by Jessica Buch • November 15, 2022
Mid-Atlantic Super Series Finals
Private Property somewhere in Delaware
Saturday, September 3rd, 2022
The time has come, finals are here, and we are back at Granogue for the Rewind. The same magical forbidden forest, the same tricky technical trails but this time, we are going in the other direction. For many, this race is about wrapping up the season and the series and collecting their awards. For me, it is about revenge. Earlier this year at Escape Granogue, I took my first ever DNF, and I’ve been waiting for my chance to redeem myself ever since.
There are mixed opinions on which direction is better, but there is no argument that they are both challenging races. The Gultch, the most difficult feature on these trails, is approached from the same side in both races, and even though I have raced and ridden here many times, I’ve only made it through the Gultch once, so that was on my list this season too and this way my last chance to make it happen.
The race is three laps, a total of just over 18 miles; it features all of the same trails and features as the previous race but in reverse. The prolog runs to a climb back and forth across a grass hill leading up to the Watertower, and it is an energy sucker right off the start. Next up, a fun, fast bomb down the other side across a farm field. The final grueling climb up the stone driveway from the Escape is now a descent into the woods along Brandywine Creek. Racing in and out of farm fields dotted with tracts of forest, up and down through the valley along the creek, and back and forth over the railroad. If you weren’t racing, it would be hard not to stop and take in the views. This course perfectly combines everything you could ask for, including the atmosphere. Granouge isn’t just a fun race. It’s a fun place to hang out after you’ve completed your laps. With a beer and wine garden and food truck paired with good jams and smiling faces, it’s the perfect end to the race season.
I had a great race, placed 6th with a time of 2:50:11, and made it through the Gultch on my first lap! Just finishing three laps here was an accomplishment, so this was a welcome bonus.
This was my first season in the Pro Elite Women’s group, and it was hard. The pro women are swift and fit, and I had a fantastic time chasing them around all summer. I may not have had too many top-three finishes this year, but consistency paid off, and I placed 2nd overall in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series Pro Elite Women’s XC, which feels like a win!
I started my journey in MTB racing as a Cat 3 beginner in this series three years ago. From the perspective of someone “just giving it a try” to that of a now more experienced racer, I highly recommend MASS to anyone interested in racing at any level. The work that the directors put into every race to make it a fun, welcoming, but still competitive atmosphere does not go unnoticed. With three series - Cross Country, Endurance and Enduro, there is no shortage of opportunities to challenge yourself. If you are located in the Mid-Atlantic region, I hope to see you there next year!