I spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday over on the east coast playing in the rocks. Did two laps of the Greenbrier race course on Friday to get the legs up and running after 8 hours in the car. The course was not something you would find here in Michigan. It started off going uphill about 75 ft before leading into a screaming fast flowing descent that was all about jumping over the water bars. This quickly led into a full on rock infested dowhill that had multiple turns. The line changed almost every lap with rocks getting moved over by tires and others coming out of nowhere. You had to keep the eyes up and tires down. I sucessfully made it through all times and it was a blast. You don't get that kind of adrenaline here. The cousr shot out onto a gravel(all stone, no dirt) trail that eventually turned and went through a creek 20-30ft wide and about 6-8" deep. There was then a small climb and some mud pits. After that section is where the fun began. A 1 mile climb with 350ft of climbing which is very steep and rocky for the first half before becomeing more gentle with the grade. I made it in the middle ring both laps, but in my smallest gear 32-32. I figured for the race with legs working hard before the hill, I might want a smaller gear, so I put on the granny later. The trail goes into a low grade before another fast swooping downhill. Then climb number 2 which consists of all rocks where you have to pay attention and pick lines carefully. It goes up 275 ft and finishes on top of a ridge. You quickly hit some moderate downhill before the best downhill. It screams down over rock, between trees, over roots, water bars, shale, and of course a few thick mud pits before wrapping around the lake to finish the 5.7 mile loop with 735ft of ascent.
Rode a lap on Saturday to keep the legs fresh, then chilled the rest of the day and went to Hagerstown for a bit while it rained.
Sunday was race day, but I had to anxiously wait all day until 3:30 before the gun went off. So, I sat and watched the racers go down the last downhill all morning. Our campsite was right off the trail, so we sat and watched all categories go through. The at 1:20, I saw the UCI Elite/Pros go through a few times before it was ready to stretch and warm-up.
Finally the race was off, and I found myself in a 3-man pile-up in the first gravel corner 15 seconds in. Some guy biffed it and 2 of us couldn't stop in time. I kept my legs planted to the ground, but the bike fell below me. Not bad, I put the waterbottle back in the cage and was off. Oh, off dead last out of 21! I passed 3 or 4 people before the first climb, where I climbed it while going by 4 or 5 others who were all walking. Then found a line of 6 or so who riding together. Go to the second big rocky climb and picked my line well while going by more riders. I was just about to the last downhill when a guy passed me. He wasn't too slow on the downhill, but he slowed before the big mudpit, which eventually got me coated from head to toe.
Lap 2 I quickly passed the rider in front of me on the first climb. I rode the rest of the lap by myself picking off Semi-Pro racers on the climbs. I flew down the last descent not even knowing what I was hitting. I just grabbed the bars and let it roll.
Early in lap 3 I passed the second place rider from Trek/VW East and never looked back. I just kept my pace up and went with it. I had to jump off for a quick bit on the steep climb when I got caught behind a rider. I ran up a bit, tried to start but couldn't. Run somemore, then finally got on and rolling. This costed a little time and showed to be my slowest lap.
Lap 4 I was passing more Semi-Pros, lapping later expert men and women, and I just kept it up. i amde the steep climb again, and just kept the power going. Came in the finish shoot after my 4 laps in 2nd place. I was happy with the finish. I rode well, paced smart, and tore up the downhills. It was extremely fun.
Since the award were over after 7, it we knew it would be late getting home, so we had decided earlier that we would stay Monday. So we rode a nice lap and checked out the scenery before driving the 8 hours home. Good trip, great event, and I might have to come back again.