August 12, 2018 Martinsville, VA 1:30 pm
Rain. It's coming. It's already started. The race is about to. Goggles and tear-offs ruined. Brain shifts gears. Prepare for the wet Hell. Harder now, hurts my eyes. I think the guy waved the green flag. Fuck it, go, go. Start this bitch and take your medicine boy, there's no turning back.
Some shitheel decides he wants to bang bars, bad idea, I'm in no mood for anybody's crap, lean a shoulder into him and he backs down. The weather and the conditions are the enemy now. As well as fatigue. And myself. It's like riding in peanut butter and chocolate pudding, with about as much traction. Actual rivers are running down the hill climbs. I've been here before, two years ago, same location, same conditions. I know what to expect. A part of me wants to cry. This will not be fun. This is not sanity. This is destruction. Physical, spiritual, mental and mechanical. It gets so dark in the woods there is no light at the end of the tunnel, just more darkness and pain. Many will quit, I wish I could. Got to get through to the other side. Don't fall, don't make mistakes. Ha, that's a joke. Hope fades, emotions roller-coaster like the hills of the Blue Ridge range we are racing in.
Nearly three hours later it ends, bike, body and brain nearly dead. 2nd place, best finish of the year, with nothing save a crappy coffee mug trophy to show for it.
But the memory remains...and the darkness.
(Photos courtesy of Mike Jackson, thank you!!!!)