We tried to come up with a plan this past Wednesday. All I can say is that $1 craft beers + too much time = not making any plans.
I don't know exactly when I saw a certain post on Facebook. Mebbe Wednesday. Perhaps Thursday. An image of a banner advertising a race in Roanoke, Virginia offering an XXC option. Dafuq? $40 day of registration to ride 43 miles of stuff I've never seen. And supported. Kinda fits into my whole "I'm getting older and I keep doing the same things so I better start doing different things before I'm dead" thing I always tell myself to do (and don't). Race or no race, this sounds like a lot of fun, or at least more interesting than sleeping in my own bed.
Dabble into some research. Keep hoping something comes together that makes sense for the REEBellion at REEB Ranch... because bikes and beer and camping and all the logistics on someone else. I can't get anyone to go, and the schedule of events isn't conducive to getting any actual bike riding of our own done while we're there. Hard to say, "Hey let's pay to camp and not really get any riding in and watch dual slalom (it was so cool in the late '00s) and pay $5 for a beer and watch cross racing (eeewwwwwww).
Friday after work... slow roll past The Spoke Easy. One beer can't hurt. It's just a start to the whole hurt thing.
People trickle in, and beers happen, and some of the people I'm drinking beers with would be the ones that I might make plans with... but no one is up for a Saturday overnight option. Shit.
Go home and sulk and eat mac and cheese while watching Archer despite our last stop being Pizza Peel for a late supper (I hate myself).
Saturday morning. Look at my phone. No texts from anyone with a better plan. Take the phone down to the bike room and get on the computer. Look at the race some more.
Keep looking at my phone.
No texts. Assholes.
The hotels in Roanoke that I looked at yesterday are being dicks. Price hike penalty for looking last minute (yes, I deleted cookies and did most of my hotel looking from work anyways... shhhhhhhhh).
I justify my non-van life by knowing that I'll spend less money on hotels and camping at the rate that I'm living anything close to a van-life. Find a hotel for $80... nonrefundable.
I guess I'm going now.
Start collecting all (most of) my things. Swap my gear from 32X18 to 32X19 because Chenger is telling me the lower trails are muddy. I picture Di Di Mau '93 mud (you had to be there). Terrible, energy-sapping mud. I looked at some of the trail profiles and watched (some) minutes of (some) videos. None if makes any sense to me in a manner that would further influence my gear selection.
Pack my shit (well most of it), and get in the car for the three hour drive... alone. Meh.
You see, I'm a social animal. Gone are the days where I care about real racing enough to do this kinda thing alone. I like the company in the car, the out-to-eat experiences... all the fun stuff. The riding is just a bonus. A good bonus, yeth... but I'm a people person (the people I like at least).
So, get to the hotel, check in, change clothes, drive fifteen minutes to where the race will start, and go for a "spin."
More trail, more staring at my phone and maps, more figuring things out... see a deer, more deer, a giant turkey, a couple not very gnar looking mountain bikers I finally find my way to the Comet Trail.
Now I'm now not so worried about my gear and more worried about how long it's going to take to ride 43 miles out here. There will be some steep hiking and apparently some sketch ball descents.
I end up riding way longer than I planned and also started wondering to myself, "When did that guy at the park office say this place closes?"
I mighta rode for an hour and a half and there were many moments where my heart rate was straight pegged (47yr old pegged), but I did make it back to my car before they closed to gates. Packed up my shit and went to Alejandro's because Gordon Wadsworthless told me to, although I don't think it was the one he was thinking of... but it was seriously right on my way home.
Back at the hotel, bathe, shave... and I'm watching Deadpool in a king size bed by 9:00PM.
So far, this is the best race ever.