Written by Eric Olds Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:00
Bond Brook Tread Fest 2017
This was the second year that the Tread Fest has featured a stage race with a time trial, “endure style” race, and a 6-hour race. Last year I did all three stages, but this year I couldn’t devote my whole weekend to the bike, so just did the 6-hour race on Saturday. Last year I came in 4th out of 10 with 7 laps in the men 40-49 category so going into this year I was aiming for 8 laps and hopefully a spot on the podium.
The trails at Bond Brook are mostly hard packed clay which is best ridden when it’s dry. So, with rain the day before, and pouring rain the two hours leading up to the start I knew it would be greasy, and it was, at least for the first two laps. There were three course changes this year. The first removed a particularly unpleasant steep up and down section of Nordic ski trail except in the start loop. The second added a trip through “the Quarry” and a new descent in an area that had been clear cut to improve the landing approach to the airport. And, the third removed the “Wannabe” half pipe trail and replaced it with a Nordic half-pipe. Riders expressed their skepticism of the last change, but it turned out being really fun, and a bit harry if you didn’t watch your speed. I thought I was going to end up getting tossed into the woods at high speed a couple of times during the race.
Besides the greasiness of the course, my legs were not feeling good the first two laps and I even cramped up briefly when I had to put my foot down one time. I started to feel good on lap three, but then broke a spoke half way through the lap. Luckily it didn’t puncture the tubeless tape and cause a flat and I was able to keep going after weaving the dangling spoke into the remaining spokes. It did get into my head for the next couple of laps as I wondered if the wheel would fail. The Carver wheel held solid and true, though.
I had hoped for 8 laps, but by the end of lap 5 that was looking doubtful. When I made a brief pitstop after lap 6 (I pitted every two laps for water and food) I thought I had time to make the cutoff, but it was just my tired mind doing creative math. I ended up with 7 laps, but in just under 6 hours which was faster than last year by about 20 minutes. The slick conditions in the beginning kept me from my goal, I’m pretty sure. Place wise, I did worse than last year (6 out 13), but that was largely because the competition was much stiffer with some Expert/Open riders from last year opting for the age category this year.
It was a great day! Good times hanging out with the rest of the Bikeman crew. The sun stayed behind the clouds until the end which helped a lot. Next year I hope to be able to bring more of the family along and camp out for the weekend and do all three stages. It’s a great event in a great venue! Special thanks to Rick Nelson for providing the pit area tent and Ian Ogilvie for the photos.
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