Provider: West Virginia Mountain Bike Association

Report From the Revenge of the Rattlesnake(Undisputed Toughest Mountain Bike race in The World)

On course report from the Revenge of the Rattlesnake(Undisputed Toughest Mountain Bike race in The World):

Some times you have that feeling like its not gonna be your best day out there racing. Maybe it was the 40 minutes I had allotted to rebuild my bike into running order, wondering if this mystery shock was gonna hold air, if the front fork would go from oil-blowing to completely blown, if my sole would completely rip off my shoe out there on Lindy someplace, or any other numerous bike/rider issues built up from a long WVMBA season. Then I counted the money in my pocket and it was thirteen dollars - not a good sign.

Shortly after the start the rain went from misty to a steady rain, it was gonna be one of THOSE Rattlesnakes. All the rocks had a slick sheen to them, everything got a little harder to clear. The mud never dries out, especially on the mud flats of Lindy and coming up the backside of Plantation Trail. I call it sucky mud, the kind that tries to suck all your momentum away and pull you into its depths. Its already a grind out there, but when you hit the muddy sections you had to hammer it just to keep moving.

We did a loop down into Canaan Valley State Park on the Allegheny Trail. For the record: TWO-WAY TRAFFIC IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA ON A RACE COURSE AND WE MIGHT EVEN HAVE TO MAKE RULES ABOUT THIS ONE and thats all I'm gonna say about that except for multiple collisions happened, and many more almost happened.

Down in the depths of Canaan Valley State Park I decided to stop and put air in my rear shock. I had a shock pump because I didn't trust my rear shock, it had come from Jonny's scrap pile. It had been out of air since the big drop on Lindy, and I felt like I needed to try to help it out a little, if I added air at least it might get me home. Well as soon as I took the pump off all the air came right back out immediately, leaving a puddle of shock oil in my hand. I got those feelings like I wanted to quit, but really the course was the best way to get back to Davis anyway. So after a sitdown to get my mental game back on, I took off with one thought in mind: to get back to that tasty Sirianni's pizza.

Once I stopped caring about the god-awfullest noises coming out of the rear end of my bike it got easier. I just kept that saggin-wagon pointed straight and hoped that buried down deep in that Fox shock was a rubber bumper of some kind.

I caught multiple rocks and little stumpies with my pedals from the bike riding low, one pitched me over the bars, I almost wrecked on the big drop on Lindy, did wreck several other times, once in front of spectators, blew out my rear shock, felt like I broke my toes at least once, was completely soaked, was borderline hypothermic when stopped, lost my bite valve off my camelback early so had no plain water after that point (early on), had rhododendrons trying to jerk my handlebars out from my hands several times, and multiple other issues. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to give you a glimpse of how tough this race can be. I love it, but its a tough love sometimes.

This is the kind of grueling test that is the Revenge, most bike riders from somewhere else would swear that these aren't even trails. IMBA would swear that they're creek beds, which they are in the rain. Congratulations to everyone tough enough to start and/or finish this one. It was good to see Sue Haywood back WVMBA racin like the old days. Rob Spreung is the undisputed king of this area, its depressing to look at his time. I don't know if Nick or Jeremiah could touch him on this course, maybe next year we'll find out.......(hint, hint Nick and Jeremiah)