Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Death of a Greenie...

By Seth Bell

Big climbs and high temps greeted the hundreds of racers that made the trip to MNSCS race #3, the Afton Avalanche, held at the Afton Alps Ski Area, about 30 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities. NI Spin racer Seth Bell ventured up for the day to enjoy a race at
Afton that’s not 24 hours long.

The race course at Afton Alps is probably one of the most physically demanding race courses in the Midwest, with a nice selection of short and steep climbs, technical single track, momentum killing switchbacks, and some gut wrenching sustained climbs. The high temperatures contributed to the already grueling climbs, making it a real cooker, and hydration was of the utmost importance.

The Sport class (think Cat. 4 in road racing) was 15 miles long and had a total of 133 racers finish, which were released in waves according to age. The overall standings were figured by time after all of the racers had finished; chip timers were worn by all racers around the left ankle.

Seth rode a successful first lap, picking through the large pack of riders during the first single track section, which also involved two steep, loose climbs, rubber erosion bars and a bridge. At the end of the first lap, Seth was in 3rd position, but suffered a front flat tire soon after starting the second lap, causing a small wipe out and cut tire sidewall. After repairing the flat tire, Seth got back under way to attempt to make up the few minutes lost during the mechanical problem. The rest of the race went without incident, and Seth’s familiarity with the race course from seven past years of racing the 24 Hours of Afton was an advantage in making good time through well known sections of trail. At the end of the race, Seth finished with a respectable 3rd out of 15 in the Single Speed class, and 11th out of 133 in the Overall Sport class. Seth now has a couple weeks off of racing to mourn the loss of his beloved, out of production, greenie Michelin tires.

More Photos...

Afton Avalanche Coverage, results and photos from

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