Race Report: Fort Custer Stampede
Seven TNL mountain bikers took a trip to Augusta, MI, home of the Fort Custer Stampede and trail system. Fort Custer is an active military base and the land used for the MTB trails was once a training ground for tanks. Not sure if they're still currently using the land for training, but tanks have long left the Fort Custer trail system. The former trenches make for some fun, flowy trails.
TNL members were split between age group expert and sport classes with everyone taking on two laps. The only real difference was that the expert classes did a couple extra small loops. The weather was in the low 50s, really windy, and sunny, which was just right for racing in the woods. There was plenty of rain the week before, but because the trails are naturally sandy, they were dry, fast, and tacky in any areas that would have held some water. The trail has some minor ups and downs with handful of technical bits, but mostly smooth and quick.
Ed Messer took 8th is his age group after a great start and two quick laps. Mark Miller had a few run ins with some not so friendly riders, including a crash. Another crash had his bike not shifting well and had to abandon after one lap. David Bradway and Paul Richardson both had good races and finished mid age group. Andrew Hoffman had a great race despite a wrong turn near the finish due to some poor route marking, which cost him around 3 minutes and about 7 spots in his category. Emily Bradway won her race as well as Corey Smith. Congrats to both of them!
Despite some really negative folks on the trails that seemed to believe they needed to be rude to pass or those that just wouldn't get over to allow passing, it was a great day.Racing mountain bikes is so much fun. Just being out in nature riding bikes with friends renews our souls. We'll all be back out at the first DINO Race of the season in Winona Lake at the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival on May 20th.