Monday, December 22, 2014

But, How did you feel?

  The Invitational is an annual event in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  This description is taken off the SVBC(Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition) website, right under the disclaimer that the club no longer provides insurance for or is affiliated with  this event. " A Harrisonburg tradition since 1995. The Friday Six Pack Downhills are a very fun, informal group ride in the mountains west of Harrisonburg. Each week in the fall is a new trail somewhere in the George Washington National Forest.  The Ride consists of a casual leisurely pace to climb up the mountain and then a very informal “race” back down the mountain. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate especially if you have never ridden in the mountains around town.
Each year the series culminates with an “Invitational” downhill, the Universal Fixed Gear World Championships, and an enormous party.  All those with one 6-pack and two trail works are invited!"
If you win one week, the next week you get the pleasure of riding the "Soft Ride"
Here's another blurb about it:

 This year, there were two timed Super D/Downhill sections and in my mind that makes it an Enduro. There was a timing snafu. The timers, who held stopwatches,  did not allow for all the ghost riders.  For some reason, they couldn't figure that out after a couple hours of Enron math working on it. Someone starts asking people, "How did you feel?" This also could substitute for a personality trait test.  Some of the guys were modest like Abe and said that they had a pretty good run.  But then some guys were cocky, like Oliver,  who said that there was no way anyone could of beat him on the second section.  He was completely sure that he not only felt fast, but was fast and therefore was the winner as long as his crash on the first section didn't effect his time too much.  Others knew the exact moment that they would have to settle for not getting the win.  Others had no idea how they felt, just that they had fun. The ladies were all smiling of course.

Old school: Stopwatch, Pen and Paper
I felt pretty and fast 

Now, in some crowds, that shit wouldn't fly. I'm imaging the Cupcake community of Michauxslovakia or the BroBro Community of SoCal wouldn't be too happy about those snafus. But things are different in Harrisonburg. The purpose of the Invitational is for people to come together to ride and have fun.  They simultaneously play up and play down the competition aspect of the race.  Like, names are picked out of the hat for starting positions, so in theory the fastest guy could start in the middle of the slowest people, which can be a real disadvantage. And peer pressure dictates that you are polite when you pass in the Burg.   But, if you win, you are local legend forever and then you are allowed to acknowledge the fact that you were indeed racing for the win.   But, if you didn't win, in no way can you express your disappointment. You are crazy fast to win one of these things and everyone knows that!  With so much respect on the line, its really fascinating to see people's mellow reaction to questionable race run times.  It doesn't matter anyway, I heard lots of people saying.  Its about coming together with your friends.

I won, but Lizzy is the fun, fast future of this event

Even though it was supposedly a tie, Oliver felt so fast, that he decided he should take home the trophy

 Enduro is the new race of truth, because the clock doesn't lie even if it does take hours to calculate that truth.  Sometimes it's just more important in America about how you felt, your feelings!  If you felt fast and the timing got messed up, you are probably the winner and that's just another reason to love Enduro!

Hugh Jass lives in Harrisonburg