After disappointingly small spinach bowl at Bob Evan's in Lavale, Maryland Don Powers and I drove the Hatchback Miatta into the Rocky Gap State Park. We registered our duo-team, "XXC Mag Presents the Crusty Seamen" (it's only funny because we're not sailors,) and set up camp.
I was too lazy to pack my tent, but since we were going to a mountain bike race I assumed there would be trees by the camping area. I brought my hammock and a tarp and left my tent in Ohiopyle.
Then we walked over to the camping area. There were no trees. I watched in dismay as the rest of the Pittsburgh/Morgantown crew set up their sponsor emblazoned homes for the weekend.
The TOP tent:
The double wide Dynamic PT tent:
The Pro bikes tent:
And finally, the Wilderness Voyageurs tent:
I accessed all my other options, but in the end it looked like my only choice was to sleep under a bench all weekend. That homeless guy that used to ride around my hometown with shopping bags would be proud.
We went out for a warm up lap. The course was rad, it flowed well with some tight turns and tricky roots. The whole 8.5 mile loop only took 39 minutes. After the lap Don, Brad and I drove the fer piece to Cumberland to find some food. Don was willing to settle on some Taco Bell ground beef spleen tacos. But Brad and I insisted we push through a crowd of shirtless-teenage-carnival-goers to get real food. Eventually we found a little bar with some decent food where Heffner and Aaron already had a table.
The next morning I wake up with some moisture on my sleeping bag. I crawl out from under my bench. At least I stayed mostly dry. I head over to JR's tent and beg for some food. He gives me a bagel and some peanut butter. I am pleased.
I make some coffee in my French press and groan. It's foggy and cold, with light rain. It's so hard to get excited for a race when it's raining.
It's close to the 11:00 start so I take my bike over to the transition area. I carefully back it into the rack so I can yank it out quickly. We're going to run for about half a mile to split everybody up before the trails. I'm going first, and I'll do two laps before trading off with Don.
We line up, and Aaron and I do some short sprints to warm up. It feels like I'm back in High School Cross Country.
The promoter raises his hand, "5 seconds... Go!" We run. Some little fire plug dude next to me trips on a blade of grass and falls on his face. I don't look back, but I'm certain he's being trampled by 175 pairs of carbon soled shoes. I pull away from the rest of the pack and make it to the bikes ahead of everybody else. I grab my bike.
It dons't move. Shit. Somebody hooked the nose of my saddle onto the rack. I frantically throw five other bike onto the ground. Other guys make it to the transition area and start riding away. When I finally get my bike untangled, I'm back in 15th.
I sprint and pass as many people as I can before we hit the trails. The first few miles of the course are really tight and twisty, and it gets congested. I pass when I can, but the leaders are way gone. Dammit. I wanted to be out front on this first lap. I could kill who ever hooked my bike in the rack like that.
We turn away from the lake and get some room to pass. I rip by everyone I can and start the only longish climb on the course. I see JPok and one of the DCMtb guys ahead in the distance. I crush it up the hill, pass them and keep going. I made up a lot of time and took the lead, and now I'm going to hold it. I go all out on the rocky descent and start the swoopy lake trails again.
I cross the start/finish area and head out for my second lap. JPok trades off with Nate Anon. I stay ahead of him and keep pinning it. I finish the lap in 35:41 with a little bit of a gap on Nate. That lap stands the rest of the day as the fastest lap of the race.
I give the punch card to Don Powers, and he promptly drops his chain. There goes our lead. Doh. I walk over to the tents, put my feet up, and eat some ho hos. A little over an hour later, Don finishes his second lap and I head back out.
I feel good the first lap, but slow down to 39 minutes on the second. I'm feeling a little beat. We're holding onto third, but can't catch up to JPok and Nate or the DC guys. Their lap times are too consistent.
When Don finishes his 6th lap, I go out to finish the race with my 6th and 7th. We're a few minutes behind the other teams, so I just cruise the laps. I roll into the finish a little after 7:00 pm.
We ended up third in Open Duo, which is pretty damn good for a couple of guys on single speeds. Don did 6 laps, and I did 7 which ended up being about 60 miles. Very solid and fun day.
I wore my finest Canadian Tuxedo on the podium:
After the awards, there was much merrymaking around the campfire. Sadly, Brad was forced to delete all the pictures. I finally crawled back under my bench at 4:00 am. We woke up at 7:00 and went back to Bob Evan's where Darnell, Sandy, or Beatrice served us breakfast, then drove back to Ohiopyle. I made it to work 15 minutes early. Perfect weekend.