by Seth Bell
Was that just a bike race that happened? Yessir, it was; the Birch Bump held at the Buck Hill Ski Area in Burnsville, MN. on Sunday, Aug. 10th. For all of you that participated in or spectated the BBBQ criterium race in Clear Lake last month, this was a lot like that, only off road. The course was short and fast, with a lap at a bit under 3 miles; and while the weather was beautiful, the course conditions where very dry, dusty and loose, with treacherous sand in a few places.
I got a less-than-ideal starting position toward the rear of the 58 rider Comp field. A racer went down close in front of me right at the start, and the narrow switch-backed opening climb didn't allow much room to pass. A 200ish yard climb up the service road made for the best passing area on the course, which was otherwise technical, switch-backed single track and open rips traversing the front side of the "Hill", and a feature I've not seen at a race in quite awhile, the ejected-water-bottle-garden. Yes, that's right; about a dozen or so water bottles in various states of fullness that have launched out of racers' water bottle cages and conveniently placed themselves at the bottom of a sketchy downhill. Wheee!
My five laps went by very quickly and without incident for a 1st place Singlespeed class and 12th of 58 overall result for the day. Next up: The Salsa Two-Four 24 hour race at Afton Alps this weekend, Friday the 15th at 5:00pm to Saturday the 16th at 5:00pm. It's not too late to sign up!