Lost River Classic Race Course

LOST River Classic race course. Garmin profile.

The next race on  the MABRA calendar is the Lost River Classic on Saturday July 24th.   This will be the second edition and weekend festivities are stacking up for pain, fun, some pleasure, diversion, views, vistas and really whatever you want to make it.   We are fortunate to again have the Guest House providing lodging as well as a cyclist buffet dinner Saturday night, and breakfast and staging for the Sunday, eleven AM group ride.   The Inn at Lost River, which is part of the Lost River General Store is offering some deluxe rooms in their idyllic and relaxing B and B for a generous $80 a night to LRC participants.

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Same Streets

Same streets, different bike, different day.   I’m rolling up 13th between E and F at eight am handling parcel delivery in my role as a DC bike messenger.  Less than 24 hours ago, as a member of the Cycle Life composite squad, I was hitting the same section hard.  A small rise in the quick twisty race course.  A part of the USA  Crit Series.

It’s quiet now.  No crowds and no evidence of the impressively done event.  Just folks getting back into Monday work mode and me wondering if I could have pushed it just a little more yesterday.

The bike I’m on is a dated Cannondale Cad 6.   Retired racer relegated (and reborn) to courier rig.  An old war horse and what I was on the last time I saw regular NRC action circa 2001 era.  Now, that is rare to never.

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Lost River Classic

The second edition of the Lost River Classic is set and ready to convene on July 24th.  A chance to either get redemption or make a new mark on the ten mile, double ridge crossing, high stakes twisting roller coaster of a course.

The festivities will follow a similar path as last year’s event.  The Guest House will again be hosting the cyclists buffet party on Saturday night.  Along with high quality fare and fine beverages the lounge’s flat screens will be tuned to the penultimate stage of the Tour, a 52 kilometer Bordeaux time trial, which, if Contador gets rattled on the stage three cobbles, could turn out to be decisive.

The Guest House will also be offering room discounts for race participants.   Mention the bike race when inquiring. There are other lodging options on the event website.

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Dolly Sods

Dolly Sods has been there a long time.   I’ve seen the pics.   The spooky barren ridge top. Trees bent to the winds current, and rocks making way where the brush can’t get.

After six years in Lost River I should have experienced it by now but hadn’t quite stretched far enough.  The volume of DC car back and forth means when in WV most travel is by bike.  Dolly Sods is just on the perimeter of a big ride.  I have studied the map and come close, brushing up against the edges in Smoke Hole and Cabins.

Until recently I thought only one road went over and going over would mean landing close to Davis 65 miles away.  Some kind of cruel out and back and not a loop.  There is a psychological advantage to a loop.  This is my preference but I was resigned to retracing steps if that is what it took to see what I wanted to see.

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Nature Boy

As a DC Bike Messenger for 19 years running I see a lot of stuff.  I see a lot of strange stuff and some not so strange stuff.   Then there are things that look rote until they appear again and you realize they aren’t.

For instance the person I noticed walking one day.  In a suit.   Tired but somewhat composed.   The next day seen again.   In another part of town.  Same suit.  A little disheveled.  A little less composed.    Still walking, but blending in.  A part of the crowd.

This continues.   Each time more ragged.   More dirty but still a guy in a suit, walking.  I cover a wide area of the city.  So does this person.  I figure I may be the only one who is aware that he is basically on walkabout.  From somewhere, for some reason.  One day he just left something behind and started walking.  My vantage point is invisible but my scan is wide.  Blended in and part of the fabric.  Not stopping too long and not repeating too much.

There is another man who has been in his routine for as long as I have been in mine.  Between 9th Street and 14th Street NW bordered by L to the north and D to the south.   A small region but big enough to get lost in.   Mostly alleys and loading docks. He rarely comes out onto the main drags during business hours.

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More Crooked-Ness

Memory is an approximation colored and reshaped by distance.  It is a recall of details that are themselves just slivers of a wider version.  The whole thing is capped by emotions and projections.  Of the way stuff is and the way we want it to be.  Sometimes we are limited to the laid out boundaries and suggestions while other times we willfully forge our own expanded reality that crystallizes through our persistence.

That’s the kind of mind reel I had pushing the pedals up Crooked Run Road.   To bring it back to point it kicked in because I hadn’t done the east bound approach in a while and as the grade hit 15 plus and the gravel surface played its own samba, what I remembered and what was happening now, intersected in a jumpy way.  Some was accurate recall while other aspects were based more on an overall triumph rather than the multitude of specific pieces needed to achieve it.  All-in-all similar but different.  A process of attempting to sync up while also trying to read the changes.  You know, I remember this being hard but was it this hard or do I just need to buck up.

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Getting Crooked

Following a strange edition of  the Poolesville Road Race,  I set out to find some roads and chart some hills.

The event itself was great.  The area, the weather, the organization, the action and the competition.  Dudes throwing down and generally handling the dirt well.  NCVC had things on point – props to them.

Unfortunately there was some confusion and miscommunication (or no communication) in the 1/2/3 field between the officials and the riders.   The officials have the safety of the riders as a priority:  a tough job to manage and wrangle the group.

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Panhandle Pedalers

The Panhandle Pedalers, a touring bike club from Charlestown WV, took a turn on the mountain this weekend for some hills (and stops) Lost River style.

They are the first West Virginia group to come through (which had me on my toes).  There was also an added surprise bonus in that they brought a true Lost River native with them; Scott Bean, who was raised in the Mathias area and whose lineage traces back to the Bean Settlement just beyond Baker.

He grew up on these roads and has a wealth of history and stories.  Turns out his family are Beans and Funkhausers, which means he is on a long strand connecting back to the barn which was built by Grover Funkhauser in 1930 and was originally a cattle operation.

His family had the Lost River General Store in the early 1900’s.  At that time it was the only place for goods and supplies in the area, which was and still is primarily farming.   The town of Mathias was accented by a tannery operation near where the Summit Bank now is, and Route 259 connecting those places was of course an old dirt road.

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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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