Monster Cross 2018!
Monster Cross is one of the earliest races of the season for us. Almost every year the event has been super lucky with excellent weather and course conditions - this year wasn't an exception, which is surprising considering the day before the race had freezing rain for hours and hours. Our race weather forecast was favorable, though - 40's and partly cloudy!
A whole crew of us from Harrisonburg left town at 6am on race day. Driving down to Pocahontas State Park (just 20 miles outside of Richmond), we were treated to an awesome view of the sunrise. There is an overlook in Afton on 64 East that we don't usually stop at when we're going to races, but this time we had to. The sun just started coming over the mountain tops when we pulled over, and the clouds down in the valley were a striking contrast to the brightness and color of the morning sky. It was a great way to start the day, especially because when we dropped down into the valley, fog and cold temperatures took over for a bit, making us think the weather prediction was going to be off its mark.
Thankfully, the sun came back out just as we were lining up at the start line!
This is a 50 mile race, with the course being 25 miles long, so racers take two laps. The course is a lot of gravel/dirt path, with a few creek crossings, a couple of spots that feel like singletrack, and a decent section of rolling pavement in the middle. It finishes just beyond a steep uphill, which has provided a lot of exciting sprints for the win in the past few years.
The event takes place in Pocahontas State Park, which is 7,919 acres total with over 64 miles of trails. There are a lot of other fun things to do in the park, like fishing, boating, and camping. It's a beautiful park and we are fortunate to be able to have places like this to hold events like Monster Cross! I remember glancing over my shoulder at one point because I realized there was a dam not far from the trail, and thinking, "Oh, that's so pretty!" I'd like to go back and visit the park when I'm not maxing my heart rate out on my bicycle, haha.
Team Rocktown and our fellow Harrisonburg-ians were stoked to represent at this years race! It was our first event in our new Specialized Custom kits! Many of us did quite well, and we enjoyed seeing a lot of cycling friends at the event! It's always great when you get to hang out with people who love riding bikes as much as you for a whole day!
Monster Cross marks the beginning of race season for us, and with it over now, we find ourselves more excited and stoked for the races/events to come!
If you're interested in checking out events in the area, or what races we like to go to, check out our Event Calendar!