Granogue Mountain Bike Race 2019

PBR is the best thing you’ll have at an aid station.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to race at Granogue in Delaware. The race is held on private property owned by the DuPont family, and they graciously allow a mountain bike race in the summer and a cross race in the fall every year.

I wanted to do at least one endurance mountain bike race this year before my daughter is born. I missed the Fairhill 50 earlier in the month, so this seemed like the next best thing. The endurance class in this case was basically a “do as many 6 mile laps as you can in 4 hours” kind of deal.

DuPont mansion.

I rode my 2016 Salsa Mukluk, my go-to bike for everything from gravel to snow. I’ve never been fast in the woods on any bike. But this bike is lighter and faster than my old Cannondale Trail bike, and the tires give me more confidence to roll over anything. I haven’t saved the money for a legitimate modern mountain bike, so this is what I’ve got for the foreseeable future. It’s still my favorite bike though, and I never have a bad time on it, even when I’m going slow.

Single track next to a corn field was something new for me.

The course was fast and awesome. It was relatively similar to Ceres Park down the street from where I live, with just a couple short rocky sections thrown in. Unfortunately, at one point when I stopped to let some Cat 1 riders pass me, I ended up jostling my Garmin unit and didn’t realize it had fallen off until a while down the trail. I spent about 20-30 minutes looking for it, but thankfully I found it. This lost time meant that I could only fit in 4 laps, but this turned out to be a good thing for me. I found I didn’t really like riding 6 mile loops over and over.

Magic unicorn of life.

The race was awesome though. The aid station about two miles in had water and PBR and classic rock on the radio. About halfway through, there was a DJ blasting rave music that could be heard for a good two miles of the course. He was so engrossed in it that I don’t think he looked up to see any racers. At the last aid station about a half mile from the finish, there were IPAs and an inflatable unicorn spraying riders with water. There was even a great view from the course of the DuPont mansion. At the end, there was a beer garden for racers and spectators.

Best atmosphere ever for a mountain bike race. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Too small for a lighthouse

Goal Accomplished: Ride All County Roads in Gloucester County

On the Fourth of July this year, I finally accomplished something that’s been a long-term goal for awhile now: ride the entire length of every county road in Gloucester County from my doorstep. I had ridden probably about 50-75% of the roads by the time I started really keeping track last summer. By August 2018, I only needed a handful of roads but was waiting to be able to ride with my friend who also has this on his cycling bucket list.

The roads that were left were really heavily trafficked, so an early Saturday or Sunday or other day with little or no traffic would be necessary to safely ride them. Alas, we were never able to find a good day to ride together, and I wanted to check this one off before my baby is here in a few weeks. So off I went on my own on the morning of the Fourth.

The ride itself was uneventful and exciting. Gloucester County has 410 miles of county roads. This is according to a 2009 map, so I believe more roads have been added. I’ve ridden the ones I’ve found to add to my list. Next up: I’ll most likely try to do the same thing with Salem County roads, the county directly to the south. I’ve ridden a lot of these roads too, but it’ll take a lot longer to finish them off since each ride to grab new roads will most likely be 40-50 miles.

My shoddy digital map I mark up to keep track of the roads I’ve ridden.