For Those Who Rode Coopers Rock, We Salute You
Coops is some rocky riding on the downhills, but especially on the uphills too. Exposed babyhead rocks (usually slick) made it tough to keep a rhythm up the climbs. You have to work for it! I kept hearing best course ever from a lot of folks, Gunnar, Betsy and Chris worked hard to give you the most fun they could while also delivering a kick to the seat of your pants just to keep you on your toes.
The new venue was great! Tradition is all well and good, but change is needed sometimes. We went from a wide spot in the road to a nice pavilion on the way to Rock City. The home-cooked meal added to the WVMBA picnic atmosphere, we just need to teach Gunnar a few tricks with that spatula and he'll be giving those Hibachi guys a run for their money. Homegrown squash and zucchini were fried and mixed in with the sauce, and all the meat came from a local farm.
I was running tired from all the race prep and cutting trees out of the trail and of course work. We were out till late Tues and Wed cutting the trail (usually in the rain) and it wore me out. We were all the way down in Mont Chateau at the bottom of Ridge Trail and I talked Gunnar into helping me clear the best DH in our area: Rock City to Ridge to Mont Chateau down to the lake(Lick Run at Quebec is sweet too). This is a screamer that drops a total of 1200' at least. A sheer cliff off to the right goes down to a series of waterfalls that drops all the way down to the swimming hole at the bottom. Once you're at the bottom you have to figure out how to get back up, but thats a whole other story...
The course saw a dry day before the race and Sunday was great weather so it was at least drying. We've gotten used to a lot of mud and slick this year, but that doesn't mean we don't like it dry and fast. You have to use a little more damage control when a greasy root or rock might skitter you sideways off the trail at any given moment. Rail road Grade and Scotts Run rock garden climbs were tough hauls, and the climb back up from the furnace the final time checked your legs to see if they really were going to lock up or not.
You have to remember what I keep telling myself at work "If it was easy, anybody could do it." If it wasn't challenging would it really be any fun? Isn't that why we come back time after time is to try to conquer the challenge? I love hard courses like this that make it you against the course, more than you against the other competitors.