Late Night at Bear Creek
by Jessica Buch • November 08, 2022
Mid Atlantic Super Series
Late Night at Bear Creek
Bear Creek Mountain Resort Macungie, PA
August 5th, 2022
We are back at one of my favorite venues for round two racing on Bear Creek Mountain, except this time, we are racing in the dark. One of the most anticipated races of the year, a chance to put all of your skills to the test indeed. The anticipation grows as you watch the sun slowly dip behind the mountain as you gather your gear and get your bike ready for the night.
For a total of just over 12 miles, the race is three laps, with 65% of your time spent climbing rocky singletrack, double track stone access roads, grass ski hill, and a little pavement. This course makes you work from start to finish. It is not entirely a suffer-fest, though; after descending through the chunky rock gardens, you get to hit some twisty berms that bring a smile to even the most tired rider’s face.
I felt good off the start as the temps were excellent, and a pressing storm on the other side of the mountain brought a breeze and a light mist that made the night comfortable. The start is up a stone lane, and then we traced around the big pond in the opposite direction from the last race. After a short section of woods, we cross the driveway and are on our way up the mountain. I fell into the 7th position and held the wheel of 6th place easily. We stuck together through some traffic at the end of the first lap, and as we headed back up the mountain for our second, I decided I would wait to pass until the last round. I felt strong and like I would have plenty to give to pull away before descending through the rocks. We were in a group of three; I was riding in the middle. It wasn’t long before I noticed the lights from the woman behind me had gone, and it was just two of us, little spots of light floating up the side of the mountain. We are caught again by some of the men’s group on a very tight, slightly off-camber section of singletrack. They were battling for their positions and wanted to pass. The course widened for a moment, and they pushed through when it started to narrow again as one last rider attempted to pass. Two trees on either side made this pass impossible, and bam, he is sideways, and then he is on the ground in front of me, his bike wedged between the trees, and I’m stopped. I see 6th place’s light fading in the distance as the rider works to gather himself. “Are you okay?”. A moment later, we are both going again, and after a fifth apology, he tears off into the dark ahead of me, out of sight. A moment later, I hear him passing my competition ahead, I cannot see her light, but I know she isn’t too far away. Sometimes in racing, these things happen, especially in the dark, when reaction time is cut in half; all we can do is try to make up time. I worked hard to catch back up to 6th place but was unable and ended the race in 7th, just twenty seconds behind.
Another fun, action-packed night race in the books and some more points for the series. This is the third year Bear Creek has hosted the night race, and it looks like it will be a perminate addition to the series. I hope this event will inspire other night races because there is nothing like it.