Seeing an improvement in the weekend’s weather forecast, I made a last minute decision to race the first endurance event of the MASS series in Blain, PA this past Sunday. What a beautiful spot to hold a race! After an extended cyclocross season, time on my mountain bike has been sparse and I knew I was in for quite the welcome back by this course and the conditions. In spite of flooding a couple days prior, the Tuscarora Endurance event saw about 150 racers to kick off the series. True to central-PA riding, racers saw rock gardens, steep climbs, and fun, swooping descents (mud skiing on bikes). We all had a bit of mud on our faces within a few seconds, a considerable amount after the first lap, and after a few laps, racers were barely recognizable…rookie mistake to not at least install a home-made mud fender Riders looked more swamp-thing-ish than athletes while racing and like drowned rats afterwards, as we rinsed ourselves and our bikes in the creek. Unharmed, tired, and sore, I couldn’t have been happier eating my post-race chili and fresh-cut fries at the park pavilion. As racers wrapped things up, the sun even popped out to help in the mud-shedding process of both bike and human…what a sight. The race was really well-run and I hope to return next year, although I won’t mind if it’s minus a little bit of the extra mud.