- Date: 10 AM, March 8th, 2015 (originally schedule for Feb 22nd).
- Tandem Friendly: 5/5 stars, requires wide tire cyclo-cross road or MTB tandem.
- Course: 46.1 miles.
- Elevation gain: 2,500 feet.
- Terrain: mostly double track and walking/horse trails, some single tracks and gravel paths
- Hike-a-bike: trail trandem rideable including muddy and sandy sections.
- Web site: http://www.runriderace.com/
Monster Cross 2015 was a great early season race for tandem enthusiast. This year event was postponed by two weeks due to weather conditions and was held March 8th at Pocahontas State Park, in Chesterfield VA, about 20 minutes south of Richmond, VA. For us, this meant a 4 and a half drive down from Philadelphia, which was worth the effort finding much warmer weather and a snow-free environment.
The event included 5 tandem entries, however, only 4 showed up. Two of the tandems were full suspension Ventana ECDM, one was a hard tail Seven and a Cannondale setup for cyclo-cross. One of the Ventana tandems was ridden by two pro-riders captained by Tim Kelly, which raced in the professional/elite group. The other 3 tandems raced in the amatuer group which started a few minutes behind the pros.
The weather was perfect. We started with temperature in the high 40’s and rode mostly in the 50’s with a beautiful blue sky. The course was in good conditions with some sections of mud left over from the recent storms. The mud certainly made the race tougher and slower but it was rideable even on the tandem. There were also sandy sections but not deep enough to make it treacherous. There were some roots and rocks but none of them presented a problem on a hazard. Most of the course was laid out on wide track walking/horse paths or doubletrack where 2 or 3 bikes could ride next to each other giving tandems plenty of room to maneuver. A few single tracks sections were sprinkled along the way but these too were tandem friendly.
The course had many hills, but not none of the hills were particularly long. Most were in the range of 50-150 feet, which allow tandems to maintain a reasonable speed over the course. We also crossed over two crystal clear creeks which were refreshing and fun.
After the race we were treated to buffet style lunch which included Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, mash potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salad, baked beans and biscuit. All racers also received a Monster Cross t-shirt and an engraved pint glass.
For us, this was our first race and ride this year and a great way to start the season. The race was challenging but friendly enough for tandem enthusiast as a first race and a good way to start training for the new season. We certainly enjoyed the race even if we ended up with aches from not having put any miles on the bike for the last 3 months (winter doldrums). Coming back to the Philly area was a little disconcerting since there were snow covered fields once again. Looking forward to warmer days.
Carlos – GForce Tandem Team