On September 8, Mount Saint Joseph kicked off the first race of their season. The race was held at Schaeffer Farm in Seneca Creek State Park, Germantown, and hosted by multiple teams including Mount Saint Joseph. The year prior, during the first season of the team’s existence, Schaeffer Farms was held as the last race of the season and was cancelled due to rain. So this marked the first time that many of the MSJ riders would be tearing through these trails.
A portion of the team arrived on Saturday, September 7, for a walk-through ride. This ride is used for teams to get a quick overview of the trails the day before the race to plan where to expend energy and record checkpoints. This option is available for riders the day before the race. The Pre-Ride is crucial to the racers before the race because it does not just give them a chance to overview the trails, but it also warms up the riders for going out on the trails during the real race so when you get out there you aren’t out of energy immediately.
September 8, Race Day, was packed with anticipation as Mount Saint Joseph’s 43 member team cleaned their bikes and prepared to head out on the track. The team gathered to cheer on Shenan Reese at 9:30. She is the sister of McKinley Reese and would be racing for St. Joe to give our school points on the female side of the competition.
At 12:30, the male portion of the race began. The racers meet up to the hole shot, where all of the racers are split up by grade and sent out in two minute increments as the race begins.
During the race, parents and volunteers line the trails cheering on the racers as they fly around every bend and tear up every hill. Mount Saint Joseph ended up having three technicals, including a broken chain from Varsity racer Charlie Hanlon. Technicals are a short term for when something mechanical goes wrong with the bike, such as a flat tire or a broken chain. There was also an injury dealt to Zach Spitzer in the form of a gash to the arm leaving him requiring ten stitches.
In the end, Mount Saint Joseph ended up claiming:
Ian Schwing – 1st place
Quinn Griffith – 5th place
Gabe vonWachter – 2nd place
Tyler Hockstra – 4th place
Scott Allen – 1st place
Riders and coaches alike considered this a very successful first race. Race #2 will be held at Fair Hill Frenzie on the 29th of September.
(All images courtesy of the MSJ Mountain Bike Team App page.)