With that being said; what an event! I’m still riding the high from that race, what a hoot. I’m not really sure where to start on this blog, it’s much more than a race recap that’s for sure. I’m thinking this is going to require a sectioned report across the board; I plan to post and add on so feel free to wait a week for the full spiel or check back daily for updates. If the amount of reading to follow is too much let me summarize everything for you. Awesome people, killer gravel, beer handoffs, steep steep steep climbs, loads of smiles, and another great year in the books.
1. Believe the Hype
2. To the Friends, Old and New
“It’s pretty inspiring that I have that many friends and acquaintances who can and will ride that kind of mank in early February and be excited about it!”
3. UVa Crew
4. What am I even supposed to do here?!?
5. The Chase for the Pink Chapeau (KOM)
So around the 11:00AM start time, Mr. Pantani Ride himself (Dave Tevendale) gathered the group around, a good 75+ strong, and gave some final race “instructions”. Essentially a “we have no liability so don’t die or get lost” speech. A moment of silence for Scud followed by hoots and hollers for Scud and Pantani X was off.
What a sight that was, 75 riders clogging up the road, unbelievably cool. I started about middle of the front half and was still 30 or so people back of the front. I moved back further to drag Will Suhring closer to the front. Can’t really respond to moves from 30 people back; have to be close to the action to have a chance. With some reluctance I dragged him a bit closer to the front before the turn onto Davis shop Rd. I thought everything would open up and I could get him right to the front before guns went off on Wesley Chapel. Well, apparently all the hype got the fireworks started a little early this year. I looked up as I turned onto Davis Shop and people were long gone down the road. At that point Will’s reluctance caused me to say goodbye and hammer up to the front (so much for being a good teammate, sorry Will). I threw down the hammer as harder than I did all race and proved my point. It’s a lot harder to respond to moves from 30 people back. From there on the riding was sporadic, easy then bang attack, easy attack, hard, attack again. This continued till Fox really got moving upward.
We pushed until we got a long look back and saw no one, finally safe. From there we probably didn’t ride quite in the Spirit of Pantani, instead we sat up a little (should I not admit to this?) and chatted about bikes, racing, and the such up Markwood. Once on Allen drive Gordon got the final jump and took it to the line for the win, sending me home with the Pink Chapeau for KOM and Gordon back to Roanoke with another year in the Maillot Pistachio. What a day in the saddle!