The 4th annual Oktoberfest Super D took place this past weekend at Blue Mountain Bike Park in Palmerton, PA. This event has become a “must do” race to attend each year as we change seasons. For my trip west I was nervous driving towards Philly as the pope was in town this weekend. I was afraid that the roads closer to Philly would be a little congested, turned out the opposite.
The weather turned out just about perfect, partly cloudy with temps in the upper 60’s! Unfortunately I would make the trip alone this year as Susan is going through chemo treatment again. It was a last-minute decision for her to stay home and she was missed.
The Super D course for this year was similar to what we raced last year except that they removed the short climb near the beginning. This was a welcome change by everyone that I spoke with. 1.5 miles of mostly downhill trails filled with rock and more rock! There were plenty of challenges along the course as well as spots to really get on the gas! I think it was the best Super D course I’ve ridden and other riders would agree.
After a couple of practice laps I was starting to get comfortable again with gravity riding. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t have too much elevation where I live so it takes me a couple of rides down the mountain to loosen up a little. After the third practice run I felt that I was ready to go!
With so many riders practicing, parts of the course wound up with more exposed rock and ruts. This mountain is famous for showing its teeth. Rutted out sections of trail with sharp rock sticking out ready to rip your tires apart. Of course there were a handful of flat tires & other mechanical issues in practice and in race runs. Fortunately for me, my tire and wheel setup still provided consistent performance! I love that I can count on the Mavic Crossmax gear!
I’m riding on the Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheel and tire system but am using the 2.4 Charge XL front tire on both wheels. This would give me more tire front and rear for this kind of terrain. My rear tire had seen about 3 months of riding before the day but still took the brunt of the gnarly course had to offer.
Overall it was a fun day of riding and hanging with friends! It is always great to get out and ride with like-minded mountain bikers and old friends. Dan Whitehead, his wife Jocelyn and their son were there. Dan, who may not know this, was instrumental in getting me hooked on Super D and Enduro racing. He used to put on a number of Super D races years ago at this mountain that I had participated in. Those events were so fun and had a real welcoming feel that I wanted more of this style of racing!
It was also great to see the boys from Reading, PA again. Fred Heinly, Tony Pajakinas, the “Amish Mafia” and some others that are heavily involved in the Reading mountain bike scene. All rippers and great people to hang out with! Thanks for the beer!
I wound up 4th in the 40+ division, I’ll take it after a costly mistake near the top of the mountain. I got a little off course and had to use the brakes to avoid hitting a tree. I tried to get back up to speed but the flow was gone for a moment. That is all apart of racing. I was up against some fast riders which is always welcome.