Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Darkhorse 40- Don't Miss It!

Before the cobwebs set into my brain, I want to give a shout out to the guys at Darkhorse Cycles for such an amazing and truly fun event at the Darkhorse 40. Thankfully, this race was so incredible that it made up for all of my follies on the bike. Here is a run down of just how bad my day went, then I'll move onto more exciting stuff, like how cool this race was.

  • It all started as I loaded up my bike to head to the race. Front flat. Perfect start to race day.
  • Grabbed a tube and realized that it was my LAST tube. No back up. Doh!
  • Forgot to check the tire for the issue and had to re-do everything once we got to the race.
  • Rode my bike to pick up my registration packet and I crashed on the road when my pants got stuck in the chain ring.
  • Humbly begged the race director for a back up tube...he was kind enough to let me have his personal one that had been taped up and tucked away for well over a year. "No promises" he said.
  • Race started and not even 20 feet into the single track I realized all of my chain tension is gone. Stopped, unloaded my pack and tools to re-adjust the eccentric hub as I cursed everyone passing me by. Loaded back up and I was on my way.
  • Trying to make up time, I tried to make a pass in a nice grassy spot only to find out that evil things lurked underneath and I was promptly thrown off my bike....into poison ivy that still persists today.
  • Next up...rear flat. Pulled the thorn out and prayed the borrowed tube would work as I tried to free it from the bonds of the cemented tape while sweat poured into my eyes and the mosquitoes had an early Thanksgiving Day feast on me. Fixed. Packed up and pushed off...again.
  • Oops...not so fast, I forgot to put the chain back onto the freewheel before I tensioned it. DUH!! Cursed a lot, unloaded the pack and tools again. Done.
  • Finished the race sans trademark smile...more like a scowl on my face. (Just under 5 hours, 4th place out of 6)
  • Noticed that my rear tire was flat...again.

    Probability and statistics had to catch up with me some day. I have never had a flat or a mechanical in a race. I haven't even had a flat on the trail period! It was just my time. I just hope that this put enough in the bank so that I can have an issue free race for Shenandoah. Now on to the good stuff and why you should clear your calendar for this race next year and every year after. First, the course is an absolute blast. 40 miles of flowy awesomeness with a few punchy climbs interspersed. There are even aid stations like the "Sirens of Stewart" where attractive women in togas pass out free PBR's to the racers. Anyone who partakes also gets "leied" from the ladies and a free "Less EPO, More IPA" sticker at the awards ceremony. Believe me, those leis were badges of honor!! The BBQ after the race is loaded...BBQ or herb chicken (literally half of a chicken), pasta salad, watermelon, cucumber salad, brownies, Popsicles, and most importantly of all....FREE BEER. Need more reasons to sign yourself up?? The prizes run deep! While enjoying the BBQ festivities I found out that I had earned $50 cold, hard cash and a beer glass for all of my troubles!! Here is a picture of the loot we came home with.


  1. "finished without my trademark smile" I call BS on that! If it's true though I'm off to look for the other signs of the apocalypse.

  2. Sounds like a great race - I'll keep it on the radar for next year and keep the 34X17 ready. Now, you and Rob need to look at QR rear wheel SS systems PRONTO! I cannot imagine racing with the risk of a rear wheel / tire issue that requires (gasp!) a wrench!

    Awesome report, and I too am shocked to hear you finished sans the trademark thousand-watt smile. I guess when it rains, it indeed pours!

  3. I would have posted the finish line pic as proof, but honestly the scowl was soo obnoxious I just couldn't do it. I'll have to work on a fake smile for the times that things go awry.