Iron Cross will always be an event near and dear to the heart of LWC. It takes cross bikes out of the grasstrack arena and into the wild, turning them into all-terrain, multi-functional monsters. In this aspect, Iron Cross pushes the envelope, and the FM crew takes it a bit further aboard our singlespeed rigs. The course and our bikes drive us right up to the edge of insanity, but just as we are about to sink into the dark abyss we are reeled back in with reward. At Iron Cross, there is intense joy to be had, but there's work to be done. Steep slopes that find us grabbing at tree branches to keep from falling backwards on the iconic Wigwam "run up" are followed by screaming fast 45mph descents on chattery gravel roads that snake down the mountain as flashes of fall colors line the way. Every rider in the crew looking at eachother with that grin, or letting loose a primitive scream, as we tuck deeper into an aero position harnessing all of the speed the drop in elevation has to offer. Technical, rocky singletrack of Lippencote, with its infamous nose wheelie inducing, white knuckle descent is contrasted immediately with a rolling ribbon of asphalt through green fields. Log overs, passes through swamps, and a hike-a-bike up a goat path lead to an oasis becoming as well known as the race itself, Larry's Tavern. Beer flows freely, gourmet snacks come out of the woodwork, and a chance to reset for the final test of the day, 10 miles up to the Big Flat parking lot and the finish. It's never-ending and when it turns onto the Huckleberry Trail the real sting hits, but the finish is near, as well as familiar faces, cold beer, BBQ, and stories waiting to be told that keep us coming back every year for another dose of pleasure mixed with pain.

-=FM Southgate=-  with the opening primitive yell. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

-=FM Molendyke=- churning gravel to the finishing climb.

Wigwam ain't no joke. -=FM Southgate=- prefers the push method.

-=FM Breon=- clearly losing his mind in a good way due to elevation. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

Up, up, up on Wigwam "run up"

-=FM Morgan=- in mountaineer mode up Wigwam. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

Peace out, hope the race finds itself back in Michaux State Forest next year.

Killing yourself to live, but ESI RCT bar tape softens the blow.

-=FM Molendyke=- bombing down Wigwam = reward. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

-=FM Fritzsche=- Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

-=FM Czajka=- Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

Gravel descent from the top of Wigwam.

Chatter on chattery stone.

At the midpoint, you pass through the campsite. Feeling rather ripped, we refuel with food, Salazon Choclate, Grimpeur Bros. coffee, and take inventory on nuun tablets. Time to motivate for phase 2.

Handups definitely not a crime at Larry's Tavern. -=FM Czajka=- demonstrates the seated method. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

While -=FM Morgan=- shows the hiking approach. Both valid in any SSCX handbook, if there was one. Photo: A.E. Landes Photography

Larry's Tavern feast. No science, lab created gel stuff here.

Dogs complete the vibe.

On with the task at hand. Climb, climb, climb up to the finish. Huckleberry Trail awaits.