The infamous Queen Stage of GMSR, the Mad River Road Race, starts early in a buzz of anticipation. Nothing tests the riders like the finishing climb up Appalachian Gap. The 4km climb closes with a brutal final 500m that finds many riders zig-zagging just to get to the finish. Wins atop App Gap can catapult careers and cement legendary status.
After the racers start the real work begins as fans, friends, and family head to the top of the Appalachian Gap where loads of chalk await. As racers make their way around the course the final 500m gets littered with names, word of encouragement, and chalk art.
While most racers tackled the normal course, the Pro/1 and Cat 2 men tackled a new starter loop including a tough gravel climb and descent. The change no doubt affected how the race played out as both fields splintered on the gravel.
Even with the changes in course, most races were decided on the slopes of App Gap as racers battle each other and the 15% grade. Spectators and fans cheered everyone on as the relief of the finish and a cold Coke brought relief to a tough but satisfying day.