I keep holding off writing my blog, hoping something strange will happen and I will have a result to share that I am proud of. But once again, the month of May was a bust for me, results wise. On the flip side, I can emphatically say I had an absolute blast riding a few of the races. One such race that was so much fun was the 9 Hours of Cranky Monkey at Rocky Gap State Park.
The weekend started for me on Friday, May 17, when I got to talk about bike safety to all of the 2nd graders at Waynesburg Central Elementary School. This was the 5th year in a row that I've been invited to talk to the school as part of the Safety Days, but the first year that I didn't have either a niece, nephew, or other semi-related child that I had to look forward to seeing. It wasn't until the 8th, and final session of the day that I actually recognized any of the kids, and that was only a kid I had coached in soccer U6, several years ago. It was fun, but I also felt a little disappointed that I hadn't had that special connection with a kid or two like I have always enjoyed in years past. Oh well, if I get invited back for year #6, I know I get to look forward to seeing a special little girl.
Following Safety Day, I made a bee line for Rocky Gap, where I planned to camp the rest of the weekend. The trip was uneventful but I arrived to find out that the course had already taken its toll on equipment. Stephanie had somehow managed to snakebite her tubeless tire and we were forced to replace her old tubeless set up with a new Kenda. Easy if you have the luxury of a compressor in a bike shop, but when you have a limited number of CO2 cartridges, each time you tap into one, you have to hold your breath that it works. Finally, after a couple of feeble attempts with my (apparently worthless) CO2 mini pump, Sean Hilty, mechanic from Pathfinder of WV stepped in with the right tool for the job and she was back in business. But that rocky descent had done even bigger damage to the team fleet of Cannondales. JR's Scapel had sustained a direct hit to the down tube and had cracked the frame at the bottom bracket. Nothing in anyones toolbox was going to fix that in camp.
Saturday morning came and my 2 other teammates for the Powered by Pathfinder team were Sean Hilty (Pathfinder of WV) and Shawn Geiger (fellow DPT cruiser) started talking race strategy. I wasn't sure just what was going to happen, but I knew 1 thing.... as the senior rider on the team, I was NOT taking the first leg that involved running almost a half mile from the start to the bicycle staging area. In fact, I called 3rd of 3 legs, just so that if we didn't make the anticipated 12 laps, I would only have to ride 3 (and that strategy paid off, thanks to Geiger having a couple of laps involving lengthy mechanicals.) The thing that really surprised me was that each lap that I did do, I got faster. The first lap was almost 40 seconds slower than my second, which was almost a minute slower than the third. I kind of wish I had been able to do a 4th lap, just to see if I could finally break the 45 minute barrier I had been chasing the last 2 years. I guess that means I will just have to come back next season.
Thankfully the weather held off, aside from some cold temperatures, and the after party was so worth the drive and the pain we'd just endured. If nothing else, the ABRA crew knows how to have a good time. And lets hope that holds true going forward as June looks to be a very busy month again. Next up is the ABRA Short Track Race on 6/1 followed by the Fort Cherry Road Race on 6/2. Maybe I will finally get a result to be proud of.