I was excited for this past weekend to come. Besides breaking my 5 and half month XC dry spell, I got to head back to my old stomping grounds in Blacksburg, VA for a little while. I love Virginia. Matt and I stayed with my old Tech racing buddy Steven Gordon (thanks Steve) on Thursday and Friday nights, cooked lots of pasta and took the standard tour through the Pandapas trails. Made me miss it even more. Someday I'll go back. For good.
Saturday morning, after watching the heart-warming feature film Iron Will we packed up and rolled over to Pipestem State Park for a pratice lap of the course and looked for a place sleep. We tried to weasle our way into the campground on the premises but got shut down by the park rangers. Instead, we found a cozy spot in a Walmart parking lot and set up the cots amonst the bagged mulch in the Lawn and Garden area and retired for the night. I love Virginia.
Sunday morning we woke up to pouring rain. Lots of it. We drove back up to the race and headed inside the lodge to kill 5 hours with some hardcore loitering. As race time gets closer we work our way to a conference room to kit up while chatting it up with some senior citizens who were there for a line dancing convention. Weird. Severly underdressed for the unexpected conditions and smelling of IcyHot, we put in a solid 10 min warm-up and headed to the start. The race was 3 laps + 1 long start climb. The orginal plan was to hang out and play it cool for the first lap or so, and get a feel of what it feels like to race again. What I got a feel for was what it feels like to hammer off the front of the group right from the gun. For two laps I dangled about 20 or 30 seconds ahead of Matt and another guy, but finally got some legs on the last lap, felt comfortable and got out of sight of everyone and put time into second place. The legs felt great all day, just dont quite have my race lungs back yet. Even better: Matt has finally rid his body of last years demons to put in a solid race for third. And Lester got a new girlfriend. I love Virginia. Word.
I wonder why bikes are so expensive...