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.
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.
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.
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.