The 2nd Annual 12 Hours of Millstone kicked off under threatening skies on Saturday morning. The race, which takes place in an old granite quarry turned mountain bike and cross-country ski center, featured a healthy dose of rock and root strewn singletrack and nearly 1400 feet of climbing per 6.5 mile lap. Racers were treated to beautiful views of the Green Mountains, and the singletrack, all built recently by a professional trail crew, was high speed and flowing, despite the technical challenge brought on by the abundant granite.
With a 70% chance of rain in the forecast the pace was fast from the start, as racers tried to get as many laps in as possible while the trails were still dry. In the menís solo race it was Chris Gagnon (Cross Cycle Fitness/MTBMind.com) who stormed off the line, notching the fastest lap time of the day on lap one. While Gagnon slowed just a bit in the ensuring laps, his lead continued to grow, and was nearly insurmountable by the midway point.
The early womenís leader, Halley Sarausky (Littleton Bike and Fitness) suffered a serious crash that hurt her right arm and put her race in jeopardy after less than three hours of racing. However, after seeing on-site paramedics, she was able to continue eventually take the win.
By the raceís midway point the promised rains began to arrive. Lap times slowed considerably as riders were more conservative on the slick rocks, roots, and muddy corners. And while Alby King (Bikeman.com) was putting up an admirable chase in the menís solo division, Gagnonís lead was large enough to allow him to ride conservatively in the second half of the race. In the end, Gagnon took the win with 12 laps, while King rolled through in 2nd. Sarausky took the win in the womenís race.
In between laps racers snagged BBQ, watched the kids race, and cheered on other racers, some as young as 8 and others as old as 60. The course doubled back through the start finish at its midway point, making for good spectating, and by the time racers were finishing the rain had let up.
There was also considerable competition in the team races. In the Duo Menís category team Getting Modigity With It, from Sutton, MA, took the win with 15 laps. Team East Coast Love, from Moretown, VT, won the Coed Duo category with 14 laps, while the Alpine Clinic team won the Three Person class and Team P.A.C.K won the Four-Person division.
Exposure lights sponsored a competition for the fastest night lap, awarding a Diablo light to the fastest menís and womenís lap started between 7:30pm and 8:00pm. Nina Otter and Phil Beard both came away with new lights for their efforts. Exposure also gave away a light to the top singlespeed racer.
Cash prizes were awarded to the top three finishers in the menís, womenís, and singlespeed open categories, and team East Coast Love came away with a new 29er hardtail courtesy of Cannondale and Littleton Bike and Fitness.
A portion of the proceeds from the event go to the Millstone Trail Association, which works to expand the trail network at Millstone and revitalize the local economy.