Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Heading to Harrisonburg

I'd never been to Harrisonburg Virginia, but I'm going back first chance I get. There's a different breed of cyclists down there, crazier than I've EVER seen...and I like crazy. Large contingent of singlespeeders in the race 10 of them were racing fixed gear! I am a geared rider but have huge respect for SS'er (and of coarse Everyone out there). I partially credit mother nature in forming the athletes native to Virginia. Those guys and girls are truly blessed with some kick ass terrain...lots of climbing and a ton of fast descents.
We left Boston for Virginia on Friday. Skip Brown piloted the Seven Cycles van 600 miles down Rt. 81 while 5 of us (Kerry Combs, Lloyd Graves, Thom Parsons, Rich Labombard) ate and gabbed, and ate more and enjoyed the first class comfort of the van. I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting Rich and Lloyd before this excursion but feel the bunch of us are friends after spending time rolling down the interstate. Looking on my internet phone periodically I was disturbed to see hurricane Ernesto sitting over Virginia in no hurry to move north.
We hit the wall of the storm Friday night entering Harrisonburg. It was dark, wet and stormy. We stopped for a bite at Luigi's for some incredibly tasty pizza. Lloyd and I went conservative and split a simple Zorba while Rich and Skip went to town on a 14 topping combo...Those boys weren't fooling around. We rolled on the final few miles to the campground where we would hurriedly set up camp in the pouring rain and sleep in flowing rivers of pooling water in our tents. As Thom said, "it wasn't bad, like being in a wet suit...once I warmed up the water in my sleeping bag it kept me warm all night".
Disaster almost struck as I guided Skip backing the van in the camp ground. I learned that even small branches should be avoided as one nearly ripped my bike off the roof..It did break the rack but the bike was spared. Who better than Lloyd Graves to assess the damage. No visible cracks in the Igleheart frame or fox shock, although this incident was fresh in my mind hours later as I roared down Shenandoah Mountain hoping my rig would stay glued together.
Saturday morning was clear and beautiful. After breakfast the six of us mounted up and hit the Cookie Trail for a couple hours of preride. Thom showed us <-- he could remove rocks from his shoe without stopping. Preriding portions of the course was invaluable having never ridden this race. We warmed up on a gravel road for a few miles and heard a couple blasting gun shots and barking hunting dogs at work in the woods. As we were passed by a truck on the road I noticed that the two hunters inside were using a radio homing device to locate their hounds. Had no idea that Hunting had such technology.
Hanging at camp Saturday afternoon this little guy kept us entertained as he perfected his skills on the waterbar jumps. I tracked down his father to tell him that his son is going to be a daredevil mountain-biker in a few years.
That night while we enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and Old Dominion Beer I was reacquainted with an old friend from Allspeed bike shop. Mr. Jeff Herrick and I shared a few stories about riding out'a Gary Bush's shop with Daren Mourneau and the boys. Great times from back in the days of early epics for me and everyone involved.
After we carbo loaded on beer and pasta Kerry and Harlan shared their advice on the race while we looked at the race map, Thom and I carefully listened. This would prove to be the single most beneficial ten minute conversation all weekend. Kerry and Harlan knew the race like their own back yard (hell I think it is Harlan's). This course run down along with the preride earlier was what my nervous mind needed to settle down for the night and grab some ZZZ's up at camp. Wrapped in my sleepingbag a couple hours later, their advice on sections of numerous long climbs, descents and stretching fireroads sunk in and I had the course layed out in my dreams.
Wide eyed and hungry for an all day epic we rose at 5:00 am from our toasty cocoons. Eating oatmeal and sipping on strong coffee that Lloyd had brewed.

It was go time.

I like to tell my self that it's not a race..instead, we get to ride all day.

gatto go, more on the race later.


rick said...

sounds sweet. keep us posted.

IF Chicks said...

It was fun watching those kids trying to catch some air..great video ! Glad to help you pre-race with course info...