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Markham FSC by Tom Pike

2014 Specialized Bicycles Florida State Championship series #5 / Coconut Cup #1 Markham Park - Sunrise, FL 10-26-14

The 2014 Specialized Florida State Championship headed to South Florida for a packed weekend of racing at Markham Park in Sunrise, FL. Besides being the 5th round of the FSC series, this weekend also kicked off the first race of the South Florida Coconut Cup Series. Plus the always exciting Short Track race on Saturday.

It's always the best when you're racing at a home park. Obviously local trail knowledge is great for your confidence. It also can give you a psychological advantage. A "home game" also means a short car ride to the park and sleeping in your own bed.

As a South Florida rider I enjoy the combined format of the FSC series with the first three CC races. It gives me a chance to race with friends who may only be doing the Coconut Cup. It also adds a new challenge to the state racers as they have to go up against new faces.

Now it's no secret that Markham has a rep for munching on bodies and bikes. The pits are full of war stories about cuts, bruises, stitches, bones and busted bikes... and this weekend was no exception. What's intriguing to me is that Markham is a 90% technical park, not unlike Oleta, Alafia or Carter Road. Those parks also collect their share of bodies and bikes, but for some reason those parks don't seem to have the same mythology Markham has. Go figure. I'll just chalk it up to a home court advantage no matter how they lay out the course.

Speaking of which, for those of us that ride Markham all the time it was nice to have the course laid out in the direction that we always ride. Turtle Slide and Semper Fi, which are part of the AMTB(adaptive mountain bike) loop, where nice additions and new way to go around Crime Scene. The redesign of the end of Outback Extension matched low gear switchback climbing with a steep downhill feeding you into tall banked corners for a corkscrew exit that I know had some people doing the death grip on their handlebars.

As for the condition of the tails the Markham Park trail maintenance volunteers continue to do a fantastic job building and maintaining the trail system here. These guys and gals do a lot of fund-raising and invest hundreds of hours to support the trails and it shows. If you only come to Markham for the races you've noticed a lot of building and improvements.

Of special note is the AMTB(adaptive mountain bike) loop which this crew recently completed. It runs about 4 miles and was used for the kids course. They also provide the bike patrol for the races and weekends. You guys rock!

So now it's onto Haile's Trails. Rumor has it that there's two new miles of trail and that Dave Berger is spicing them up by invoking the spirits of the original Razorback trails. I hope the rumors are true.

Ride Hard! Ride Safe!
Peace, Pike!

Tom Pike is an Ellsworth Team Rider. Tom has won a Silver Medal at the USAC National Mountain Bike Championships and is a two time Florida State Mountain Bike Champion. In his “spare time” he works teaching Film Production at Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami, Florida.

 

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* New this year Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

mountain bike racing

Mountain bike racing

SERC & GSC finals at Helen, Ga

2015 Specialized South Eastern Regional Championship series #8 / Georgia State Championship series #6 - Unicoi State Park Trails - Helen, Ga 8-1/2-15

It was a perfect weekend to wrap up the two strongest series in the South East and a perfect location to do it at.  The trails at Helen of course were the host for the pro nationals back in the 1990's and the legendary course features tough climbs, decents and of course the infamous creek crossing.  On Saturday the SERC racers lined up for the bonus short track race which basically was the start loop and the final section of the cross country loop that included the finish line grass climb.  It was Bobby Donofrio taking the white wave win and Bradford Perley won the yellow wave in a hotly contested race.  On Sunday the sun came out and the trail was in great shape thanks to the local trail volunteers and park staff. 

As the kids were setting the pace for the day with some great racing in the kids wave the adult racers were prepping for challenge that is the course at Unicoi.  The course starts with about a half mile of gravel road and then it heads up hill and the ups and downs just keep coming at you for the next 8.5 miles.  Oh yes there is a creek crossing at about the 2.5 mile mark that some insist is a river crossing, it was a feature back in the day at the nationals and it is still a challenge as some riders attempt to ride across it and some prefer to run across but either way you are going to get your feet wet and maybe your feelings hurt if you fall into the chilly water.  At the end of the competition it was Bradford Perley taking the top men's class and Jennifer Nielson winning the women's premier class.

Later that same day the racers moved indoors to the Unicoi lodge banquet facility for the two series final awards, it was a packed house with about 150 in attendance, aside from all of the champions that were crowned special awards were presented to the Riders of the Year - Bradford Perley and Trudy Franzel in the SERC series.  Also in the SERC series it was Jacob Smith with the most improved Junior, Kurt Dorshimer most improved overall and Steve Jackson sportsmanship.  The GSC series saw Tristan Chaffer with the most improved and Bart Minter took home the sportsmanship award.  Congrats to all!

 

 

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*Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

mountain bike racing

Mountain bike racing

Chris Lessing navigating the rocks at Ft Payne

2015 Specialized South Eastern Regional Championship series #7 - Desoto State Park Trails - Ft Payne, AL 7-12-15

It was a typical July day in Alabama, in other words hot!  The 6.6 mile race course was changed up a little this year to make it a little faster but you can't avoid the fact that it is one of the toughest and funnest routes on the circuit due to the climbing and technical rock sections.  The race was bonus round as well as each rider that started the race received 15 points just for starting the event.  The men's expert and pro's started together and it was a showdown between Ezra Lusk and Bradford Perley with Perley taking the overall win with a strong last lap charge. In the women's top level it was Jennifer Neilson topping Trudy Franzel for the win.  Many thanks to the park management, the Ft Payne Cycling Club and the DeKalb Co. Amateur Ham radio club for the support and help with the event. 

The next stop is the combined GSC / SERC final in Helen, GA, see you there!

 

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*Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

mountain bike racing

Mountain bike racing

Clash at Clemson SERC

2015 Specialized South Eastern Regional Championship series #6 - Issaqueena Trails - Clemson, SC 6-28-15. 

A little rain on Saturday afternoon made the Sunday morning race both cool and fast (cool by South Carolina in June standards that is).  The riders faced a climby 7 mile course ends with a fast one mile downhill to the finish on this demanding course surrounded by Lake Hartwell.  All of the Cat 1 men (except for the 50+) started together and it created some interesting racing but it was Robert Marion (Pro) who ended up on top at the end fo the day over Mose Howard (40+ winner) for the overall.  Jennifer Nielson took home the top prize in the women's cat 1 class over Trudy Franzel.  Many thanks to the series sponsors, the City of Clemson and the Perkins Co. Rescue squad for helping to make the event happen.  Next SERC race is in Ft Payne Alabama and is a 15 pt bonus round.

 

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*Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

mountain bike racing

Mountain bike racing

Ewing and Pitts claim XTERRA Clemson

2015 XTERRA Clemson - Issaqueena Trails - Clemson, SC 6-27-15.

A well timed break in the weather came to South Carolina this weekend as scorching hot tempertures gave way to a slight cold front and some much needed rain for the area and the racers.  The athletes hit the water at 8am in a warm lake Hartwell for 1 kilometer then it was back on to the shore for the mountain bike leg of the event and 10 miles of tough climbing up and down the Issaqueena trail system followed by one of the most challenging and interesting four mile runs on the circuit.  This year the top male racer was Caden Ewing (by over 4 minutes) and top female was Margo Pitts.  Many thanks to the PIckens county rescue team, the City of Clemson and South Paw Bicycles for their support and making the event possible.

 More on the Blog

 

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 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* New this year Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

mountain bike racing

Mountain bike racing

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