Though the local 2019 XC MTB race season has come to an end, planning for 2020 is already well under way. As race directors we put on an event to watch people enjoy themselves in a sport they love. What makes a race is you, the participants and volunteers who make it all happen. We can not do it without you. That is why it is SO important that we get your feedback on what you liked & what you want to see change. Each year we look at all the feedback and do our best to incorporate as much of it as possible. That is the reason why we ask if you have not filled out the 2019 Feedback Survey, please do so.
At the summer sizzler I took a hard spill and fractured my humorous (I’ve already heard all the jokes). I’ve got about 6 more weeks before I’ll be back on the MTB. This injury had set me back but I’ve got some housekeeping to do.
In previous feedback and emails received we have had many people ask us about hosting an endurance race. While we LOVE the idea, it presents some unique challenges. Because our race course consists of a LOT of tight & twisty single track we are concerned with passing opportunities. As we continue to string the trails together in a way that keeps it fun and exciting we want everyone to have a great race experience. For now there will NOT be an endurance race. We will continue to take this under advisement for future races.
We’ve also had many of you express your views on the length of the grass field start, saying it’s too long. While some of our groups are small with 5-8 racers, we do have groups with 40 or more starters. Racers need enough space to find their place before entering the single track. In 2020, we will take your suggestion and remove about 150-200 yards of the grass start. This should still give large groups plenty of space to volley for position, while giving a bit of reprieve to the beginners.
We’ve also found a way to make the course run counter clock wise around the track. This allows you to be cheered on by team mates, family and friends as you fight your way to sprint all out to the finish line. It will also make bottle hand offs more convenient for those of you who are right handed.
Next, you asked us to smooth out the course even more with less ultra tight and twisty corners, and more longer flowy high speed turns. Then, you asked for the impossible, 1 nice long flowy descent, followed by a long gradual climb. WE DID IT, and it came with one of your suggestions! In the off season, we ride with riders of all ages, categories, and ability levels. It will require us to do some trail construction during the off season but it will make it all worth while.
You asked for less course tape. We took a look at the amount of plastic waste we generate and reducing the amount of course tape is the best way to do it. Yes we still need to use course tape especially in the wide open grass areas. However, we will be using less tape in the woods. We will still block off intersections, but will use other re-useable environmentally friendly methods to mark the course.
Lastly, we know our course isn’t for everyone. I don’t think there is a course that is perfect for all. Because of the terrain we have we do our best to make an interesting and Challenging course that keeps Pro racers on their toes, and ‘Challenges’ beginners to practice and hone in their skills. Our course isn’t ever going to have 2 minute descent, but we are working on features that make a race fun. You’ll notice each year berms get bigger, log overs smooth out and we build features to make trails sustainable for both MTBers and hikers alike so everyone can enjoy our hidden South Jersey gem. If you are interested in helping out on occasion with trail repairs & maintenance please email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the group.
Again, we ask that you please complete the 2019 Feedback Survey so we can incorporate your suggestions to make the 2020 Challenger the best it can be. Thank you for your support.