Nicole Dorinzi and I were the perfect pair to take on the 2X12 Women’s Duo Sport. We are the only two team members so far who have cracked their team helmet due to spectacular crashes. We pre-rode the course several time in order to get ready for the big event. This would be Nicole’s second mountain bike race, but I knew she was ready for the 2x12 because she is a total rock star. I was really worried it would be hot and humid the day of the race since we were experiencing a serious heat wave in Morgantown. Being from Southern California where humidify is pretty much zero, I completely melt into a useless ball of suffering and sadness in the worst WV summer days. I have proof-- my DNF in the Tour of Tucker County. I overheated on the first climb to the point of chills and poor James Braswell had to drive me home after the awards while I sat with the race bag in my lab hoping I wouldn’t empty my stomach into it. Anyway, enough about my lameness…Nicole and I decided I would do the first lap. Wary of coming off the start too hot, I held back on the first climb up the gravel leading to the single track and soon regretted it. I was the first women in our category into the woods, but I found myself battling to get past crashed riders on the first section of trail and really couldn’t get any kind of flow going for several miles. Plus, the super dry course we had been pre-riding was now slick from the recent rains. I finally started to feel good and I began to pass several male riders on the climbs leading up to the pines. Unfortunately, most of them past me back on the downhill section. Needless to say, I am not fearless or particularly skilled on mountain bike, which makes me pretty slow on the descents. I past them back once we started climbing again and kept my lead until the end of the first lap. I gave the baton to Nicole and she went out for lap #2. I went back to camp dynamic to rehydrate and eat a PB&J. I realized that I felt pretty good and I had perhaps held back a little too much due to my heat paranoia.
Nicole came back in with a great time, but it was obvious she had crashed from her coating of dirt. I made sure she was OK and then headed out. This lap was way smoother and much more fun. I fell into my groove right away and just tried to keep up some momentum. I had watched some of the riders I had passed on the first lap go out just before me, and I made it my goal to pass them. I was feeling better on my mountain bike then I had in a long time. I again passed several riders on my way up to the pines and decided that I wouldn’t let them catch me on the decent this time. Luckily, I was able to hold them off, and I finished the lap faster than my first. Nicole put in another fast lap for us (minus the crash this time) and we clinched 1st place. I don’t really think I need to mention how many teams were in our category.
I was in a great mood and was ready to have some fun and cheer on the rest of Team Dynamic. We had a huge presence this day. Betsy and Gunnar Shogren claimed 2nd in the Coed Open category just one week after the Dirty Kanza 200. Robert Loehr and teammate Marc Glass finished 2nd in Single Speed, and James Braswell and Todd Latocha came in 5th in the Men’s Open. It was really nice to hang out with my teammates after the race and enjoyed the “free” beer and the live music. As my move to North Carolina gets closer and closer, I realize how much I am going to miss the mountains of West Virginia and all my friends who enjoy riding those mountains too. I have one month left. Next week…The Hilly Billy Roubaix