By Chuck Bailey
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Did you know that Choctaw County is home to the first ever cross-country endurance bike race in Mississippi? The race known as the “Skool of Hard Nox” is now in it’s seventh year and will take place Sunday, September 4 at Choctaw County Lake.
“Prior to this race we had a cross-country race near the south end of the trail system (Noxubee Hills),” says event organizer, Landon Vollar. “Now we are associated with the Mississippi Off Road Cycling Series (MORCS) that includes seven to eight regular cross-country races held over the course of the year hosted by different cycling clubs around the state.”
Starkville Cycling Club is the host club for the Skool of Hard Nox race.
Cross country racing focuses on fitness combined with skills and speed, so it’s not full of big jumps or extremely technical riding. The courses are usually around eight to ten miles long and are very beginner and kid friendly. Each race is a very fun and laid back family event, usually like a big camping trip in the woods. Many of the races feature kids events and other short format adult races in addition to the main events, which are broken into categories by age and ability.
This year’s endurance race features a 25-mile loop with mostly a single-track (a narrow trail only wide enough for one rider). There is also a 50-mile race and racers will ride the loop twice and be able to stop at aid stations three times. The winners usually finish in around 4 hours.
There is a 25-mile option that is designed for first time endurance racers.
The event will either have a cookout or a local restaurant cater lunch for the racers and volunteers.
Many hours of hard work go into the race, especially since they have to prepare such a large trail system beforehand. Mowing, blowing, downed tree removal, course marking and much, much more must be done to get ready, but it is all worth the effort in the long run. All of the work benefits the trail system’s long-term maintenance greatly. Volunteers are needed this Saturday, August, 27 at 8:00 a.m.
One thing we would love to see is more of the locals knowing more about the Noxubee Hills trail and more about mountain biking,” says Vollar. “Which is a fantastic sport for all ages.”
In the future, we would love to organize a kid’s mountain bike day at the trails,” continued Vollar. “And we would love to get more locals involved in a great outdoor resource that is practically in their backyard.”
To register go to BikeReg.com/the-skool-of-hard-nox-50. Entry Fee is $75 until September 3 and $90 the day of the race. Prizes and awards will be given.
For more details visit https://starkvillecyclingclub.wordpress.com/skool-of-hard-nox-50 or email Landon Vollar at firstname.lastname@example.org