Root 66 at Grafton Pond
By Justin Lindine on July 18, 2012
It's always exciting to head to a new mountain bike venue, and even more so when the venue isn't just new to you, but has never been raced before. The classic Root 66 series headed to a brand new location at Grafton Pond sponsored by the West Hill shop, and what a course they created! It was an incredibly challenging mix of tight, technical singletrack and small sections of open Nordic ski trails. While not gaining a significant amount of elevation at any one point on the course, the up and down nature of it coupled with the fact that you were out of the saddle sprinting from one turn to the next so much of the time, made for a real "world cup" feel where you were just pinned all the time with very little chance for recovery.
After a blistering start by local strongman Adam St. Germain, I was able to jump into the lead on one of the early sections of open ski trail and I decided that I would just treat it like the first lap of a cross race, complete with the sprinting out of every turn and up every rise! It was a strategy that began to pay off as I quickly opened up a lead in the technical parts of the woods, the big wheels on my Redline helping to swallow up the rocks and constant ups-and downs of the trail, and then hammering every open section to build on my advantage.
Luckily, I had enough of a gap by the end of the first lap to be able to take a feed from my wife Jess at a relaxed-ish pace and even managed to get a bottle of mix and a bottle of water do do a little on the head cooling in the brutal heat that seems to be never-ending in the Northeast this year. After my first lap blitz, I focused on consistent fast laps with an eye towards the pace I knew I would have to be pushing in the coming week at the Windham World Cup. I did my best to keep the pressure on, even when there was seemingly no one in the rearview mirror, as I knew that next weekend any momentary lapse in my motivation would mean giving up spots in the cutthroat World Cup field.
In the end I managed to hold together really solid and consistent lap times for a well deserved win and just as my back really started to pay the price for the brutal nature of the course. Looking forward to some easy spins the next couple of days before heading to my hometown for the race with the big guns! Stay tuned...