Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Even The Snake Fears The Storm (Rattlesnake Part II)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The rain continues all night and into the morning.  Hard.  I wake and find my nice hard-packed parking area at the bottom of the hill has turned into a muddy morass.  My two-wheel drive van with skinny street tires will be forever stuck if I don't move quickly.  I forage for sticks and branches to shove under the wheels and make a semi-dramatic mudslinging escape 150 feet up the hill.  Now I have to drag all my crap up there as well.  In the still pouring rain.  Ah, the joys of racing.  In a gesture of welcome goodwill, one of the VCHSS officials notices my plight and offers to back his pick-up down into the quicksand so I don't have to carry everything up the hill.  There are plenty of good people left out there, and lots of them ride dirtbikes.

The Saturday pre-run has been cancelled due to the weather.  Races go on rain or shine, but organizers feel there is no need to destroy a course for a practice session, makes perfect sense.  That leaves me lots of spare time, as the race is not until Sunday.  I opt to walk some of the 9 mile course.

The start is in the infield of the 1/2 mile dirt track of Wythe Raceway, and leads into a mulched section full of switchbacks and turns that finally dumps you out onto the sprint car oval.  This will be a sixth gear wide open affair, then foot down into the banked turn, still hard on the gas if your balls are big enough.  From there into the woods and "grass track" section, which is wide, muddy and has plenty of jumps, then comes the woods section, lots of hill climbs, mud, creek crossings and rocks.  Fields and grassy hills as well.  This course has everything.  And it's all crazy fast.  I head back to the pits thinking that this is going to be one hell of a race.

In a funny/scary/ridiculous aside, about 4 PM went to walk more of the course.  The rain stopped but it turned cold and windy.  Figuring not to be gone long, I did not take my cell phone, a jacket or any water.  45 minutes later I was hopelessly lost, with the sun going down, stuck on a muddy uphill that was nearly impossible to climb on foot.  How can you be lost you ask?  The course is clearly marked dummy!  True, the problem with following the arrows was that I had no idea how far was left to walk until the end and it was getting dark and colder rapidly.  I cut off through uncharted woods and began going around in circles.  I could hear no sounds of humanity.  A twinge of panic ran through me.  After wasting plenty of energy scrambling up and down these slick hills already, a sick fear grew inside that I might spend the night in the woods.  Or die of exposure and become some dipshit of a statistic.  "Virginia Man Dies 50 Feet From Safety" or something similar would read the headline.  Finally, as the last light of day faded I found a gravel road.  And a really creepy abandoned church complete with even creepier cemetery.  Needless to say I hoofed it as fast as my raw feet would carry me and made it back to the track.  Lesson learned.  


Wythe Raceway.  Note the painted white lines that demarcate the start area.  The yellow painted tires mark the infield course.

Obstacle section and jump before timing and scoring booth.

There is nothing like the beauty of nature to fill one's soul

Home on the range?

Mr. Grouch's country home.

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