June 24/01 4:06 am - The Shep Report from West Virginia
Posted by Editoress on 06/24/01
The Shep ReportTo the Theme from Deliverence..........
It all started sitting in yet another rental car line. Passenger dumbass swore he made a reservation for some obscure car yet somehow his name wasn't coming up in the computer. A fifteen minute argument ensued but he let it go as the line stared him down like he was the last meal on the Serengetti. Next up ahead of me was passenger "?". We will call him/her Pat. Now Pat wanted a vehicle but there was no reservation in her name......because her company booked it under her old name which was a man's! No joke (not like this a joking matter). Big ass cat-fight had everyone looking around the airport and I had centre stage. The agent asked for ID but Pat only had her credit card changed to her new name while her driver's licence was still a man's. Ha. Agent finally buckled and we both got to witness and now live with this moment forever. What a way to start the six hour drive to West Virginia for the second round of the NORBA series.
The buff course was perfect the day before the race but overnight the rain started. Then, with an hour to go, a good half inch was dumped on us and the start was delayed. Same roots, rocks and gnarl as the 24 hour race but starting with a slight rolling section then downhill to the bottom. Yep downhill. Sheer hell as elbows flew, fighting for position on the first corner. Those first couple minutes we slogged through six inches of water and probably drank a fair bit too as the spray came up from the rider in front of you. Rider's jockeyed for position not wanting to be caught behind any slag on the descent. This was my thought and I descended well but ended up being "that guy who held me up" on all the runs. Nothing worse than being someone's Achilles heal.
Pack balled up at the first single track and off the bikes the boys did climb and onto their feet for what would turn out to be yet another cross-country run. Out front the pace was being pushed by Rowney with Roland , Ryder, Pavel and company. Shamoe in tow for most of the laps. I lurked in the late teens and drove at a moderate pace trying to bide my time in hopes of the legs going crazy on the last lap. Legs were climbing well, single tracking OK but hell I run about as efficiently as a pissed up local chasing a goat with Velcro gloves. Hit second lap at tail end of group that was 6th to 13th rode the descent well then once again squashed myself running. When this starts to happen, rider's often pick themselves apart saying they can't do it and suck. The demons in my brain battled on lap 3 as a couple of crashes mixed with the lads passing me on the runs. Kept in it as the Koerber clan had come down to cheer both Willow and I on.....In the rain they were still out there even after all of them had kicked ass in their respective races! Frick! Meanwhile upfront was being driven still by Roland with Rowney chasing hard. Ryder battled with his team-mate, Shamoe, newcomer Chad could downhill for Miles (craziest single tracker on the face of the planet), and Kabush. Front two were off and running but these three were pretty close. Gaps opened up on the final lap with Pavel fading to tenth, Shamoe missing the pode by a spot, Dry Ryder 3rd, Miles then Kabush. Dre worked up all day and ended up 8th while cyclo cross star Gully had top US spot in 9th (admitted that "I don't think those running sections really hurt me"). I climbed well and caught one of the guys who ran by me fifteen minutes earlier and ended up 16th. Not happy.
Short track Saturday resembled midget car racing as the course was super short but spectacular to both race and watch. From the side hill spectators could watch the whole course as rider's pulled, battled and fought for position. The course had a slight paved climb, two loose gravel corners, one wet muddy corner and a couple water bars as well. From the gun Roland attacked, with all the usual guys in tow. After racing the Big Bear short track like a retard I sat in a comfortable spot with the leaders but this time didn't go to the front straight away. Ryder blasted off a few laps into it but was reeled back as his chain jumped ship. He would come back after that mishap and a few others to claim 7th. Shamoe sat in the fourth position for much of the early battle keeping a watch but due to the speed not many could come around as the field was single file. At the eight minute mark the second casualty hit......me unfortunately. Took a risk running low pressure with latex tubes and skinny tires. Flatted out. Yeah I was stoked especially considering it was my call on tire pressure and I failed to bunny hop one of the water bars with the right timing. A few laps later Shamoe went out with the same problem. I guess something had it out for us. Rowney attacked near this time and completely blew the pack apart. Lurked ten seconds up till Rollie chased, worked with then dropped the crocodile hunter with two laps to go. Rowney then outsprinted Pavel, and Pizza Hut for second. Kabush fifth?? Snarl Swenson 6th, Dre 9th? Forgive and forget left Virginia fast got a ticket and now I'm off to Park City for some Steve Larson style "angry racing". Wish me luck!