Monday, April 4, 2011

Race Report: Snow and Dancing Shoes.

The Morgantown Road Race was Saturday and it was amazing enough that the race even happened. I rode up with Russ Langley (seen below with his Retro Harley Flames Jersey and Dirt Bike Moto-Cross Fender). Russ looked like the Christmas present that you had to use all the remaining bits of multiple giftwrap rolls to keep from having to buy another roll. His wheels didn't even match! Russell the Hodgepodge Muscle.

We wouldn't have made it without the Element (Thanks Tom Buzas - Battley Harley Davidson). We went through a mountain pass near the MD/WV border and entered a blizzard with the all-wheel drive box car, taking on limited visibility, an ice skating rink, and inches of accumulating snow. We overtook cars laid victim in the ditches, semi-trucks that couldn't get enough traction on the uphill spinning there wheels frivolously, and a marr of accidents that the conditions had pressed it's will upon. We held hope that on the other side of the pass the skies would open up and we'd be racing.

I placed my trainer underneath the hatch of the Element to hide from the rain that waited for us at the course and started warming up when the snow started coming down. I kept warming up, today was the last chance to get a tune-up before the much anticipated Battenkill race next weekend in Cambridge, NY.

The officials and the ABRA held out hope while half the race entrants huddled into the Mason Dixon Park lodge for a thirty minute delay because it looked like this:

The snow did cease and the ensueing rain melted it quickly. Shortly after we were set free to race our bikes!

Russ was an animal for the first 30 miles until he flatted out. Up until then we had a perfect double-threat going. He would attack anytime the field would start to get content on the flats and downhills and I would attack the climbs, bridging up to Russ, and forcing the remainder of the field to chase.

Once Russ was gone we were down to eight riders. Three from GPOA (Formerly known as Indiana Regional Medical), Adam Farabaugh, and riders from Freddie Fu, Richmond Velo Sport, and CAT racing. NCVC and DC Velo were left out so we were all content enough to ride in a smooth paceline for the next ten miles. Well, I wasn't. I tried attacking a couple of short risers to pull out Adam and one of the GPOA guys hoping to better my odds, but noone was having that.

It was my last opportunity to make something happen with the final climb ten miles from the finish. I nailed it from the bottom to the top, going hard enough to encourage two riders, Freddi Fu and Richmond Velo Sport riders, to come with me up and over as the remaining riders had to set their own pace. The two riders who came with me were on board to establish our gap and despite a valiant chase from behind we eventually saw the fast approaching chase lose reach.

Due to some pre-race reconnaisance during our thirty minute delay, I was able to ride the course in reverse to pick out some good attack points during the last 3 miles of the race if it came down to a small group to avoid a sprint finish. This made the difference for me.

At 2.5 miles to go I saw my first marker, the Welcome to West Virgina sign. And as I left Pennsylvania I ramped the pace up a short hill as soon as the Freddie Fu rider came off the front and it was enough to keep him on the small step of the podium. Him and his team put in a great ride and I look forward to racing them again.

I had two spots left to attack and the Richmond Velo Sport rider, Stephen Mull, didn't look to be fading. He was a much bigger guy then me, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take him at the line. At the "1 mile" sign I set a high pace up a short hill to see if he could handle the pace. He could. I elbowed him through at the crest, but he remarked, "I can't go any harder". I didn't know if I had just got him to admit he didn't have it or if he was playing games with me to ride my wheel to the finish, just to jump me at the line.

Last chance. Approximately a kilometer to the line and one last double kicker hill. I had slowed up after my previous move to get him to make one more pull. As soon as he came off I sprinted up my last chance to finally see him open up a gap. I came over the top, put my head down, and mashed my way through the last 500 meters, not letting up until 100 meters to go where I got to put both hands in the air for my first race of the season.

Photo Credit: Fred Jordan

And completely unrelated to the race...

I've signed up for a free introductory class for Ballet and another for Tap Dancing later this month.

I can relate it to cycling.

Ballet will help with core muscles and balance. Tap Dancing is just intriguing thanks to exposure to Fred Astaire and feeling like I might have the same qualities evaluated of Astaire's first screen test: "Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." And of course I might be taking the metaphor, "He is dancing on the pedals" a bit literally.

This could all go by the wayside due to some other upcoming developments... but I'm letting the idea dance in my head for a bit.


  1. Nice work, man. After all the fake celebrating we've done, nice to see a real one.

    Snowstorm + Rugg + no freak bear attacks = win.

  2. Congrads Rugger!!! Awesome race report.

    Bet you didn't know I'm a huge ballet fan.

  3. Kevin: I need more fake celebration practice, I blew it.

    Ray: I did not. We should go to the Kennedy Center sometime for a performance. I was spoiled last year seeing the Mariinsky Ballet there.

  4. Nice job ruggles! Like your cross-training approach too - soon you'll be "tap-dancing on the pedals"