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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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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Philly on the Mountain

The timing was good.  While MABRA was running the Jefferson Cup the PA calendar was quiet and the boys had Battenkill on their minds.  Dirt was specified and I knew where to find it.

Day one was a teaser but no joke.  A late afternoon arrival gave them enough time to do an around the mountain loop with two big climbs including the steep hard pack ascent back to the barn.

I skipped this one.   I had lumber to haul, gravel to shovel and wood to chop.  For real. Not just some macho move even though it is, but these things had to happen.  A stack of fresh live random width rough cut pine had been dropped in front of the barn that morning.  3000 board feet soon to be walls and floors in the upper section.

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Harley at RTR

Battley Harley, number one U.S. Amateur squad in ’08 and perennial East Coast power house showed up on the mountain in Lost River for their annual training camp and tune up before the MABRA calendar kicks off next week.

It is maybe not a surprise that they go deep.  Who is on form, who is not, and who is new will be revealed soon enough.  How the latest line up gels will be tested when the numbers are pinned on and the kilometers wind down.

Clear for now is that lots of Hardy County (as well as Grant, Pendleton and Mineral Counties) was covered in four days.

NUMBERS: 291 miles

29,181 feet elevation gain


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Rain Daze

They roll.  Geared up and feigning resilience.  Ten strong.  No one wants to be the guy who cracks.   Forty five degrees, windy and raining for starters; the radar says no relief.  A big sprawling nor’easter pattern.  The same type that delivered us TWO blizzards this winter (and don’t forget about the DEEP FREEZE that preceded it!)

Off the mountain, through the switchbacks, downward for maximum chill a damp twisting snake of riders, trying to get one in.  The season is here.  Races have already happened and others are filling up.  It’s bite the bullet time.  Group consolidation.  Got to get it on.  If you go I go.

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Backside Barn Descent Video

Thanks to Brian Vaughan from Haymarket HomeVisit for shooting this footage. This is two miles from the barn heading west. It is a six mile drop — 2000 vertical feet — to the South Fork valley.

Descent From Lost River Barn – HD With Music from Bryan Vaughan on Vimeo.

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