2021 USAC Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships

Yes on sidewall protection beyond a normal race XC tire. I’ve ridden there enough to see that (but the rock is not the really sharp type more polished east-coast slime). Big questions is tire size…i’ve heard every thing from a 2.25 is fine to one of my friends is talking 2.8-3.0

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Most of the folks I ride with and see out there ride Minons, but I ride Ground Control on the front and Fast Trak on the rear both in 29x3+ and haven’t had flatting issues

. You will absolutely need the EXO protection casing. Those rocks will rip open your sidewalls like a cheap nylon windbreaker.

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From the USAC website… I hope no one thinks that’s a photo of the course. :slight_smile:

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Just saw they put a bridge over the stream at the bottom of the valley of death/first big decent…not a real techy crossing but fine by me. Also asked the promoter about feed zones and they are going to issue a map tonight where its gonna be but its going to be at that fishing creek road (at about mile 6/22, which means we have to ride 2/3rds of the course on 2 bottles (whos gonna feed at mile 6), hopefully this changes)) and they are going to have drop bags in the morning.

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My former coach is out there now. His ride yesterday was 33 miles at 8 MPH. He isn’t top level, but he is fast. Former BWR winner before the big names started racing it.

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Yep, so funny they used that shot from TX last time they had XCM nats…that looks like no part of the east coast…ever

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Note for next year. Run an insert in the rear tire.

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How was the course?

From runner-up Payton Mcelveen’s Instagram:

True old school east coast tech. Rocky and rooty. Punished poor line choices and rewards you if you are smooth and know how to be light on your bike.

I loved this course even though I flatted twice and had to dnf. It was my fault. An insert would have helped but I should have known and been more careful.

I was running 2.35 Vittoria mezcals with the TNT casing. My first flat was a pinch right through a knob and at the rim on the rear tire. I thought I put enough sealant in yesterday but apparently it wasn’t enough. I threw in a tube and finished the first lap and got about 3/4 through the second lap when I pinch flatted again. All rider error.

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From the chatter on IG, it sounds like the race is coming back to Gambrill next year and they’re adding a lap.

Heard the same thing about it being back next year. I also heard they were either considering adding another lap or adding in some more distance. Apparently they weren’t able to use some areas because it was the first day of Muzzleloader season and they didn’t want to tick off the hunters.

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Course was in really good shape - it had been wet earlier in the month making the rocks super slick but it dried nicely. Rkeown - sorry to hear about the DNF!

For next year I wonder if they would simply add a 3rd lap for everyone or limit the extra lap for Pro/Elite (not sure if USAC has a rule in this regard). If it is the same course with a 3rd lap I could see a lot of lapped traffic for the Pro/Elite and a lot of beat up age groupers. Maybe finding some extra miles in the Shed and requiring Blaze orange is the way to go?

Overall I think USAC did a great job. It was fun to have this race so close to home!

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He won his age group, 35-39.

By comparison, his average speed was 10.2 MPH. On a recent local endurance race he averaged 12.5. Local race was about 600’ more climbing and at 7000’ of elevation. So I guess that rocky and rooty stuff sure slowed him down.

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That course was brutal…, if they added another lap I wouldn’t do it. I got lucky with no mechanicals or flats but had a hell of a time fueling because of the tech. Didn’t bonk but was on the verge having a dark moment on lap two. Finished but not what I was hoping for. Can’t believe how fast the podium guys finished.
Hanna finchamp had a good post on her blog description of the rocks being that it like someone made the trails with dinner plate sized rocks.

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I have to admit as someone who lives for technical, mid-Atlantic trails, I got a chuckle from this pre-ride video:

I think I’d rather punch myself in the groin for 3 hours straight than ride that course

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I was a little surprised that the heavy-hitters from out west still dominated the podium. Genetics really are the whole enchilada.

Technical trails are fun to ride. Not to race though - when tired, they become tedious and kinda dangerous. I rode this a couple of weeks back. Enjoyed the challenge on the way up and down. I wouldn’t want to do a 3hr race on something like this however.

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I will say that it cleaned up nicely with pre-riding and was definitely better than in that video, but still absolutely brutal. A hardtail with no dropper would have been a nightmare!

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