Raccoon Rally Report

It’s late Sunday night and I’ve just rolled back from a three-day road trip to western New York. Rather than sifting through a stack of press releases, looking for a newsworthy nugget to post in this space, I’ve decided to tell you about my trip.

Early Friday morning I pointed the trusty Windstar north, with my ultimate destination being the Raccoon Rally in Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY. But before I rolled into The Rally, I wanted to sample the sweet singletrack in nearby Ellicottville, NY. Fortunately, Dennis Baldwin of the Ellicottville Bike Shop was kind enough to agree to slip out of the shop on Friday afternoon and share the local goods. Here’s a picture of Dennis, before he got all muddy at the Raccoon Rally XC race on Sunday:

ODB

It had been a few years since I last attended the Raccoon Rally, and I found this year’s action bigger and better than ever. There was a good turnout for Saturday morning’s road race, downhill and trials events. I didn’t partake in the competition, as I was hunkered down in the vendor expo area, a.k.a. Raccoon Alley. Fortunately, Saturday afternoon’s short track XC ran right down the middle of Raccoon Alley, so I was able to snap a few photos of the action. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger photos.

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On Saturday evening the venue got hammered by a downpour that packed enough rain to turn Sunday’s XC race into quite the muddy affair. Again, I was on booth duty, so I was spared the mud bath. The sloppy conditions did provide an endless supply of muddy bikers, who were kind enough to pose for the camera.

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This gentleman won my award for the best T -shirt slogan of the day:

rich

The kids race followed the XC action. From the looks of determination (and joy) on these little bikers’ faces, I’d venture to say there may be future champions in this crowd:

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After the kid’s race, the local radar was showing a line of severe thunderstorms heading our way, so I took my cue to bust down the booth and re-pack the van for a hasty exit. I got everything packed up and hit the road before the deluge arrived, but there were a few white-knuckle moments on my drive back to Pittsburgh. I made it home unscathed; however, I noted several weather-induced accidents on the way. At least the rain made for cool temperatures—perfect for late night blogging.

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