1st SS - 2nd Overall - Dry, sunny, 85 degrees - 25 miles - 2:06 hours
I picked Don Powers up in the tiny convertible at 7 to start our Big Gay WV Adventure. We were cruising down 79, and Don Powers kept begging me to put the top down so he could feel the wind in his hair. I told him to wait. We would put it down in a few minutes when the fog burned off.
Then the transmission popped out of gear. I put it back in. It popped out again. Everything started rattling and grinding in a horrible way. I put it in forth and crawled to the last exit in Pennsylvania. We were six miles from Morgantown.
I pulled into a gas station and called Rob. They were a few miles behind us, but he didn't think his small VW would be able to take two more people. Probably right. So he had Aaron start calling people. He got a hold of Joanna and MJ, who were also a few minutes behind us on 79.
Rescued by the women in the big pickup truck, we abandoned the tiny convertible and our Big Gay WV Adventure. But we were still going bike racing. The whole ordeal cost us about 15 minutes. It's good to know nice people.
When we pulled into Mountwood Park the place was packed. The turn out was huge since it was a combined WV and OH series race. The sun was out and it was legitimately hot for the first time since September.
We lined up on the road and I punched Nate Annon in the ribs a few times as we compared the size of our emaciated biceps.
"20 seconds. No, hold on. 3 2 1 go!" the starter yelled.
I clipped in and sprinted hard. I took the lead on the road climb kept it until the top of the hill. I thought the single track started when the pavement ended, so it seemed like all the work to get the hole shot would be worth it.
It wasn't. Turned on to a long section of rolling gravel double track. Hell. I was breathing hard and loosing ground. Went way to hard off that start.
A bunch of geared guys passed me, then a single speeder I didn't know, then Nate. When we finally hit the single track I was in about 10th. Tim Carson two other guys had formed a lead group and were breaking away.
I was still trying to recover from that start. Nate started making quick passes. I tried to go with him, but I was still recovering from that fast start. He pulled away.
After a few miles, I let Joey the Riddler go around me. I sat on his wheel and we started picking up the pace. Not feeling great, but not terrible either.
It was so hot. My vision was going blurry on the hills. I was putting out so much effort, generating so much heat, and moving so slow. The sun was beating down through the leafless trees, and there was no breeze. My hands were on fire and my head felt like it was going to pop.
We ripped down a switch backed descent and rolled on to the paved road around the lake. I went around the Riddler and started chasing Nate down. I reached out and grabbed a cup of water from the water stop and dumped it on my head.
Back into the woods. I caught some guy on gears first, and kept getting glimpses of Nate through the trees. He was getting closer. I pedaled hard and cruised along the flowing dirt.
Caught him in a field. We complained about how hot it was, then I went around him and put in an effort to get away. He looked pretty cracked.
Then I saw Tim Carson. He looked back at me, and his face was the color of a stop sign. He was barely moving. Even from a hundred yards back, I could tell what was wrong. His fancy new $8,000 Specilized Epic only had room to carry one bottle.
I caught him right as he was grabbing his second bottle from a post on the side of the trail. There were only six miles left to go. It was way to late for him. I'd drank 48 ounces of water in the same time he'd had 24. I went around and wished him luck.
That put me in 2nd overall. I passed some volunteers and they told me I was four minutes behind the leader. There wasn't enough course left to catch him. I rode conservatively into the finish. Nate came in a few minutes later.
I was pumped to finish 2nd and win single speed in such a big field. When I saw how dry and fast the trails were, I wasn't expecting anything better than a top ten overall. And with how bad I felt at the start, I wasn't sure I'd even be able to catch Nate. But as bad as I felt, the heat made everybody else feel even worse.
When it's dry, Mountwood is one of the best race courses I've ever been on. The trails are awesome and fast, there's room to pass, and there are plenty of tight turns and fun downhills. It's perfect.
After the race, we sat in a stream and Don Powers puked everywhere.
It was a solid first race, but not a good day for the tiny convertible. Poor guy: