forced, it didn't come easy like it did for Pat's Peak, I just wasn't feeling it.
The problem was that Mount Snow tried. Regardless of whether the course sucked or not, they had made changes. They did trailwork. Sure, not all of it was great, but they picked up a shovel, and really, that's all I've been asking for. They seem to no longer be content with the course they have been running for the better part of two decades.
They tried something new, and regardless of whether it worked out or not, I commend them. Lucky for them, it's easy to tell which parts of your course did not work (hint: the parts that are no longer there did not work, you can find these parts at the bike wash). All you need to do is walk the course, the sections that leave you without shoes on your feet, those need more work. The trails need some waterbars, more drainage would help here and there, and they need a few more bridges. That grassy traverse switchback has to go. However unfortunate it is for the hater in me, the race loop seems to be moving in the right direction. I've done trailwork, I know it is slow going if you do it properly. We can't expect every problem area to be repaired in the course of one year; a five mile loop is a lot of trail.
I never thought I'd say this.
Mount Snow, please continue doing what you are doing. (If your trail care crew keeps putting in the effort,) I am looking forward to racing your course next year. I can't believe I just typed that.