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Windham international mountain bike race: Not for the faint of heart

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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media Athletes gather in preparation for the race.
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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media The Windham’s PRO GRT/XCT EVENT at the Windham Bike Park on Saturday.
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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media A competitor races down the route.
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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media Mountain bikers compete in the Windham PRO GRT/XCT EVENT on Saturday.
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    Richard Moody/Columbia-Greene Media Competitors make their way to the event.
August 13, 2017 - 12:15 am

WINDHAM — Liam Mulcahy, of Ontario, just finished racing, and was covered in sweat, dirt, blood and saliva after riding his bike over a rigorous dirt course at the bike park for an hour and 20 minutes. He was already thinking about what he could have done to be faster.

This is the type of person who races in Windham’s PRO GRT/XCT EVENT that attracts serious mountain biking enthusiasts internationally.

“I would have liked to have been faster on the descents,” Mulcahy said. “The downhills were a little rough, but the course held up well.”

Mulcahy raced at Windham last year, but he faced mechanical problems.

“This was sort of a come-back and an opportunity to get one last rigorous race in before the end of the season,” he said.

The races are a three-day event, Friday through Sunday, with amateur, junior and professional races.

Frederique Larose-Gingras’ two younger daughters were racing at Windham this year, but he and his eldest daughter and his son also compete.

Larose-Gingras and his family came from Quebec so Juliette, 14, and Mireille, 17, could race.

Juliette won first place in the CAT 1 race on Saturday morning, and Mireille was getting ready to compete in the Junior Elite race.

“This course is old school — up and down — I like a race like that,” said Larose-Gingras, who coaches his kids. “We have come here four or five times.”

He said his daughters raced in a championship race in Alberta two weeks ago and it did not go well.

“One fell off her bike and got a concussion, and the other had mechanical issues with her bike,” Larose-Gingras said. “This is a come-back. It is going much better this time.”

Nathan Reed and Josh Miller, of Harrisville, NY, came to Windham to ride in the downhill race Sunday, their first time racing on the mountain.

“We have known each other forever and we have been racing mountain bikes for more than a decade,” Reed said. “This course looks pretty challenging and fun because of the steep incline.”

Miller said the race will take about three minutes.

“I don’t know for sure, we’ll see when I am on the clock,” Miller said.

The friends said they could not remember why they still bike, but just that they enjoy it.

“It is hard to say after all these years,” Reed said. “It is just fun and exciting.”

Rafael Richard, of Manhattan, was hoping to do better at Windham this year.

“We love the trail because it’s downhill and steep, and you can go fast,” Richard said. “I have been riding for a long time, more than 15 years.”

Last year, Richard and his partner placed third and fifth in their event.

“Last year we did pretty well,” Richard said. “Hopefully, we do better this year.”