The 19th Annual Jefferson Cup was supposed to have two representatives from WVU racing in the men's 1/2/3 race, but at the last minute it came down to only myself racing. Ryan was there to be a moto official and keep me company on the long drive.
After loading Ryan's Motorcycle into my small pick-up and me cringing the entire drive from not only the dense fog but in fear of the moto failing onto my bike. We made it to the hotel with extremely horrible time taking almost 6 hours to arrive. The highlight of the drive was after passing senecea rocks we encountered Layman pedaling his mountain bike down the road. (he didn't recognize the vehicle or sponges moto, but inside saw my handlebars and recognized my bike)
The race day was very long, as I woke up early to go with Emily and cheer her on during the women's 1/2/3 race/ She did very well winning the field sprint from the chase group. The women's race split almost in half with about a 5 minute gap between groups.
Finally, at 2:30 the men's 1/2/3 lined up and then after a period of time we played in the parking lot and re-lined up. The delay was caused by a crash in the mens 4 field at the finish line.
The men's 1/2/3 showed up with some serious competition (125 riders), with Harley davison and PA elite racing for 1-2 at the finish line. Other noteable teams included Kelly Benefits, Kazane racing, and several others. The neutral roll out was very agrressive going about 23-24 mph, and I went from the 4th row to the back after being battled around almost like a pinball. This field was brutal and very fluid with riders constantly changing lines and battling for position. I was doing well following Tim from VT and trying to just survive with the intense changings in tempo. The line when strecthed out was HUGE. With many riders falling of the back of the group, I eventually was unable to respond and also fell into no man's land. After a few miles of intense chasing the follow cars came around me, but i refused to give in that easily. I kept my head down and charged ahead. Finally, I jumped into a small chase group of about 6 riders and we worked together for about 10 miles or so, 4 of the riders dropped out and 2 us continued forward. After mile 60 and being overtaken by the men's 35+ field, I was pulled from the race and was able to watch the finish. It was very exciting as a small break survived and sprinted to the line. 70 riders were able to finish the race. It was an intense day and I hope I was able to take away some valuable feedback and next time, be ready for this big of a race.
Proposed for trail work today at Big Bear but Mark said it is too wet and rainy to work on it. Therefore, have an early team meeting at bike house with myself,Steve, Jake and Balaji.To not disappoint Balaji for waking up early on Sunday, we(except steve) decided to ride bikes out and back from Liew's apartment to Coopers Rock on MTB. We rode from mileground-cheat lake-quarry run(brutal climb)-coops. Out and back cranked us a total distance of 40miles. Weather was ok, off road condition was muddy, scenic condition was excellent:Get a chance to spectate 6.2K running race, met a couple old time wvu cycling alumni; Hero of the day, Balaji rode Jake's single speed out and back and he kept up pretty good(Beast.....). Jake had a crazy tire explosion up at the top of Coops. Best moment of the day: Chocolate cake after ride...deliciousssnessss....
After the girls ride got cancelled and upon showing up at the group ride and seeing several of the team's finest riders, I quickly decided that I would bail on the Cheat Lake loop at the top of Dug Hill. We picked up Shawn W. on his track bike on the rail trail along the way, so he decided to bail with me. The two of us made it up Dug Hill and came back down as everyone else continued along on their journey. Shawn and I headed back to Ruby McQuain park (after seeing several friendly faces along the way) where I saw some Multisporters and decided to stop and chat. I was about to head out to do the Mountaineer course with 3 of the MMS guys, but then Auvid came along. We headed back out to Dug Hill, and I climbed it again with no complaints (if you can believe that one!) :) We even passed an older man along the way, who proceeded to throw up the middle finger to a car who passed Auvid who was on the right side of the road while he was coming down on the left. haha. All in all, it was a good ride & the weather was beautiful. My trip up Falling Run Road was also a lot less stressful with practically no one in town. Usually people are flying at 40mph up the hill while I'm struggling to make it to the top without getting hit from behind. I think that climb is starting to become a little less greuling also. But you how what they say.. "it never gets easier, you just get faster."
Erik and I made the 10.5 hour drive to Newnan, Georgia to start out our spring break. Weheaded south because the ACCC did not have a race and both of us were heading that way for our own spring break adventures and because we figured the South had better weather. Could not have been more incorrect about the weather.
We drove all day on Friday, leaving Morgantown around 8 in the morning, and after stocking up with coffee from sheetz the drive began. The weather was overcast the entire trip, we made stops to stretch our legs and ate at a Wendy's around 1pm. We hit Atlanta right around 5pm, surprising the 8 lanes of traffic were moving well and dd not slow us up that much.
We found our hotel after abit of a struggle as the GPS got us to the correct road but about 10 miles from the actually destination. We traveled around the small town of Newnan and ate some anazing pasta from a local resturaunt. We also ventured to a Publix andWalgreens to find Erik from pedia-light and myself some beer (can't get the good stuff in WV).
We went to bed and Erik being the triathlete, instisted we go to the 7.7mile Time Trial, after extreme disorganization the first rider went off about 45 minutes late, and the amazing order of taking off by first name made perfect sense.
