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By Robert Lewis, photos by Ian McAlexander / ITMexposures.com,
The 2012 Massanutten Yee-Ha was held April 27-29 at the Massanutten Resort in Virginia. This year, Massanutten cut out the gnarly root section above the last rock garden, which I think was a really great addition to the track. Added were some rollers and sharp cornered berms that took some extra strength to pull through by the end of the race run.
The weather was much different than it had been in the past years, it was cooler and rainy, which personally I think beats 80 and humid any day. So with some rain on the track for Saturday practice, it caused some mud to track on the top rock slabs early in the morning. They seemed to be okay for some people if you just did your braking early, and lay of it once on the rocks.Beside that, the rain just allowed the track to give more traction, and a long freezing lift ride to the top.
The day continued to pan out with some rain, and well into the night. Once Sunday morning rolled around, the sky was clear, and the sun was on its way out. Even with some thunderstorms the night before, the track seemed to be untouched. The dirt was tacky, the rocks were clean, and the sand seemed to be hard packed.
Massanutten really seems to bring every bit of a rider’s skill into play when racing it. It contains rocks, roots, corners, sand, uphill and speed. The only thing it really lacked is jumps. It seemed the biggest problem for racers was flat tires from the square edge rocks scattered throughout the track. But as the day came to an end, it seemed that everyone from every age group and skill level had a blast.
With a lot of downhill races scattered throughout the bike season, one might ask which races are worth going to. I think some races that should be on everyone schedule this year are listed below.
Duryea Downhill, Reading, Pa., May 12-13. A unique downhill track that runs through the city of Reading, PA, and supposedly suppose to be an extremely fun and creative track. Being a great pick for riders of all ages and skill levels.
Mountain Creek Gravity East Series #1. Vernon, N.J., June 2-3. Mountain Creek is the new name for Diablo Bike Park. Which means nothing has changed but the name and the amount of new trails that are opening. Vernon is not the cheapest place venue to travel to, but it is worth it if you love to ride and get your money’s worth. Mountain Creek is a huge bike park, and will not disappoint any rider or racer of any skill level.
Snowshoe Gravity East Series #5.Snowshoe, W.V., September 8-9. Snowshoe holds three other races throughout the bike season than this GES date, which is great if you cannot make it to the September 8-9 event. Snowshoe has a Whistler feel in the town, and something fun is always going on. The track is on the longer side with runs into the 6-7 minute length if you are quick. Also it rains in Snowshoe most of the time making for for a wet and wild race. It also has a great trail system to ride before or after practices allowing everything from flow runs to breath takers. It may be a little tough for some beginner racers because of the length, but if you’re up for the challenge you will take so much skill home from the gnarly descent down Snowshoe Mountain.
7Springs Bike Park Gravity East Series #6. Somerset, Pa. September 29-30. 7Springs has something for everyone. It has the beginner trails, expert trails and everything in-between. The race is split up into two different tracks so the beginners and sport riders can have it a little easier, and the pros and experts can have a bit more of a challenge. With a high-speed lift and about a 2-3 minute run, you can spend an hour and already have double the amount of runs you could have taken at any other bike park. 7Springs definitely has one of the more famous rock sections at the bottom of the hill, due to massive amounts of wrecks one year when it rained extremely hard.
Hopefully some of these races are on your list of a must do this season, and I hope to see you there!
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