After a week of on and off rain storms in the Midwest, the MNSCS #2: Rochester Steeple Chase mountain bike race course turned out to be in optimal conditions, and the event was well attended by all classes. North Iowa Spin racer Seth Bell made this his first Minnesota mountain bike race of the season, complete with the newly delivered team jersey and short kit.
The race was held at the Steeple Chase Ski Area, about 20 minutes north of Rochester, MN. The course included a bumpy, grassy “prologue” section of around a half mile at the start to string the racers out before reaching the tight and technical single track. Most of the trails consisted of tricky single track, with a few mildly slippery bridges, log obstacles and plenty of twists and turns, making passing difficult. Despite the previous couple days of rain, the single track was in beautiful condition, although the roots and rocks were still very slick and gave a few racers an unexpected trip to the dirt; two racers were taken away from the venue in ambulances due to crashes in the first half of the lap; fortunately none of the injuries were serious. Being at a ski area there were a couple good climbs on the course, along with some bumpy, fast sections along the bottom of the valley.
The Sport class (think Cat. 4 in road racing) was 12 miles long and had a total of 90 racers, 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.
After a very close first lap and a half, trailing the leader by 5-15 seconds and having to take a brief pit-stop to re-attach a seat bag, Seth was able to squeak by Devin Curran of Onalaska, WI on a climb, and keep the lead to the finish, 52 seconds ahead of Curran. Seth took the Single Speed class win, as well as the Overall Sport class victory, with Curran finishing second in both classes, respectively. Both racers were racing on bikes with only one gear and no suspension, proving yet again that the combined weight savings of fewer parts and many less brain cells can be advantageous.
Also of honorable mention from Mason City, Wayne’s Ski and Cycle employee Kyle “Krazy Karl” Lucas placed 3rd in his age group and 26th overall out of a total of 48 racers in the 7.6 mile Citizen class.