I headed to Morgantown after work Friday night. 72 miles of West Virginia roads were waiting for me the following morning. I wanted to do the HBR just to do it. I knew it would be rough, but I was psyched.
They sure got the “Hilly” part right.
Paved roads, gravel roads, dirt “roads”. They were all brutal… but so great.
The dirt “roads” had a ton of potholes, filled with super stanky water. A lot of people were kind of picking their way around them, which I thought was silly. Blast through ‘em. Sure, there might be rusty car parts, dead babies, and who knows what else hiding within the rotten water, but I didn’t care. I would argue that it doubled the fun factor.
I chose to ride my XXIX with a 36x18 and some 1.95 tires. It looked like a super-hybrid-towpath-slaying-machine, but it served well. I was able to blast down the nasty gravel descents (I scared myself once or twice), and the gearing was manageable on most of the climbs. Most of them.
I felt pretty good for the first fifty miles, but every mile after that I started to feel more and more terrible. I slowed down, dreaming of the end. The last couple miles were the worst. I could barely grind along after a long day, but somehow I managed to crawl to the finish.
Ultimately, I fared well in the end; as in, I didn’t get hurt, I didn’t get any flats, and finished somewhere in the middle of the whole bunch. Fine by me! It felt so good at the end to sit down with a mason jar full of beer, stuffing my mouth with pizza and bacon.
West Virginia whooped me good, but I’ll get my revenge next year.
One last thing: “Hey, nice mustache.” Receiving a compliment like that was great, especially mid-ride. It is a shame I shaved it off shortly after. Come ‘cross season, though, it will be full throttle again.