Written by Paul Simoes Thursday, 17 August 2017 00:00
The first VT3 three day mt. bike race in the northeast kingdom of Vermont on all the trails you or me may never been on, but we all been to kingdom but not these trails. Three days of racing: a short time trial in Hardwick, hills and enduro's at Victory Hill, and some classic XC at Craftsbury Common to end the weekend. We ended up with four of us in the single speed class, Josh Kunz from OH, and the famous Tom Parson making a racing/working comeback, and about a total of 45 people overall.
Day 1 - a 4 mile TT to get us started. Being number 41 lucky me was one of the last to go off but it didn’t matter. Started somewhat fast and fun then about halfway into the TT, a good climb on some great single track, but this climb was tougher than what I was expecting. Luckily, it was a short TT so I was able to push through it. But it was a wakeup call to change my gearing for the hill feast of Victory Hill on Day 2. Josh got the win on day 1, I came in 2nd about 1:15 back.
Day 2 - Victory Hill a 14 mile loop we do twice that ends with 3 monster climbs and 3 enduro style downhills; the queen stage. And we’re off. I found myself quickly lining up behind Josh for the first few miles which was fine with me. Josh and I did the 3-Day TSE epic in PA earlier in the year, so I knew Josh is a super strong rider (Josh got the win in PA). So I stayed on his wheel until a mile and a half before the hills on a dirt road in which Josh put a little gap on me but he was still in site. First climb, and so far I’m feeling good and I really liked the way that 32 x 20 feels on these hills, and before I knew it, I noticed I was closing the gap on Josh. About a ⅓ to ½ way up the hill, I caught up to Josh and passed him. Made it up the first climb with a gap and one thing I remember from PA I was faster on the enduro’s with the help of the Kona Ti Honzo geometry and 120mmm fork. This bike would just fly down the hills. By end of the first lap those hills just left me smiling and ready for more! The first half again and I just maintained a good pace and by the end of the dirt road before the hills and still no sign of Josh. To the hills again, and I’m still feeling good on the bike up the first hill, and up again and by the end of the 5th DH I’m just still having a ball and I know it’s just nuts but I was having so much fun I didn’t mind going up a 6th time !! Got the stage win and about 6 minutes, so going into the last day of racing with close to a 5 min gap, nice.
Day 3 - a 10-11 mile loop we do twice at Craftsbury Common. And we’re off again. I jump back on Josh’s wheel, why not. The riding on Day 3 I found to be a bit more technical. The first half of the course was fairly flat with some punchy climbs in the second half of the course, another day of great riding. After staying on Josh’s wheel for the first 4 or so miles Josh let me by and I just maintained a strong steady pace for the rest of the first lap and for the second lap as well. For Day 3 I still felt great on the bike and was able to really enjoy the riding that the other kingdom trails had to offer!
Nice to finally get a win. I feel I’ve been in a 4th place rutt for a while. The riding was awesome and the variety of the the 3 days was great: a fun TT to get started, an enduro style hill feast, and to finish on the 3rd day with classic XC riding, super fun weekend. A big thanks to Josh for coming out from OH and making it a race and the VT3 people putting together a great event, hopefully they keep it going.
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