SERC #1, Gainesville, FL
We took time off from our theme park vacation
and drove a couple hours northwest to Gainesville, Florida. While most know
this town from the University of Florida Gators, it is also home to Haile’s
Trails, the venue for the first cross country race of the South Eastern
Regional Championship (SERC). The SERC series consists of 10 classic races all over
the southeast and are just a few of many notable events promoted by www.goneriding.com.
Gone Riding was started in 1993 by David and
Terri Berger who may have more experience promoting MTB events than just about
anyone. I had the opportunity to race with them in Ocala at the 12 Hours of
Santos last year, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to try out another event on
this trip to Florida. Gone Riding is super stoked to be promoting the US Cup
East Series presented by Specialized this year, and if the great turnout for
the first race was any indication, the racers are on board.
The weather here has been awesome all week
and today was no exception—mid 80s and azure blue sky again. The race was split
into two start blocks with the slower categories racing earlier in the morning
and the rest of us on the line at 11:30am starting in waves by category. The trails
were well groomed and offered a few technical drops and rocky/rooty sections
along with some short, steep climbs in and out of some old quarries. It was
similar to the Santos trails, which was good since I had no extra time to pre ride
the course. The lap was short but offered spectators a chance to check out
several sections of the course adjacent to the parking and start/finish area.
Three full days at Disney weighed a bit heavy
on my legs, and my first ride on the single-speed since Breck Epic was sort of
a de-bugging mission. No excuses—the locals made short work of me and I was off
the back after a slow start. While things went pretty smooth for the most part,
I could have been better prepared both mechanically and physically. After
digging a considerable hole, I started crawling out and managed to finish third
on the day running out of time to mount much of a charge at the end.
Apparently single-speeding is a little
different on the old coast as our race was over in an hour and change. I can’t
remember the last time I did a cross-country race this short and it would be
predictable for me to be left wanting. However, today seemed about right and I
was able get my Ibis Tranny back inside my $1.99 suitcase just in time for the
awards and its no-charge flight home to winter.
Super Cool Bike Shop served up some nice
goodies for those fortunate enough to finish near the front and everyone seemed
to enjoy the festivities. Tomorrow means one more day on the amusement circuit,
but I imagine there will be a extra spring in our race to the next Fast Pass
after such a great "recovery” day!