Monday, May 7, 2012

When it rains...

Hello! I'm Anne and this is my first year racing with the team and my first year racing, ever. Well, I did two of the ABRA road races in Phillipi, WV and the time trial last year, but this is my first year on a team and my first year committed to completing a number of races. I just finished my Ph.D. in behavior analysis at WVU this Spring, and I started cycling two years ago when I started my dissertation. There are many similarities between grad school and cycling: the egos, the suffering, and the carbohydrate-laden diets. Riding was a healthy outlet (much better than hitting the bars for two-for-one pint night) and a distraction from the monotony of the laboratory. I started attending Derek’s races, and while I enjoyed helping JR as a course marshal and cheering for the racers, I kind of wanted to race myself. After much cajoling from JR and Derek (and Jerry), I decided to do a couple races. I’m so glad I did! I’m so happy to be a part of a team, and I enjoy socializing with my teammates before and after the races nearly as much as actually racing.

Guess where Derek and I went last Saturday?

We had a plan to go pre-ride Tour of Tucker County on Saturday, and we were determined to stick to that plan in spite of the spotty forecast. I’m never able to do the race myself because my yearly conference for grad school/work always falls on the same weekend. Regardless, I enjoy riding the course. Except for the final climb.

Cycling and attending races has brought me to places in West Virginia I had never seen before, despite being a life-long resident (originally from Wheeling – yes the northern panhandle, but technically WV). For example, I had never been to Tucker County prior to pre-riding the course with Derek and Jerry last year. And the area where the race is held is beautiful, particularly at the base of the climb. I feel like I’m in a North American FernGully (the rain was generously helping with this comparison).

On our way to Davis, WV, it sprinkled on and off. We hoped for the best and kept driving. When we got to Davis the sky was dark and it was raining. A lot. Derek suggested that I drive behind him in the car while he rode the course. Ha. After the Greene County Road Race a couple weeks prior, when it poured almost the entire time we were on the course, I was not afraid of a little rain.

The descent down the hill from the windmills is dicey in dry conditions, so Derek decided that we should park near the bottom. I was fine with this. Why? Because someone would have to drive the car back up the hill while the other person climbed the hill mountain at the end of the course. Guess who the driver was?

We put on our vests, our rain jackets, and shoe covers and headed out. 

After we crossed over the little bridge at the bottom of the climb, the rain had stopped. Hoping for the best, I took off my raincoat and my arm warmers. Unfortunately, after about 10 miles, the rain started again. And it didn’t stop. I put my raincoat back on.

Although it was raining, we only saw a handful of cars for many miles. There were many baby cows and I told them how much I loved them. We were cruising along ahead of what seemed like a pretty nasty little storm. We climbed the big climb near the end of the loop, and on the descent, Derek flatted. Uh oh.
Derek fixes his flat in the ditch.

The storm caught up to us at that point, and it started raining harder. Derek changed his tube, and we continued. Soon we were headed back up the climb. 

Derek was doing a power test, so he zoomed off and I slowed my pace to enjoy FernGully, West Virginia.