This past weekend was a whirlwind of biking. It was both the Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championship and a favorite family ride. Nationals were in Snowshoe, WV with the short track race on Friday and the cross country race on Saturday. The weekend continued with the Paranormal 6-hour race on Saturday night in Charlottesville, VA. Organizing this was a logistical nightmare.
Heath drove out to Snowshoe on Thursday night with both Dizzy and Oakley. I could not drive out until Friday afternoon from Asheville, so I missed the short track race on Friday. He did great and got 10th. After, he took Dizzy and Oakley out for a short ride on the trail and pre-rode the cross country course for the following day.
Heath and I pre-rode the course at 7am when it was still dark and not very muddy yet. The roots were slippery, especially on the turns. When his race started at 8am, the wind was working and the snow was falling quickly making it hard to see. And you couldn’t wear glasses because they fogged making it impossible to see. When he came through the finish line, his bike shocks were frozen in place and he was covered in mud.
What was crazy was the weather. We both left from different areas where the weather was 80 degrees and sunny and drove up to the mountains where there was a high of 56 on Friday and 35 on Saturday. It began riding on Friday which progressed to snow. It is October! When I packed up my bike clothes on October 8th, I had no idea what the weather was going to be like. I thought I overpacked for warm weather with what I had. So wrong! I was freezing on the top of mountain with a windchill of 25 and the snow falling. Once everything was wet, it just made everything worse.
Before my race, I was super nervous. It was hard to see, I was still cold from the morning, and I have a lot of trouble when it’s slippery. I had a good first two miles. I slipped once or twice and had a slight fall once. Unfortunately, my fall led my shifter to become shaking. It was rattling as a rode and eventually came loose. My shifter cable was dangling in my wheel. Now, when I wanted to shift, I had to hold my shifter in my hand and shift. I couldn’t shift unless I had a nice flat area to shift, making it hard to go up or down hills and hard to go through technical sections. The mud made climbing hills extremely difficult because your back tire would slip. The finish line was great to see, and Heath was holding a very welcoming hot chocolate.
After, we quickly loaded the car and headed to Charlottesville, a three hour drive away. Luckily, we called our parents in time to have them bring us a spare bike from home. The Paranormal 6-hour race was a relay race because we got there about twenty minutes late, so our teammates had already started for us. Heath competed with his girlfriend, my dad and his friend competed, and competed with my mom. Costumes are required to avoid the five minute time penalty, and the course is always decked out for halloween. There are spooky ghosts that make noise as you go, which are kinda creepy as it gets later. The first few laps are in the daytime and the later laps are at night. I took my brother’s dog, Oakley, out for my last lap dressed in a light up vest. He absolutely loves to go biking. It is just an awesome race!