Snowshoe Race Report
We have been to Snowshoe West Virginia entirely too many times. The drive is long and the people are, well let’s just say they have most of their teeth. Usually the event is the NORBA National race that we are attending but this past year NORBA moved onto Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. We all remember that debacle. So we are here to race the third race of the Powerade Series. Snowshoe is known for its abundance of rain and the redneck mud it creates, entitled “redneck mud” for its color and stubbornness. This race we were in for a change, a little sunshine and dry conditions were a great welcome for the weary traveler. We are heading down 216, which is a stretch of two-lane road that is riddled with sharp turns fog and deer. The deer would be our problem. He was a happy little guy frolicking in the woods never expecting that his world would collide with the quarter panel of a diesel truck. He lives on with the knowledge of denting and scratching
Marvin’s truck and living to tell the tale.
We arrive in Snowshoe around 10 pm and decide to save some bucks and sleep in the truck. As roomy and spacious as the commercial will lead you to believe, the interior cab of a Ford F-350 is a little cramped for this 6-foot downhill racer.
It is incredibly difficult to sleep and after what seems to be hours of tossing and turning and the occasional nap, what seems to be an eternity reveals itself as merely 30 minutes.
The morning greets us and I have pulled almost 2 hours of precious sleep. We decide to search out coffee and a WV breakfast. Practice starts at 10 am and we are anxious to ride having not put any real time on the bike since Whistler we are hoping we are ready for the challenge. As we start down the course the speed reveals itself, the course is a long 2.75 miles winding in and out of the western territory of the park. A few man-made obstacles such as a twenty-five foot road gap help present us with ye olde “Cohones Check”. This is going to be fast.
We meet with fellow HHMA team rider Matt Slater exchange travel stories and continue to practice. After practice we head over to the other side of the mountain and watch the Dual Slalom event, as the name ensues Dual is a race in which to riders race down a given course with each rider dodging around his or her colored flags. As the practice is underway we decide to rinse off some of the mud from our bikes and make plans for dinner.
We eat and it is good. We also check into our hotel and sleep in large beds, I’m happy.
The next morning we head out and prepare for practice and our race runs.
We are able to get two practice runs in just to find our race runs scheduled for 1:30 and 2:00 plenty of time to get the nervous jitters and let our muscles get too cold.
As 1:30 rolls around chaos creates delays and I don’t get into the start house until 2:45.
The audible beeps and I push off, this is a long course and I don’t want to exhaust myself to early, one of the hardest things to do in a long race run is to hold back, I do my best.
As I hit the fire road section I hit the step-up jump and clear the 15 feet to the transition giving me much more momentum for the long descent. I remember to breathe and to just have fun. I pedal my way out of the woods onto the slope and hit the large jump at the bottom crossing the finish line with a time of 5:01:05, good enough for 4th place and the cash payout. Marvin has some bike issues, which cost him a decent run, but we all have smile on our faces. The gods smiled down on us and held the rain; we almost were able to give them an animal sacrifice at the start of this trip. Maybe ‘almost’ is good enough for them.