On a crisp, October morning not long ago 5 guys from Gripped Racing rose early and made their way to Schaeffer Farm in Maryland. It was an early start but well worth the effort. Assembled were Tim Abbott, Jason Harris, Alex Manente, myself and doing a shorter loop with later start time Erik Thomas. After days of rain we were a little concerned about the trails but reports had been posted that all was good with only a few sticky spots. We would soon find out there was more to the story.
We made our way out of camp just in front of a big group. Knowing the rocky section near the start I wanted to keep out of trouble and ahead of big groups. It was nice to see Ty Long of No Film Photography snapping shots. His album of photos can be found here. Ahead lay close to 70 miles of super-fun singletrack and a day that was classic Fall.
Soon after we left the slippery rocks and wet wood bridges claimed their first victim. I didn’t hear anything but a thud and the sound of air leaving Harris’ lungs as he hit the deck first and his bike soon after. The wood was so slippery his bike slipped out and oddly enough his side landed first. You know it’s slick when you hit before your bike does. Abbott was amazed he got up quickly and pushed on like nothing had happened. A fall like that can end a day quickly but Harris (6 weeks out from surgery for a broken collar bone) is a tough character. Onward.
It’s important to take the time to snap a photo or two on mornings like this.
The older I get the more I enjoy events like the Moco. Getting to ride with your friends and team, see people you might never ride with otherwise and celebrate riding your bike in the woods. Such a simple thing I’ve done since I was a little kid, it will never grow old.
It wasn’t long before a large group caught us from behind. I got caught up with their riders and realized I was ahead of our small group. I did my best to wait but the temps were still chilly and once my legs were warmed up they didn’t want to stand around, soon I hammered on. My day was fantastic and my ride was all I wanted it to be. Even the 4 or 5 crashes on slippery roots didn’t diminish my fun. Well the one time I toppled over a few rocks and cracked both my helmet and Garmin 1000 left me a little dazed and bummed at the replacement cost but that’s part of this sport I love so much.
While I don’t have any photos of him, Erik had a great time on his shorter loop and we caught up over beers. I have to give a special shout out to Tim Abbott who could have done his 70 miles on a full suspension but instead he loaned me a back wheel and used his backup – an old hard tail. It’s a good friend who will sacrifice comfort over 70 miles to let a buddy ride with him. And thanks to everyone involved with the Moco Epic – if you haven’t done this event you really should. It’s well worth the effort. -JB