Written by Jerome Hughes Thursday, 17 September 2015 17:50
The Landmine Classic held in Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, MA is my favorite mountain bike race of the year. It has it all; crazy fast stuff, sketchy bridges, twisty gnarly, nasty rocks and roots... classic New England! If you are looking for an event to ADD to your 2016 schedule – this is it. Last year it was very hot. Coming into the race this year, the forecast was calling for perfect weather – high 60’s / cloudy / no wind. I was feeling fit and ready to go but Mother Nature had other plans.I woke to a light drizzle, picked up my friend Todd Anderson and we made our way down to Hingham, MA. The rain was heavy at times and the steady spitting drizzle wasn’t stopping as we arrived on site. This was going to definitely change things given all of the bridges, rocks, and roots. My plan was to really rip the fast stuff in anticipation for the ‘rest sections’ on the technical stuff. I was worried about my tire choice (sporting the Race Kings) but it was all I had so I would make due with a bit lower pressure in them.
There was a big cross race on the same day so that hindered the field sizes a bit but after the PRO fields took off – I got going with the rest of the Cat 1’s. They started the 19-49 year olds all together – I would guess about 40-50 of us went off. I had a great start and settled into 3rd as we raced into the single track. Rich Pirro (ultimate winner) was leading the pack and keeping the pace nice and peppy.
The 25 mile loop feels like 2 separate events; the first half being ridiculously fast for ‘off pavement’ riding – many times clocking high 20’s… then there is the second half – marked by nasty rock gardens and tricky wet off-camber roots.
At about 18 miles in, I was sitting in 10th and my old friend Greg ‘The Leg’ Montello comes up on me. I drove on - trading positions with Greg for a few miles before a slip up gave him a gap and he pulled away – ultimately finishing about 30 seconds up on me. I had a great final few miles and even managed to pass Luke Hurley who usually bests me by 4-5 mins. The closing 1-2 miles of this thing are tough – constant unrelenting roots/rocks. All in all, it was a good day.
I finished in 2:15 – about 10 mins off the Cat 1 winner. It was humbling to see guys doing 2 laps on that course – tough stuff both mentally and physically. My Kona Hei Hei was once again my friend – I LOVE this bike and switching it over to a 1x this spring was definitely a smart move.
Check out the great video shot and produced by Thom Parsons of Dirtwire.
Full results here.
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