FRANKLINTON, La. (WGNO) — The two-day Roller Coast of Love mountain bike event wrapped with 17-categorized cross-country (XC) races in the seventh stop of the Gulf South Regional Mountain Bike Series held in Franklinton, La., over the weekend.
Enthusiasts from around the region gathered in Bogue Chitto State Park on Sunday to compete for points and prizes, as well as for a bit of fun and bragging rights with friends and family, like 12-year-old Mark Graffagnini.
“We actually showed up late, so I missed my actual race, so I raced the 13-14 [year-olds] and got first,” said the 7.5-mile XC race winner, who transitioned to the mountain bike after starting on a BMX about four years ago.
In fact, he told WGNO the off-road bike trails, which opened a year ago, are as good as anywhere in the country.
“It’s top notch – definitely 10 out of 10,” said Graffagnini, who has been riding with his family in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming to name a few. “Compared to Utah, and everything, like right here on the North Shore, it’s really awesome.”
Longtime Mississippi rider Cary Watkins echoed Graffagnini’s positive review of the course.
“I’ve been racing since 1993, and have literally done hundreds of mountain bike and road races, so we’ve been doing a good bit getting back into it with my son now more,” said Watkins, whose 10-year-old son Caleb won the Junior Men’s 11-12 age group. “This is a good, nice cross-country course. That’s always been my thing.”
“I know there’s stuff here for the guys who like the big jumps and everything, too,” continued the Cat. 3 Men 50-plus competitor. “So, it’s a little bit of everything, but definitely a good cross-country course where you can put down some power and go.”
Women’s Cat. 3 (19-39) winner Daly Fourroux has not let time away from the sport tending to her 10-month-old baby girl Berkeley, keep her from making the most of her return. Fourroux topped her category with an impressive time of 31 minutes 31.7 seconds over
“It was a lot of fun. I just came out really to have fun,” said Fourroux. “I haven’t raced in a while. Been kind of out with my baby, but it’s fun getting back into it.”:”It was a lot of fun. I just came out really to have fun. I haven’t raced in a while. Been kind of out with my baby, but it’s fun getting back into it. “
According to Fourroux, her love for mountain biking is fueled by the inclusive, friendly nature of the community within the sport.
“Every time you come to these races everybody is just so nice and shares the love of the sport. There’s really nothing like it that I’ve been able to find.”
- Junior Men 6-10 (7.5 miles): Trevor Loskota
- Junior Men 11-12 (7.5 miles): Caleb Watkins
- Junior Women 11 –12 (7.5 miles): Aoife Reed
- Junior Men 13-14 (7.5 miles): Mark Graffagnini Jr
- Junior Men 15-18 (7.5 miles): Alan Thomas
- Pro/Cat 1 Men 19-39 (22.5 miles): Bryce Landry
- Pro/Cat 1 Men 40+ (22.5 miles): Cody Fruge’
- Cat 2 Men 19-39 (15 miles): Garrett Rolfe
- Cat 2 Men 40-49 (15 miles): Beau Seifert
- Cat 2 Men 50+ (15 miles): Dwayne Landry
- Cat 2 Women (15 miles): Christine Dileo
- Single Speed (15 miles): Scott Hargrove
- Cat 3 Men 19-29 (7.5 miles): Brendan Costner
- Cat 3 Men 30-39 (7.5 miles): Ethan White
- Cat 3 Men 40-49 (7.5 miles): Ken Webb
- Cat 3 Men 50+ (7.5 miles): Ian Stephens
- Cat 3 Women 19-39 (7.5 miles): Daly Fourroux
- Cat 3 Women 40+ (7.5 miles): Sarah Lea Anglin
The final race of the 2021 season is in two weeks at the McGee Lungbuster at the Ridgeland Trails in Ridgeland Miss.