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the Mid-Atlantic Super Series by Karen Brooks photos by Justin Steiner

Picture your ideal mountain bike event: it may be a fast and furious downhill that’s over in moments, it may be a grueling daylong endurance race, it may even be a multi-day stage race over a week or more. But chances are, the racing is not the only attraction. There’s also music, camping, maybe some beer, hanging out with friends in the great outdoors. No matter how serious you are about the portion that involves paying attention to the clock, it’s the rest of the day’s activities that make the whole thing, well…fun, and something you’ll consider coming back for next year. The people involved in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series (MASS) have just this sort of scene in mind for those who come to their events. Take, for example, the recent Festival and Rassin’ Weekend: not just another date on the calendar to collect points, this was a full weekend of activities for a reasonable price including night time trial, 12-hour, and short track races, a 28 Dirt Rag #144


band, meals and some “adult beverages,” good old-fashioned shenanigans such as a “Murffy” tossing, and a swimmin’ hole for relaxing pre- or post-lap. The setting was the idyllic Oesterling farm, owned by promoter Mike Kuhn’s inlaws, onto whose 99 wooded acres an incredible amount of singletrack had been stuffed (and ridden and maintained weekly by a local club). Tight and twisty doesn’t begin to describe the pile of spaghetti these trails must resemble on a map. Some might call it excessive, but most just whooped it up. The crowd was a mix of all types of riders, from kids barely out of diapers to seasoned pros. In fact, considering the laid-back nature of the scene in general, it was almost a shock to see the fast lap times being put up. Yet everyone was mingling, the pros cheering on the kids at their fi rst race, the parents helping teenagers get ready, riders shouting encouragement to one another as they ducked under the course tape coming

back from the campgrounds. This is the kind of grassroots race that helped the sport of mountain biking get started, and it’s the kind of event with which the MASS has built its reputation as one of the premier race series in the country. The MASS was founded in 2000 by Don Morrison, who based it on the successful (and still growing) Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross series. Next up to the plate were Jay Oleksak, Brian and Ann Hess, who oversaw the MASS up to 2007; then John Miller took the reigns and asked Mike Kuhn to help him out. Currently Miller runs the series with a group of volunteers who each handle certain tasks—Rick Bullotta and Todd Strauss deal with the scoring software and series standings, while Kevin Mertz, Joel Flambaum and Dan Conrad wrangle sponsorship and do promotion. That’s one of the keys to this series’ success—the fact that they’re all doing this in their spare time means that they don’t draw a salary, and thus more

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Dirt Rag Page 28