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.

There has always been a fair share of ‘climbers/hard man’ races in Pa.  Stuff like Turkey Hill and Mt. Nebo, and now with the addition of the WV series events, along with Page Valley and the Lost River Classic some true road race challenges are accessible.  It is good to see and I hope folks keep supporting them.

Except for a minor roll-out hitch when the entire pack was stopped for several minutes because someone thought we were going the wrong way (we weren’t!) and the fact that two dudes were off the front who had apparently attacked from the gun on what I thought was the neutral roll out, things proceeded in a mostly standard slightly confusing selective road race fashion.

By the time we hit the second climb, which came pretty quickly after the first descent, the two leaders had been caught and the first selection of about 15 riders had been established.

That didn’t change too much except it thinned as we rolled on.  There was the descent catching on of riders and the inevitable surges on the following climbs.

The eventual winner and obvious man to watch or maybe try to follow was Nick Waite, former Kelly Benefits pro turned courier last year and back to pro this year, riding for Kenda.

He is still young and actually did his bike mess stint as a hiatus of sorts from the rigors of the sport and life on the circuit.  His stories of a Manhattan messenger living in Brooklyn are worth checking out.  All through the eyes of a home grown WV kid.

Most messengers are trying to race and maybe go pro (whatever that means currently), as a goal and a destination point, but Nick did it backwards.  I don’t think there are too many cyclists who have taken that route, but now he is back, looking strong and probably the better for his year on ‘walkabout.’

The group of 15 had whittled down to nine by the midway point.  On the climbs, Waite, Tim Rugg, Harley’s new slayer/rapid growth player on the scene, and one other dude separated from the others.  I was amongst the six chasing, feeling pretty good but not able to go with the leader’s surges.

After we split up I caught a flat and watched them go away as well as seeing a handful of small chase groups come by out of the decimated field.  When I got a wheel change I chased solo in a tailwind section for awhile until I saw a group of ten behind me and waited up.

From there it was a second race of playing catch up.  I was able to make some progress on the climbs and rollers and eventually worked my way back to the tail of what was left ahead and ultimately to the line in a three up for tenth.

The first ‘result’ of the year for my new team CycleLife/Raw Talent Ranch Racing.  All in all decent legs and a good work out.


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