Valley Falls Challenge Lives Up to The Challenge In Its Name
The rain held off long enough for a good race on Sunday. It was muddy and a little slick, but we've gotten used to that this year. Dry courses? Forget about it till next year I say. This course will test your legs on the uphill and your technical skills on the downhill as any good course should.
Jason Martin works hard to put on a quality event here and at White Oak. If you want to know how to put on a good mountain bike race, just take notes at one of his races. The kids have a blast on their mountain bikes, getting a taste of some real woods riding to get them interested in the sport. Nobody likes riding through grass! These guys and gals are racers, and need to be given some action so they will love coming to races. I swear my kids are more excited about going to the race than I am sometimes. Sammy swears he's going to race the Big Bear Ultra next year. When Owen reminded him that it was 50 miles, he said "I don't care" I slapped him a high five and congratulated him on his stubbornness.
No World Cuppers here to take the glory away from the local boys. Steve Rowand proved that he's one the fastest this year, holding off fast guy Todd Latocha and upstart Van "Diesel" Morales. I wonder who would win in a showdown now between Steve and his brother Jeremy, who moved out west after winning the series a few years back? We need to get him back for a showdown and maybe WVMBA could take bets.
I had to go talking about Jeremiah's amazing ability to fix a flat and come past you flying again, and I jinxed myself into getting a flat coming into the finish. Now I had to test my own ability to GIT-R-DONE. I should have just followed Mike Cordaro instead of trying to showboat and pass him in the rock jump. Luckily the floor pump was close and I got the bike rolling again and out on course before too many people went rolling by.
It was a tough course, reminiscent of the old school course of '98, '99. I forgot how steep some of the roll-ups are on that trail, we've been coming down it for so long now. We got to come down the hike-a-bike from last year, and that was a relief, and Red Fox downhill is always a treat.
What was especially sweet was the new trail that cut out the lame gravel road section. Now I know the new trail was soft, and some of you with roadie tendencies loved that little road section as a recovery section and a place to put some time on folks like me, but that new stuff was great! A little climby at first to get the elevation up, but once you hit a certain point it started to roll. Around, through the ravine, Jason and company proved they know about using contours to make a flowy trail. One section I called the "Pickaxe Trail" because no machines had cut that sweet benchcut in there, this was work that would make CCC crews of the 1930's be proud, and work you cannot pay people to do anymore, you have to really love biking to be out on the trail chain-gang.
The Allied Brothers played some tunes while racers waited on the race to finish up and the awards ceremony to start. All you can eat pizza got everyone topped off on some much needed carbs.
It was a tough race for everybody, but isn't that what we're looking for, a good challenge? If it was too easy it wouldn't be mountain biking. This is the real deal folks, thats why they make full-suspensions and four piston brakes and burly forks, so you can rock that stuff! Throw the lightweight components away and get your bike set up tough for the Fat Tire 50 and Revenge of the Rattlesnake (and Coopers has been known to break some stuff) and I'll see you there!