Wednesday, September 5

West Virginia and also other Virginias... minus the sadness (mostly): Part Two

Wake up long after the sun's up in the back of Bill Nye's #vanlife.  Malinger for an hour or so... I mean, I'm on vacation, right?

We had considered riding some XC trails at Snowshoe, but I can feel the IPAs behind my right eye.  Bill Nye isn't stoking fires either.  Figure we'll be outta the haze in a couple hours, so why not head straight to Stokesville and get in some XC there?  Mebbe Lookout Mountain and Trimble... or something.

Country roads all the way there, stop in Cass for coffee (first and hopefully the last time I subject myself to a Keurig abomination), pick up some PBR and a mystery hot sammich labeled "CBB," and roll into camp around... dunno.  Something prolly in the PM.  No watch, no gods, no master.

Find a place to settle in over towards the observatory, start getting ready to ride, and the sky starts to rumble.  Meh.  Kit up anyways, regardless of the fact that there's a 20% or a 100% chance of thunderstorms. 

We head out towards the climb up Hankey Mountain when I toss out an audible.  If it starts to pour going up Hankey, I'm sure we'd just turn around, so I suggest we just push up Lookout.  If it starts to rain hard, we simply turn back... but at least we'd be on a trail instead of a clay road.

Up, up, up... the XC trails we didn't ride at Snowshoe woulda been easier.  Meh.  Eventually, we basically get to the top of the good stuff, and the rumbling is still doing it's thing.  The skies are dark.  We start to play on the features close to the top, and the rain starts in just about the same time I stop to take this blurry photo of Bill Nye riding up and over a slick pile of rocks.

From there, the rain started in with mucho gusto.  Not an absolute torrential downpour, but enough to make everything slicker than snot.  Much excite.  The rain did relent towards the bottom, so not the worst ride ever in the history of worst rides.  Not the best tho, but any ride is better than no ride.

We return to #vanlife to see that a large group has decided to camp as close as possible to our side door.  Multiple families.  Nothing against families (I have one myself), but not what I plan on spending my evening near or amongst.  We decide to drive out for some Thai food... mebbe as an excuse to find a new camp, but also because there's a dope ass place to get Thai in Harrisonburg.

Return from town, find a place to park close to a Charlotte friend, settle in for an evening of just a couple beers since the night before the SM100 has become just that (unless Watts is anywhere nearby).

Wake up to the sound of brakes squealing past the #vanlife.  The race started out there somewhere in the darkness.  Good for them.  Go back to sleep.

Wake up to a bluebird sky.  Tom was gonna join us on a journey to bring the party to Aid 5, but that plan quickly morphs into mebbe going for a fun ride and then over to Aid 6... walk up into the woods and cheer up there somewhere.  Who wants to ride 19 miles (mostly up) to cheer and then ride back down, almost entirely on fireroads?

We head out towards Lynn to ride Wolf and mebbe Narrowback, what would be a decent portion of the start of the race in totally the wrong order.  On our way out Tilghman Rd, the race is coming right at us.  Mebbe our lame attempt at cheering the oncoming traffic counts as bringing some stoke.  Who knows?  Over to Briery Branch and I'm suddenly aware of where I am on the planet.  Although I've done 10.53 SM100 races and multiple Tour de Burgs, I just follow arrows and go where I'm told.  Strange to finally have some kinda clue.

Anyways, push up Lynn (has it always been this long?)...

a rough ride down Wolf (collecting lost water bottles), and we're back down at Tilghman Rd.  Tom and I opt for a quick Narrowback loop whilst Bill Nye calls it a day.

I should mention, if you've only ridden Narrowback at the SM100, you owe it to yourself to get out there without the company of 500 of your closest, newfound friends.  It's quite fun when the trail is free of human obstructions.  This I now know.

By the time we get back, we can hear Chris Scott saying so-and-so is only fifteen minutes from the finish.  Meh.  We'd never have time to get out to Aid 6 for the lead group, so we pack up our beers and just head up the hill mebbe a third of a mile from the finish.  Sit, watch, yell... until the threat of a new storm and a dwindling beer supply encourages us to head back down to camp.  The rain never came, and we grabbed our chairs to sit at the finish line to watch people come in until the wee hours.

Went to "bed" in the  back of the #vanlife in plenty of time to watch Hot Tub Time Machine for the millionth time.

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