We grabbed some quick lunch and then prepared in the cold rain for the road race. After, Erik had magnet problems with his computer and my computer was dead, we both made sure our ZIPP's looked good, put on warm dry cloths, and in my case lathered up with vaseline to prepare for misery.
My 64 mile adventure started out as a very exciting and nerve racking race. Within the first 500 meters, a rider changed lines and came very close to knocking myself and a few other riders over. Then the race took off!! These guys are fast and many of them raced very aggressively, with bikes being leaned over with every powerful pedal stroke, and plenty of bumps and nudges throughout. I saw a great break away which looked promising and decided I needed in it. I bridge the 10-15 second gap and started in, unfortunately about 7 miles up the road the break was caught, the group stayed together until the last 2 miles of the race in which a 4 man break survived to the finish line. I faired well and finshed 8-9 in the sprint.
Erik survuved his day of racing and we hit the hay early at around 10 pm. We woke early and Erik decided to get on the road and head further south. I went to the race and prepared for even more misery. The temp was about the same and the rain was even harder. I wore a base, two jersey's and a vest in attempts to stay warm, it failed. Gloves had to drained from water ever few miles and botht he inside and outside of my glasses needed attention as both were wet. I made an early attempt to cause some trouble and held a 5-6 mile two man break-away. We had fun and knew when to give up. The peleton seemed to be much less motivated then the previous day and on lap 2 let a 3 man break go up the road. Lap 4 a two man break also went up the road. The peleton made a few organized efforts and with about 15 riders remaining, decided to finish as a group, this was the most quiet and defeated group I have ever riden with as all of us just wanted to get off our bikes and call it a day. The race was scheduled for 64 miles though the finish came around mile 70. The surge came about 100 meters before the final turn and the 200 meters to the finish then. I went and fair at about 7 in the sprint. Taking 11 or 12 for the race.
Overall it was a great weekend and I learned alot. What doesn't kill one makes him stronger and that was most definately the story for the weekend, as I post making it to the finish line as a vistory in itself. The South does not always have better weather.
We always get tired of the same old course. So I thought I'd figure out a new one using my new favorite road, 73. Whipped out google maps, noticed Halleck Rd. Ya, I've seen that road mentioned on MBC So I kept going, and saw 4H Camp Rd intersects it. Perfect, take that all the way back to 119 and then bomb down the 50MPH hill. 30Miles...just right for a late after ride. We started out and Chad had the case of the Martinos and was barely going faster than reverse up the hills. When we got to Goshen he took the normal shorter route back to 4H and let us begin the sweet sweet suffering. The whole ride is...well...never flat. Very low traffic, very scenic. We were having a dandy old time riding out Halleck looking for the left onto 4H. Then we get to US119. Hmmm...Do you know what today is? Today is Friday before spring break. 119 was bustling at 55mph. Luckily mostly heading out of town, so we lined up and headed up 119 a ways to Goshen and took that to 4H. No one died, and the school off Goshen let us in so we can get water and informed us that 4H doesn't intersect Halleck. We told them they were right, we had just checked. So, the morale is. Don't do what Gef tried to do when he made the Wisp Slaughter Fest Conference Champs course a few years back and plan race courses based on google maps. If you're lucky, you'll end up on jeep trails.
See Look, 4H Camp intersects Halleck
Oh and why did I name it Whittle Hills? Because after about 35 of this little hills, your legs have been chipped away to nothing. Certainly not enough to put up a fast paceline up 119.
During the weekend WVU cycling team members put in about 28 man hours of trail work up at Big Bear! Liew, Zerbe, Dave Light, and I did some trail walking and debris cleaning on Saturday for about 2 and a half hours. Liew and I walked the "Canaan" loop and cleared the winter debris, and Zerbe and DL worked trails up by the airport. We then rocked out a 3 hour ride with Mark Schooley and some other Morgantown Locals who were out working as well. The ride was great and the weather was just ridiculous. We even ran into some of the WVU ladies out there riding as well. By the end of the ride, we were hungry, spent, and my knee was pretty well worked after a nice endo.
Today we had six guys go out, Nutt, Zerbe, DL, Robbie, T-bot, and myself. After stuffing our faces at lil Sandies in Bruceton Mills, we met up with Dave and Rob Vorhees out there by the dam and started the day with a nice two hour ride. Zerbe was still pretty toasted from riding Friday at Canada, and yesterday as well, but he still dominated. I was nursing my knee, which I was surprised to find worked quite well, and tired myself. The weather was warm again, and the ride today was pretty quick, it was nice to fly through the trails with a sick group.
After the ride we quickly changed and got to work on a new trail that Benji has been cutting in. Mark had marked off the main idea while we were riding and we were now there to cut her in. I'd say we did a rather fine job with our section, making it both excellent to ride quickly in both directions. Morgan Miller and Chris Phillips were also out working, so with that many people out, everyone was able to get a lot done! Apparently Mark saw a bear down near the new trail; I was of course mad, because I have still never seen one...
It was a sick weekend, and we got quite a lot of hours in. The trails up there are nice a dry, and most of them are now quite clean, and the new one is going to be sick-tacular. I love the jump trail...too bad I forgot my camera today...bummer.
