A Triple Crown In The Making

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Why not? MSB, The Barrell Roll, and Arcadia make for the perfect three-race challenge in May. 

Saturday’s Mud, Sweat and Beers kicks off a flurry of races in the area, and if everyone keeps their dates, we’ve got the makings of a Triple Crown-type challenge. Short of a three-races-in-a-week deal like the Ardennes, three races in three weeks is challenge enough for people with jobs and kids and a functioning Netflix account.

It would certainly be a tall ask, with some very different courses more than capable of tripping up even the strongest rider. MSB’s punchy, fast and wide open 24-mile route is probably the most dynamic and unpredictable of the three, with short climbs and short sections of singletrack evenly distributed over the route.

The climbers will feature heavily at The Barrel Roll, the first of the new Short’s Brewing Mountain Bike Series. With nearly 300 feet of climbing per lap, there’s nowhere to hide at 45 North Vineyard, where the race moves from its autumnal time slot to mid-May for the first time on May 13.

The final leg of the Triple Crown would be the famous Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel on May 20. If MSB is almost metronomically divided between climbs and singletrack, and The Barrel Roll is all about elevation, then AGG is neatly divided between 11 miles of gravel roads and 11 miles of fast, flowing and trillium-lined singletrack. It’s a race that offers fascinating tactics between powerful riders trying to make the most of the pavement and singletrack riders just holding on until they can make their mark in the woods.

2017 will be a great look at if one rider is capable of pulling off wins at all three races. With deeper and deeper fields, very different courses to contend with, and that uncontrollable element of luck, it might be a tougher thing than you might expect.

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