Hinkle Mountain

The search for new roads.  The quest for hidden truths.   The exploration of space.  Looking for the biggest wave or the most challenging rock.   Delving deep into the cave.  Wanting to always know what’s around the next corner and what’s up and over the impending ridge.  All of the above and more, depending on what form your thirst takes, but for the inquisitive cyclist traveling a new lane is a call and a lure.

Pedaling the roads of Hardy and Grant County for over six years has been an adventure but as my reach grows my options, while being satisfied, inevitably shrink.  At the same time, as I expand my radius I look harder for stretches that may have initially been discarded as impassable, or overlooked entirely, as unmarked paths most likely leading to long forgotten homesteads.

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Dolan

Dolan, here it comes.  One of the perennials.  Office park crits.  The ones people like to knock.  I dig em.

Fast, plenty of parking, long clean lines.  A circuit to repeat and fine tune.  Boring for some while subtly tactical for others.  Over over and around.  A hypnotic trance for a heart beat score.

No one’s keeping records but these things keep getting faster.  The level of play is high even on the regional scene.  That is reflected by the varied amount of U.S. Pros staking results in all kinds of European races. The fast filters down.

The Carl Dolan Memorial Sring Classic put on festively by DC Velo was rapid.  The big local squads came out swinging.  Kelly, Harley, DC Velo, Haymarket and NCVC, all fielding large rosters.

CycleLife/Raw Talent Ranch Racing had a swing shift crew of three with Russ Langley going deep early. Either testing the field-testing his legs, airing things out or just having fun. The result was forging a move that quickly grew large as teams sent guys across, patrolling the front, shutting doors and opening gaps to determine the combination.

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Steel City

The women from the Steel City Endurance Racing Team made the trek down to RTR for a long weekend of cycling  majesty.

The pace was steady yet relaxed and as they articulated on their site ‘riding not racing.’ For me a nice and timely distinction.  I like both.  Equally.

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Tysons/Raw Talent Racing

It could be said Tysons goes by script.  Based on the last four or five years it ends the same, together.  All the jockeying, posturing, surging, blocking and chasing lead to the field sprint.

Someone who chooses to save energy, sit on the back of the snake and jump around cooked riders is rewarded with, theoretically, fresh legs to jack up the finish line hill.

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Team Snapple /Tris at Barn

The DC based national level Tri-athlete squad Team Snapple brought their full athletic agenda to the barn this weekend.

For me it was an opportunity to get a glimpse and greater understanding of a discipline I have not competed in.  Being unable to run due to intricate leg hardware and already knowing of my water shortcomings after a youth spent at the beach but not necessarily in the water, with later attempts to pool cross-train in the winter (I had to use flippers to even get a work out!) my temptation to join in is low.

Maybe that makes my appreciation greater.  Coming from different places and varied styles, but sharing certain application, execution and focus components means there is familiar ground even if the degrees don’t overlap completely.

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Rolling

A wind down day in the hills.  This would be Sunday after the Morgantown Road Race.  A chance to stretch the legs, connect some roads and air out prior to  four days of barn carpentry (popping in windows/working with the pine) and grounds crew (lawn and mulch ) before camp rides Friday/Saturday, and the  Tysons  race Sunday.   This is what my program called for and I do what the eye in the sky says.

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Morgantown Race

Sunday was my first race of the season.  For me, a ‘local’ race that was actually a road trip. A WV series event taking place just across the border in Mount Morris, PA.

My car ride up took three and a half hours.   All 168 miles of it after the twisty and continuous ridge crossings on route 50 had been navigated.  I had wanted to photo doc some of the meanderings and there were no shortage of spicy targets, but getting to the start line took precedence.  Travel time coming back on interstate 68 was smoother, quicker and less concentrated (visually that is, meaning more time for vista scoping).

This second year race had a big turnout.  There were maybe close to 60 at the start line for the 1/2/3 race.  MABRA riders had made the trek out including Harley, Kelly Benefits, DC Velo, and NCVC in their stylishly updated traditional kit.

The race was hard.  Four full sized climbs.  Props to the ABRA who also put on Tucker County among other events.

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RTR Recon Ride

….Or I get lost in the woods so you don’t have to (unless you want that)

After a medium to hard ride with the Bike Rack guys yesterday I had a free day and a chance to explore some new roads.   Situated conveniently to the around-the-mountain loop (and over twice) this area could maybe be an extension section.

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