Hope the rest of the team faired well with the road racing!
I had to go to the bank and Pathfinder today, so I thought I would avoid traffic and take the bike. When I got outside, I realized how awesome it was out, so decided to go for a ride. So I checked the team calendar, and figured I'd go on Janel's 3:30 ride. So I did my errands and went to meet at the Lair. She didn't show, so I thought well maybe she was meeting at the rail trail - nope. So I had to ride solo. I haven't ridden solo since middle of last semester. I decided to try out a new road that I'd seen a long time ago, it was incredible. I started out riding feeling rather agitated about a failed group ride and all the spam that was in the forum, but after 30min of free thinking and riding I calmed down, took in the sights and rode whatever pace I felt like. It was awesome. So about this awesome new route. Basically it removes the gravel rail-trail from the 4H Camp loop. Take RT towards Fairmont, turn onto 119 when the pavement ends and ride up the hill a ways to Rt 73. Follow 73 to Goshen/I79 and then finish the 4H camp road. 73 is a very rolling road, no shoulder but very straight (NOT FLAT), and relatively low traffic. The hills aren't killer, but sustained. Bike riding, ahhh so much fun.
So with the largest road team showing of the season our four car caravan departed the bike house a little before 6pm on friday. Luckily, our drive was relatively short and we arrived at the Welty household around 10pm. For those who don't know the Welty's are perhaps the most gracious and hospitable family in the Severna Park area and housed, fed, and put up with us for a whole weekend, THANK YOU WELTY FAMILY! We settled in to our wonderful accommodations and got a for real 7 hours of sleep.
The next morning we woke up and our Men's D and C racers dressed up for the cold race that awaited them. We were surprised with a huge breakfast spread that fueled us for our upcoming race day. We arrived a little behind schedule, as usual, and registered and warmed up for the race. The Men's D went off for their twenty minutes with a well represented WVU squad. Ryan, Dave, Chad, and Brandon raced what I am sure seemed like a hundred laps around the technical Navy crit course riding strongly with the only casualty being Chad's tire bead in the last corner of the last lap. He went on to finish the race despite his minor crash. Next up Erik, Evan, and I did some hot laps around the course getting ready for the Men's C field crit. We lined up and the race started with a totally unreasonable amount of speed. Evan held a position at the front of the pack for a couple laps before being swallowed like the rest of us by a violent pace. I found myself quickly off the back, but thanks to our no DNF rule I fought back the urge to puke and reeled a few riders in before a small victory sprint that felled the ego of a GW rider. Amber found herself in a combined Women's B/C field and put out the watts against some very tough competition. She did a great job against some early season racing. Brock was once again the "Lone Wolf" in the Men's B crit and worked hard to bridge gaps and pull the chase group. He came home with another strong top 5 finish, way to go-ski bro-ski! Janel took the line in the small Women's A race and put up a great fight against the Navy squad. She hung on to contest many primes from the chase group after a Navy rider got away from the group never to be seen again. After being hung off the front by the two remaining Navy girls she still finished strong in third. Jimmy once again donned his lucky pink kit as he pulled up to the line for the A field race. Brock also decided to race the A's for experience after having already done 45 minutes of racing. He managed to race the full hour and placed ahead of many of the A riders, what a beast! With what seemed to be some difficulty getting clipped in, Jimmy found himself towards the back of the race early. However, lap after lap he reeled more riders in, closed more gaps, and yelled the most at lazy riders until he found himself back in the chase group. He held on for a 12th place finish, yay Jimmy!
We packed up our gear and headed back to the Welty household only to be further surprised by post ride snacks followed by a huge spaghetti dinner. We seriously can't thank this family enough for their amazing hospitality. After a bunch of noodles and a round of well needed showers the team settled in for TV watching, beer drinking, and pool shooting. We went to bed with thoughts of ITT's dancing in our heads only to find the next morning that an inch of snow had cancelled the race. Boo! and also Yay! two more hours of sleep. We assembled for another fantastic breakfast and I even managed to get a small group ride into Annapolis together. Dave, Brandon, Chad, Jimmy and myself headed out on the rail trail for a cold hour of hot bike lane action. We fooled around with mile sign sprints and raced across the Bay Bridge past the Naval Academy. I then got dropped at the longest stoplight in Maryland while the rest of the crew stopped a short distance up the road to fixed Chad's flat after a piece of glass ribboned his tire. After we fixed and barely inflated his tire we headed back to the house to pack up and leave. With another big thank you to the Welty Family we got on the road to Morgantown and after several terrible drive-by "goatings" found ourselves back in sweet WV.
Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending. Amber's car got rear-ended near the Mile Ground. The driver of the other car stopped and the police were alerted. Brock, Ryan, and Amber's bikes were on the back of the car and are going to be assessed for damages at Pathfinder so the at fault pick-up truck driver can be billed. I don't know if he has any idea the kind of cost he might be looking at but hopefully the situation will be quickly and fairly resolved. So, despite a rough end to our travels we had a great weekend. Now lets get ready for Williamsburg!