Archive for May, 2011

Winder Up and Let ‘er Rip: SERC Races #4 & #5 at Winder and Ducktown

Friday, May 20th, 2011

by Sean Hess (

Winder Up and Let ‘er Rip: SERC #4 at Winder

Winder is a tough course. Not because you climb into the sky or have to launch road gaps. It’s a tough course because you can’t drink.

It may be toughest course on the circuit to grab a bottle on.

Rider 125 at SERC Winder, 2011

Rider 125 at SERC Winder, 2011

The trouble is that it’s just such a fast course. You slow down at all to hydrate and a lurking rider might pass you. Failing that, the course has so many short, cockeyed climbs (with equally short cockeyed descents) you simply can’t take your hands of the bike.

So, you’re always pedaling and you always have to stay in control. Just not much time to drink.

But since it’s a fast course, you’re still grinning from ear to ear even though your lungs are about to burst and your legs are about to cramp in eight places.

See photos of the White Wave leaders at Winder on the Strackacobra flickr page.

Ducktown is Dry! SERC #5 at the Tanasi Trails, Ocoee Whitewater Center

As it started to mist and drizzle just a bit before the start of this year’s SERC race at Ducktown I thought, “It wouldn’t be Ducktown without rain.” As a rider who has downhilled the famous Thunder Rock Express at least 3 times in a downpour (complete with lightning strikes), it just wouldn’t be right without the rain.

However, the rain was just a tease and conditions were really and truly perfect. The light misting gave the trail just enough bite for tires to stick on hot corners. There was plenty of cloud cover which made temps ideal for racing, and diffused the light so the trail was easy to see under all conditions.

Ducktown has a reputation as the toughest course on the circuit because of the climb. Basically you climb up to the top of the mountain, and then go right back down.

Some of the beginners have a lot of trouble. The worst thing in the world when climbing a tough new course is thinking “I have to be at the top by now,” then you round a bend only to discover that there’s another steep pitch you have to conquer. Ducktown is like that. My first race there I remember cracking on one of those unexpected steep pitches…it’s was soul crushing.

And then after all that disorienting climbing, a super fast, super technical downhill where you need all your wits at hand.

I love this course…it keeps you honest and engaged.

Props to for another great series of races.

Below you can check out some video of the white wave exiting Thunder Rock. The end is great as a dude crashes coming off the final bridge. He came up to me after I stopped filming and asked, “Did you see that, did you see that?”

I said, “No, but I sure as hell heard it.” Sounded like a dam tree falling in the forest there.