7/6 Tour de Burg - It's The Hardest
The Hardest, at least it is what it was billed as. Six days immersed in the riding culture of Harrisonburg, VA. Shenandoah Valley Coalition's multi-day event lead by the race direction of Michael Carpenter. It it was hard, it always is. That is what we sign up for, 5 days on mountain bike broken up with 2 days on road bikes, racing in the gravel. Just two classes here, men and women. I usually hang on for what it is worth, hovering a couple of spots of that dreaded DFL (as in Dead Fuckin' Last). There are guys there keep me finishing each of stages respectfully, but if they don't finish each and every stage before the time cut-offs they are out of the General Classification. So as the GC gets whittled down the DFL can come up to get me. It came close, but as with every year I skirted that honor with a little effort.
Prologue. Equipment Check. One climb and one descent that took about an hour. I was running a brand new but way to skinny 2.0 tubed rear tire. I flatted. Plus I mysteriously flatted twice before even riding my bike. No reason just a sign of things to come. Then I pinched flatted on the downhill. Hiked back up the hill to retrieve Sue Haywoods dropped repair kit, that I had seen right before I deflated, didn't want to be out of luck if for some reason I lost air again. It didn't and returned the tools, but kept the tube as a surcharge.
Trooper Whitney March on Big Scholls
Stage 1. Easing into it. A real cross county day in big rocks. I got my go-to tire, a Maxxis Ignitor 2.1 mounted up tubeless and didn't have any deflation problems. Put in a good non race pace and motored along to the finish the day just a little beat up. I had some questions going into this race of my physical conditioning. I would let the next day answer those questions.
Stage 2. The Road Stage Reddish Knob into West Virginia. This would be my second road ride of the year. That's lame and that's going to change. Felt better afterward than going into it. New gravel for me to roll on and flat in as soon as it got squirrelly on the way down. Number two flat up front, no excuses, just put in the trenches a little too hot.
Gravel - West Virginia Style
Stage 3. SMT Southern Traverse. This was the stage after the previous nights wind storm that rocked the whole east coast. 5 million people without power and we are riding our bikes. This should have been the queens stage of the Tour, but blow downs all along the ridges made for utter frustration for a lot of folk. I used this to my advantage and rallied. Made quick decisions to barrel through, up, or over the big oaks. Turn out to be my best stage finish ever, possibly in the top ten. Everyone was bleeding after this one.
Southern Traverse on a good day in 2011
Stage 4 Moving Up. Another road stage, with more gravels, rode clean and felt good, just exactly where we went is more than a little fuzzy, but in a good way.
Road Staging at SBC
Stage 5. Bug Scholls. The rerouted stage to escape any storm damage. I felt a little sluggish in the morning, but didn't fight it. Made up for it in the afternoon with a good little surge and enjoyed the ride and the scenery. Finished strong trying to hang with Buck who snuck away from me on the final downhill.
So there you have it. The Hardest Tour de Burg? or is it the hardest stage race around. It doesn't matter it is what it is. I was looking for some answers to my fitness an physical condition going into this race and they were answered in a positive way. That's a good feeling. So I guess it is good that it was hard.
A bad haircut and a new hat. Perfect.
photo from Team Dicky by Chris Meriman
The single-speed class neutralized themselves as far racing was concerned. I relied on my team mates to give our team a finishing time, and I held way back with with the rest of the single speeders. One way to postpone PTD is to put off ending the race. There where a lot of antics going on and lots of down time to be had (more for some than for others).
So to get myself moving on, my photos with the team story line from the week, can be found at:
My photos from the week
And this will get you (and me) to the events professional photographer:
ae landes photography
This year's promo with last years action, that is me rolling the rocks, sandwiched in-between Sue Haywood and Dicky - just where I can only dream to be.
Watch more video of Trans-Sylvania Epic Stage Race 2011 on cyclingdirt.org
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Barboursville FAT Tire Brethren
Beech Fork Association of Trails
bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.
Beech Fork - WV State Park is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake. Barboursville WV, City Park has some nice runs from the top with numerous scenic overlooks from the sheer cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above left to see a map! The Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and 17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land. Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.
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