Thursday, October 17, 2013

Race Report and Video: FSC #3 2013 Ocala

Hardrock Cycle Park. This is the place where legends come from. A place that I'd only heard "used" to be one of the hardest places in Florida to ride. Chiseled out of an old limestone quarry, groomed by motocrossers and Jeeps, and sadly, closed to Mountain Biking over a decade ago. However, Dave Berger and the great folks over at Gone Riding used their relationship with the land owners to give the FSC a chance to return to the former mecca of Florida MTB. So without further ado, Eric G here with our race report for FSC #3 Ocala!

Starting the TTT
I'll get right to it. This place is unlike any we'd ever been to. Downhills with speeds approaching 30mph. Climbs so steep that many racers (ourselves included) didn't have the proper gearing and needed to push UP them. And even the bizarre reddish singletrack sections, which upon closer inspection, was COVERED in red ants (think something out of Indiana Jones)! Finish it off with a full blown motocross loop and you had the most unique and challenging race course on the FSC Calendar

To give racers plenty of opportunity to ride the course, there was a Team Time Trial on Saturday afternoon. Alex and I teamed up with Victor, Simone and Mike from our sister team from Bike Tech and had some fun riding together. Despite Vic's cassette trying to swallow a bush and a wrong turn by me at the front, we had some fun out there and finished 11th on the day. (Catch some of it in the race vid below)

Eric G hurting on a climb
As for race day it was tough going for us. I had a DNF in XC2-30+ after taking a tumble and banging my knee. Got rolling quickly but the steep climbing was absolutely painful on my knee so I had to call it a day after a lap. Eric N had a great start, taking the holeshot in the XC3-30+ class. However midway through the lap, his saddle shifted on him costing him some time. Despite coming though in 11th after the first lap, the saddle issue got even worse, forcing him to stop on the course, costing him more positions. He ultimately crossed the line in 17th. Alex had a rough going in XC3-40+ from the start. Dangling in no mans land throughout the race, he had a mostly uneventful 18th place finish. We'll take the Top 20s, but course sure did a number on us.

Eric N takes the holeshot
The Pro race was exciting till the end. Bob McCarty put on a display and rocketed off right from the start. After lap one, he had a 30 second gap, but had a strong group in chase. Victor Alber, phenom Alex Meucci, and Shawn Smith were riding together trying to close the gap. Meucci would try to do the work on his own and take a flyer on lap two, gapping the Super Cool Bike Shop duo of Alber and Smith, but couldn't gain ground on McCarty, who would extend his lead. The effort would take it's toll though and Alber would benefit. Taking his own flyer on lap three, Alber would close the gap to Meucci and then pull away on lap four. While McCarty took the win, Alber would take 2nd and Meucci would take 3rd. Rounding out the podium was Smith and teammate Martin Cox.

Alex S approaching the finish
Despite the tough course and results it was a great weekend. We were able to get plenty of footage and put it all together to hopefully give a taste of what a race weekend is like for us in the FSC. Thanks as always to our our great sponsors at Bike Tech & Audioworks, as well as the additional support from Cytosport, Magura, Vredestein, ESI Grips, Rudy Project, & GoPro. No pictures this time but enjoy the video!

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