Saturday was the annual Wild 100 at Elk River Touring Center. Kim likes the laid-back vibe and gourmet style of Elk River, and has always come along for the fun. I hope she has as much fun as I do there.
The checkpoints were all in mostly familiar places, including the pain-in-the-ass bushwhack/hike-a-bike/shred your skin through the thorns and cowshit to Gay Sharp Knob. This was CP-1 this year, and I had my worst time ever trying to find it. I was following a piece of advice I gathered on the MORE forum, which was "head for the gap between the two knobs". Well, I tried exactly that, but maybe there are more than two knobs in view, and maybe I went up a drainage between the wrong two knobs. It didn't take too long for me to notice on the map that I shouldn't be headed due east at that point, and I doubled back to the barn area to start again. I was kind enough to let Tiffany Kenny and several others who followed me know I was changing my mind and going back down (they were about to keep going up without seeing me turn around). It then, still, took me way too long to get over that knob and onto the forest road. I was much much higher on the road than I needed to be, and wasted a lot of time gaining elevation pushing and dragging my bike, that I didn't need to gain. Tiffany, and many other folks that I'd been far ahead of on the opening climb easily got in and out of CP-1 before I did.
Luckily, that was all the excitement I had for the day, and the rest was pretty uneventful and was spent coming from behind from the mid-20s-30s after CP-1 to top-10 (I think). Buchness made the move of the day being the first to use Gauley Mountain Trail from 3 to 4, passing everyone ahead of him except for Benji. Most people took Tea Creek Mountain to Bannock Shoals. A few took Tea Creek Mountain to Turkey Point and got destroyed by that mile-long steep-ass hike-a-bike direct shot to CP-4. I took Bannock Shoals, even though I briefly considered walking up Turkey Point. Even though Bannock Shoals is a boring 4.5 mile climb, I always seem to fly up it and even recover some on my single-speed. I knew that hike-a-bikes like that one are about 1 MPH, and I figured I could spin up Bannock at around 8 MPH, so I went with my old favorite fireroad climb, and passed three guys going up. I saw Andy coming out of 4 on Boundary Trail, and I decided then to also come back out on Boundary rather than add in any more unnecessary singletrack climbing.
After that, it was off to the road races out to Props Run for CP-5, and then back to the Bear Pen shelter for 6, then home. A highlight was catching up to Jonathon Martin chilling with the guy working CP-6. I chilled for a while as well, then cruised out with Jon, who actually told me to lead as he was scorched from hiking up Turkey Point earlier on. I dropped Jon right away on the first hill out of 6, so I knew he was dying. I figured he'd surely scream by me on the gravel descent to home since he's one of the craziest descenders in West Virginia. But I never saw him until at the kegs, hurtin'.
this biggy thingy.
Bummer to miss that. Next year, either Tomi & Jake need to come back to defend at the Wild, or pick a different weekend for this one. Shantytown was rockin' late into the night...
Pics courtesy of Bike Lane teamie Joe P