Author John Tenney shares his experience of a recent dual discipline cycling event known as “Trail to Trail” where mountain biking and road cycling are combined in to one race.
Red Trail Racing, a race promotion group from Bartow, FL, has begun putting on these events which are really “cycling duathlons” with 3 legs, trail – road – trail, hence the name Trail to Trail.
About a week prior to the Aug 14 race I was tapped to cover the road leg, a 31 mile time trial around Mulberry, FL. The trail segments were 9 mile loops around the Carter Road Trails complex. I have never done a time trial that long so I was a bit nervous and did a little preparatory riding.
So I was taken by surprise when I got a message from Fearless Leader Kyle at 6am on race day telling me that plans had changed and I was to bring my mountain bike. Something of the order of “Hey John we lost two trail riders so we need you to pair up with Bill (Edgbert) and do the MB sections.”
Well. What to do what to do. My MB was in tatters. The chain was terrible, the front chain ring was bent and the cassette teeth looked like they came off a canine. (Kyle called them “Summer teeth”, some are not.)
I had never ridden the Carter Road trails either. Boy oh boy was this going to be fun.
The first leg was really hard for me. It was a difficult course with some unnerving narrow, ridge sections with ponds very close by. I ended up finishing the first 9 mile lap in a dismal 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Bill Edgbert took off with the “baton” (a clothes pin) for the road course and I felt totally drained. I sat down in the team tent and tried to recover. He came back sooner than I expected with people behind him! Now the pressure was on. I did much better the second lap with 53 minutes. We still finished 10th out of 12 in the “Fun Run” division but we felt good anyway.
The idea of mixing MB and road is a good one. It appeared that everyone was challenged, got a good workout and had a great time. I’d like to see more of these in some sort of point series through USA Cycling. Of course, our team dominating the podiums might have something to do with my thoughts …
After the podiums the rain (which stayed away all day) finally hit, but we decided to have a tent party anyway!