Monday, June 9, 2008

The Rocktober Files

So while its well delayed the rest of my Rocktober story went something like this:

Friday dawned wet. Real wet. So wet that you wanted to stay in the camper and not set up a 70ish mile long course. Too bad.

Luckily the calvary showed up today. Well, two guys on motorbikes anyway and it was just enough. First Mike Kryzytski, former RB Winter Mountain Bike Jamboree guru from way back in the day (before Ray was legal even) came by to lend support taking some time away from his custom woodworking business and headed back out in the muck with arrows for the roads. Ry was sent on his way by Cannondale to mark the trails of loop 3. Deuter rep and all round nice guy Chris Jones rolled in and was given the task of loop 2 trails by moto. Me, I headed out in the car and jumped in front of Ry hitting all the road/trail intersections and dirt road bits until roundevous with Big Larry at 1300 hours for some parking/reg sign set up. Meantime Kris rolls out in search of internet access for all the last minute stuff.

Somewhere along the line I get a call from Zach Adams who gives me some hope in mankind with a message that he'll be along shortly. Lucky for me Zach came down with a case of senioritis and was just not feeling well enough to make it to school that day. He took on a crucial piece of the marking puzzle when tasked with the role of dropping in Bear Gap to mark this challenging descent. Then once let go from their work confines, locals Miguel Fausto and George "Brushhog" Heim came by for last minute support and to bring by the reg files for Kris.

We rejoiced in the day by taking a spin into Mifflinburg for some hard earned ale and cow at the rather dang nice Scarlet D tavern on main street. It was a long tiring wet day and one we were glad was over. I can say that without a doubt the aforementioned folks were the reason this race worked. I could not have pulled it together without their help and, in particular, Mike and Chris on the moto's were invaluable. Thanks fellas.

Saturday dawned without actual liquid falling from the heavens and we again rejoiced. If there is one thing worse than setting up the course in the rain its actually racing and promoting the race in the rain. Thankfully, this nice big hole in the clouds stuck around for about 8 hours and most everyone was done by then.

When I say done, I do mean done. As in well done. Cooked through. Crispy. I received the most unusual feedback I've ever received from a race which went something like this:

Racer (finishing): "Where's Mike Kuhn?"
Me: 'I'm here. Nice job.'
Racer: "I don't know whether to shake your hand or punch you in the face!!"
Rob Lictenwalner: "Punch him in the face!" (I love my team mates BTW)
Racer: 'That was the hardest race I've ever done!'

This was a sentiment echoed by a number of riders and reflected in the 40% attrition rate. And while some thought this race was too hard many shared sentiments along the lines of it being "real mountain biking." This is the kind of mountain biking that we all did before short loops on less technical terrain became the norm for racing and riding. Mountain biking before trails became groomed and graded. Mountain biking that is more primitive. Mountain biking as it used to be and how it was when many of us fell in love with it.

That's pretty much what we were going for and that's definitely the kind of riding you'll find at RB Winter State Park and Bald Eagle State Forest. If you didn't make it up for the race you should take the time to drive out and ride Old Tram, Pirate, Cowbell, White Deer, and the rest.
One more on the next time around coming soon.

See you around,

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