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Into the Woods (Not the musical) – More observations from a CX Newb

The phrase,”A sadistic SOB” was used to describe Mike Yozell, course designer for the 5th Annual Limestone Cross at the Kiln by the race announcer.  Yozell, also known for designing the Nittany Lion Cross, would go on to win the Masters Men 45+ category which makes you consider if having the home course advantage gave him a huge edge over the competition.

I had just finished my third CX race and was feeling the warm afterglow of standing third place on the podium starting to wear off and my teeth began to chatter in the 36 degree cloudy morning temperatures.  CX medal securely tucked under my jacket and prize under my arm, provided by race presenter South Mountain Cycle & Cafe, I snapped a few pics for the blog and headed for a warm car. There I was able to contemplate this course that was described by racers as treacherous and gnarly.

I would agree with that assessment.  The grass was wet, the mud was sticky and chunks of unmelted snow dotted the landscape at Camp Olympic, Emmaus, PA.  Yozell strategically used every land and structural element available to him.  From the expansive fields banking the kilns to the barn style covered picnic areas.  The first challenge included a short but steep uphill into the woods with its mirror image downhill on the other side with a sharp left.  That’s where I slid out.  A short flat segment was provided before riders faced a double stacked log barrier leading to another uphill and downhill.   Another short flat area provided a slight reprieve for riders before being faced with a 100M muddy climb that ended at a barrier made of broken up cement blocks that had been there long enough for them to almost look like they were part of nature.  A gravely path then led the way to a same distance grassy downhill that riders would occasionally yell “whoop” as they descended.

Other obstacles added by Yozell included a gnarly short up and down in the back of the course, a 45 degree angled S turn that if you slid out would land you in the river, gravel path and and some nice technical field work .

Some rode up the the 100M hill and some actually hopped the double log barrier.  That was an awesome feat to behold.  The hecklers showed up for the 10AM race, banked the hill and generously offered the riders cheese balls from a large plastic barrel.  Me personally, I exercised my option to pick up and run up and down most of the hills.  All in all I had a great time and loved being able to stand on the podium for the first time.

The 5th Annual Limestone Cross at the Kiln was the final MAC event #11 and presented by South Mountain Cycle & Cafe.  It was held on December 14th, 2014.

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