Saved by the rain gods, Stewart somehow did not get as much rain on Saturday night as in most places in New jersey. Needless to say, the course was ripping fast. Congratulations to Laura Winberry, Darlene Phillips and Ben Williams for first place finishes in the expert class.
Team Race Results:
Joe Azze - 14th pro
Art White - 18th pro
Ben Williams - 1st exp40
Darlene Phillips - 1st exp35
Laura Winberry - 1st exp
Tom Stanowski - 4th exp50
Joe Baldacci - 10th exp ss
Jeff Coneys - 19th exp40
Tyler Conlon - 4th sport jr
Matt Watters - 13th sport 19
Kyle Paolucci - 23rd sport 19
Joe Azze's race report and video can be found here: http://mountainpeakfitness.blogspot.com/
Laura's race report:
Stew the Rat
Darkhorse sponsored events would not be the same without Mike, the Hawaiian-shirted man counting down each and every start alongside his stopwatch-sidekick. His presence is peaceful, good-humored, and somewhat iconic in nature; and so, seeing the familiar orange shirt with white Hibiscus pattern flapping in the afternoon’s slight breeze, I felt a sense of familiarity mixed with the usual pre-race stomach rumblings. Soon enough though, the orange and white blur into a peripheral past and dusty legs pedal for first entrance into the prologue, a shaded section of single track that screams momentum. Gripping tires ride the sidewalls of hard-packed berms, while a tunnel-like vision of thick spring brush, root, and branch fold behind one’s push for speed.
Within twenty minutes of leaving Hawaii-Five-O in a wake of stirring dust, Campmor teammate, Dar, and I are elbow to elbow up the gravel climb—both in contention for the cash preem dangling from a lady’s fingers. Pushing two more strokes at the last second I reach over to snatch the Benjamin (it was actually a Jackson, but the former just sounds better), which I instantly feel bad about and so proceed for the entire next lap to inform Dar of how she deserves half of it. At her suggestion, we finally decide to donate it to Art and Ellen White’s shuttle service, in honor of their ever-present generosity.
Dar and I remain in the same flow of twisting, turning, pumping energy for the first lap, until at last I can no longer keep her pace as well as keep the skin-prickle of heat-chills at bay. By this time I have run out of pack water and the bottle is down to half, and so fortunately when Ellen decides to accompany us going into the second lap, I ask her to grab me another bottle for the third—have I ever mentioned how my Campmor family is a blessing in more ways than one?
With my yipping partner having moved into the lead—yes, we were yipping through some of the most enjoyable sections—I continue to push harder than normal gears for myself, while also making certain to stay clear of the onslaught of pros quickly passing and becoming sunbeams and dust around every tunneled corner. After my Lewis Morris single-speed experience, and after watching single-speeder Jocelyn fly up the short steeps during our pre-ride, I had decided going into this race to think like a single-speeder—once again, enter momentum. Weighting and un-weighting when the occasional stone-laden roller appears, I grow closer and closer to the two-wheeled machine temporarily fused to my body by two tiny pieces of metal. She (her name is Sula, which is Norse for “sun”) is now an extension of my body, and I am a continuation of hers.
Entering the last section of chestnut veins serpentining verdant earth, the unevenness of recently cut single track slows down the tempo, yet at the same time invigorates me to push even harder knowing these are the last turns before a gravelly inclined conclusion. With Hotwheels (Dar) finishing about a minute ahead, I am content with my effort and churn the last few pedal strokes past a pair of orange traffic cones signaling the finish. Although Frank (my soon-to-have-one-gear day-glow Klein) is missed, I am thankful to have had the company of Sula, and look forward to the experiences yet to come with her. After cleaning off beneath the saving grace of a portable shower bag, I make my way over to the area where results are posted; finding, of course, the man in the Hawaiian shirt, I shake his hand and thank him for yet another rewarding Darkhorse race.