Keystone Off Road Adventure by Jocelyn

Keystone Off-Road 2019

Jersey Shore, PA.

This weekend brought the long awaited Keystone Off-Road race, a sister race to the popular

Keystone Gravel event held outside of Lock Haven, PA. I have only done a handful of races

over the past couple of years so I don’t have much experience in the racing world, but after

building a strong base of gravel, road, and trail miles over the past five months I felt that I should

be able to mix it up a least a little bit with a strong womens field of about 25 racers in the open

category. One thing I noticed differently about this race was it was the first time I felt mentally

prepared. I was able to pace myself mentally and physically and able to keep things positive in

my mind most of the time. If it weren’t for the encouragement and confidence from my friends

the week leading up the race I don’t think I would have done nearly as well. It was a very warm

day, I believe the temperature elevated over 80 degrees, so hydration was very important. I put

down two 90 oz bladders of water, two bottles of Scratch, a can of coke, and one bottle of

Perpetuem, that definitely seemed to take care of the hydration aspect.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the race was my husband and many of our friends were

racing as well which made the experience even more awesome. Brandon and Mark Focazio

(husband of Melissa, one of my super strong friends who was also racing) rode around to cheer

everyone on and to take pictures, which was incredibly awesome! Unfortunately, we didn’t roll in

until the morning of the race so we missed the pre-party. One amazing part about mountain

biking is the community surrounding the sport and the opportunity to meet new people, not

socializing as much as I wanted to is one of my regrets. We were able to arrive early enough to

putter around on our bikes to visit with some friends who had camped out the night before and

to wish each other well. The start of the race was casual and I started next to my buddy Steve,

which helped to calm the nerves! The first fifteen miles of the course consisted of a dirt road

climb followed by winding singletrack which ended on another gravel descent to the first aid

station. After some off camber singletrack we came upon the second climb, which was a 45

minute doubletrack climb along a beautiful creek. One trick I have been utilizing for a while on

tough climbs is to count each pedal stroke. This trick definitely helps you to focus on pacing

yourself and keeps your mind off the long grind, I highly recommend it! After the Callahan climb

there was a fun gravel descent followed by another singletrack descent. This piece of

singletrack ended with a steep descent consisting of loose leaves and rocks. After the tough

climb beforehand and forgetting to open up my fork I made some awkward moves and ended up

over the bars, luckily no blood was shed! I rolled into the aid for the second time to meet up with