This past Sunday, I went to watch my lady friend Colleen do a 15k trail run at Yellow Creek State Park. Her race was in the morning, so I figured that we would have enough time to make it to the Shannok Valley Bike the Wilds race. Colleen crushed the trail race with a 7th overall, and victory among the women.
After she had eaten a few cups of granola, I asked "So, you wanna try to make it to that mountain bike race so that I can be the firstiest pro on east coast?
"Absolutely." she replied. I ran through the rain to the Grumbler and got everything packed up. Colleen hopped in when was finished with her shower, and I shifted into gear. Google maps said that the race in Rural Valley (middle of fucking no where) was 45 minutes away from Yellow Creek park. It was 10:15, so we had exactly 45 minutes to make the 11:00 start.
Although it's easy to beat Google trip estimations in most cars, the Grumbler is not the fastest vehicle on the road. I ripped out of the park and nailed the throttle to blast up to 65 mph. I was still optimistic that we could make it.
I ate a pb&honey sandwich in route. We made the turn off of the hi-way, and did my best to keep the Grumbler planted on the road through all the sharp corners. I was really pushing it.
A few minutes later, we hit a closed road. It said "Open to local traffic only." Knowing that the detour would be slow, I decided to chance it and head down the closed road. I figured that being from PA made us local enough.
In three miles I skidded to a stop at a half demolished bridge. I briefly considered jumping the river and landing the Grumbler on the opposite bank, but decided against it since I was carrying bikes on the back.
There were fifteen minutes to go until the race, and I was following a pickup down a back road on the detour at 20mph. I wanted to slay the meandering red neck as we poked along down the winding road.
With 5 minutes until the start we hit the last hi-way before Rural Valley. The town was supposed to be two miles down the road. I turned right and gunned it.
6 miles later, I started to think that we had gone the wrong way. I turned back. When we got back to where I had turned, I realized that the detour had popped me out right where I needed to be. All I needed to do was go straight across the street. It was now 11:10. Dammit. I held out some hope that the race start would be delayed.
We rolled into the parking lot at 11:15. A couple of Pepsi signs hung from the side of white EZ Ups and flapped in the breeze. The parking lot was entirely deserted. I pulled into the middle of the lot. Rain was falling heavily. I listened to the flop flop of windshield wipers.
"Shit. Where the hell is everybody? I could swear the website said the race was on the 24th." I said.
Colleen looked at me. "Today's the 25th."