Saturday, June 28, 2008

Round and Round and Roundtop they go.

Ray and I took a little trip north last weekend to Athens, PA for the 12 Hours of Roundtop 2-bub competition. Thanks to Ray's tireless efforts and me not jacking it up too bad we took the overall win on a day where conditions varied from thick fog to beautiful skies and tacky trails to drenching thunderstorms that turned the course into a slip-n-slide.

12 Hours of Roundtop is a race that has remained a hidden gem for far too long. I've been there a few times now and I even have my own little Hat Trick of Roundtop (yes, I made this up, but its completely official) after this year. What's the Hat Trick? Wins in the solo, duo, and team competitions! Yep, at one time I was fast enough to actually win stuff and I didn't need Ray's help to do it. These days I'm darn happy he's on my team*.

Yes, Roundtop is a long way from the MASS epicenter, but much like what we try to do with the stage race weekend - create more than a bike race - is what they're after up at RT. Amenities like on-site camping, beer, bands, post race meals, night before meals, lunch, during race pizza (that has saved my backside in two years now - I think I may just start taking slices in the feedzone) are all part of this thing.

The course is a hoot too. Ray won the lap of the day with a 29.5 min on the clock. I'm thinking this place would rock for a handicapped MASS 12 Hour 4 bub team relay. Yep, handicap it like the US Open Relay and we'll all burn laps for 1/2 a day grinning like fools. Plus, this gets me the added benefit of somehow inflicting my particular idiom on yet another event and puts me one step closer to world domination.

It doesn't always work out this way, but it is nice when these trips aren't just about the racing but about the getting there too. The trip to Athens gave me an opportunity to do a little back road driving in a part of the state I'd not been before by way of Route 6, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway; the Pennsylvania piece of one of the original transcontinental highways and a designated Heritage corridor in PA. Turns out Route 6 wouldn't be any slower than the interstate highway system for this jaunt and would save me 60 miles roundtrip in the process - save that gas!! Back roads that used to be main roads PA here I come.

You know those blue historical markers along the highways - yes, the ones you blow by and never actually read and perhaps wonder who does stop? As I'm blowing by one I catch the word "Camptown" and of course that old ditty pops into my head. Turns out Camptown, PA is the namesake of the Stephen C. Foster song I always knew as Camptown Races (and as a slightly altered Boy Scouts pine wood derby tune), but was actually originally titled "Gwine to Run All Night." Mr. Foster spent some time in Camptown and apparently blew some coin at that town's horsetrack back in the day.

I didn't get a chance to stop by Camptown this trip, but I find it pretty cool that a little town in the middle of nowhere, PA was the inspiration for what is likely one of the most well known tunes penned in the USA. Had I not taken the trip down Route 6 I'm guessing I would have never learned this little fact. Here's to back roads to races!

Thanks for stopping by,

*And that Ry, Wes, Hebe, Yozell, Michelle, and Nancy are too as they all make me look good.

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