If you have ever been to Snowshoe WV and thought it was muddy, then imagine it even muddier. Yes, I have been to every National at Snowshoe and this year was mud-toughest. It rained for most of the marathon on Thursday and then the mud tacked up just enough to be like peanut butter for the XC events. Deeper, tackier mud that could pick up moss, ferns, sticks and even rocks 4 inches in diameter. That stuff could really lock your tires up!
After my pre ride, I switched to my old faithful narrow Hutchinson Mosquitoes and they worked great on race day. There was a very light turn out for the XC events and with the history of mud on this course, I can sort of understand why. Being that there are few Nationals on the east coast, I always eagerly attend. I also find this race to be a superb test of one’s perseverance and I have made it a tradition to use it as a disciplined part of my mental training each year.
I can’t say that the race was too much different than other years. The XC trails there, do not seem to be well designed or maintained considering the climate, and you end up being off your bike for way too much of the course. But then, there is something to be said about mental toughness. The kind that keeps you going and makes you ride harder when you do get back on your bike, and that is what I strive for each year at this event.
I really feel for the less experienced riders that may get discouraged and that is why my husband, Art started his drumming tradition on the climb at this race back in 2001. He wanted to help keep the spirits up of all the beginner and sport racers that cheered for us earlier that day. He used pots and pans that year, but since then, real drums have been found, borrowed and purchased. This year he was there in banging force. With his recently broken hip, he strapped all the drums and his cane (equipped with Oury grip handle) onto a BOB trailer and rode to the hill. His weak leg could barely get him back up the hill when he was done. He rode right through the finish line for some well-deserved acknowledgement. It was sort of nice to know that he got to ride through the finish line, even if he wasn’t able to race. I wish I was there to see it.