This past weekend was the 27th edition of the Massanutten Hoo Ha! Being a local race on the trails we ride often at the Western Slope, I raced it every year I've been in town for it. Changing up what race I did last year to the XXC I planned on it again for this year.
The event is great all around; many of the folks from town and not come to ride and hang out or help. Along with the Shenandoah Mountain 100, Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, and the SVBC Century, it's a local favorite.
The XXC is a longer format than the regular XC race and only adds ten or so miles over the standard fare. What is probably lost on new comers trying to evaluate the course by distance and elevation (31 miles, 5,700ft this year) is the sheer backcountry-ness of the course. Once the race leaves resort property it gets burly. Technical rocky climbs, creek bed descents and a long, steep climb is all included in your XXC experience. Throw about 5 good, rocky stream crossings in there too.
I enjoy it because it's what I think of as real mountain bike riding. The course is 99% ride-able (probably 100% by some, but not by me on race day) but not easily ridden. It's a challenge to complete the course for most, let alone compete with others. That being said, I rode with Connor until about halfway through, when after a long downhill, he caught up with me and passed by! He came in first, then myself, and housemate Kyle rolled in third. The weather was much cooler than last year; conditions were just about perfect.
The rest of the team had a great day, Ken, Kelly, Misty, and Adam all did great in their respective races!
Riding the Massanutten mountain range in the National Forest is my favorite place to ride offroad. Beautiful streams, springs, plant, and animal life is everywhere out there! After being back there a few days ago, I know I won't be able to stay away for long!