Saturday, May 7, 2011
A steady stream of 152 racers arrived at Greensfelder County Park to participate in one of the area's hardest mountain bike races. This particular race was special to GORC as the promoters of the race series, the United Federation of Dirt (UFD), turned it into a fundraiser for the club. Known as the Greensfelder Challenge, the annual race was first held in 2010.
This year's course was a half-mile shorter but offered over an additional mile and a half of singletrack. Members of GORC had designed a half-mile reroute that addressed a severely eroded and abused portion of the Deer Run trail. This new sustainable multi-use reroute snaked down a steep, scenic hillside from the Scenic Loop Road and connected to the super fast, technical Deer Run drop-in that catapulted racers onto the Eagle Valley gravel path. Turning left in 2011 showcased GORC's hard work from 2009-2011 to build a sustainable singletrack climb up to the Visitor's Center. This climb needed substantial armoring and drainage due to several seeps that "magically" appeared after the initial build. This long climb switchbacked three times above itself allowing for spectators to see racers climbing on three singletrack "levels."
However, the race almost didn't happen as a short but steady rain moved through the area in the wee hours of the morning. With the Marathon and Beginner Cat 3 classes launching at 10:00 the GORC honchos grilled pre-riders attempting to ascertain the course conditions. After several bouts of what-ifs it was agreed the trails would hold up quite well.
And they did! Despite the wetness during the first two laps of Marathon, the course firmed up over the course of the day as the sun came out to support GORC. Jeff Rippelmeyer, Bob and Steph manned the BBQ and brew booth all day long. Jeff's legendary grilling skills were confirmed the entire day as racers and spectators chowed down on excellent pulled pork sandwiches. The two Schlafly kegs, a hefe and pale ale, died honorably and swiftly. The thirsty crowds demanded more and so the gas stations in Eureka were raided with all available cans hauled back up the hill to the BBQ tent.
A healthy dose of GORCers represented in the race and did quite well. Scott Peipert (Cat I Expert), Jason Zoll (Marathon), Matt Hayes (single speed), Christine Ford (Cat I Women), Loreen Matson (Cat I Women), among others, all took home medals in their respective categories.
The donations to GORC poured in ALL DAY LONG from racers and supporters. We raised more than enough to cover our mandatory but 'painful' insurance expense. This insurance allows us to host workdays at all the parks where we build and maintain trails. And to our surprise, Mesa Cycles donated a massive $1,000.00 to GORC. All we can say is thank you and will continue to build stellar trail for all to enjoy.
The 2011 Greensfelder Challenge is in the books and with the exceptional generosity of racers, Mesa Cycles, and the UFD, we are glad to be a part of the awesome St. Louis metro mountain bike community.
Here's to a great summer of riding, racing and celebrating the singletrack trails!
Official Race Results
Race Day Photos
GORC (Matt Hayes Gallery)
Jim Krewet / DRJ Photos
Off The Front Photography