24 Hours of Snowshoe 2003as written/reported by Rob Horn
Well as most of you know I headed off to race the 24 in West By God Virginia in late June of 03’. I kept telling Izak I would write a story about the mayhem for the GORC site and did do so only to erase the damn thing by pure accident while drinking quanities of Oatmeal Stout one night. It is kind of funny that it takes weeks or months to recall the mayhem of this epic event but again for the 6th or 7th year straight I have survived the raging of Snowshoe.
I have been racing with some bro’s from east Tennessee since day one. The team name has changed, members have changed, but the constant has always been that we RODE the damn course from the 24 of Canaan to the 24 of Snowshoe day and night. We always seem to hold a top 30 spot until about 6AM Sunday and then the brew and mayhem take the toll and we drop to somewhere in the top 50. We started off the year by re-naming the team. We honored our first and most awesome team director and partner in crime Skip Cooper. Skip was our only support crew at the first Canaan and has never let up since. We are forever known as Dr Skips Medicine Show. Two new bro’s joined the mayhem and it looked like we had a team that has some major potential. Brian “The Duckman” Archer, My self “The Rockboy”, Michael “Epic Dude” Ritter, and Crankin Brad Reed laid out the cash in January, committed to the rage, and begin to train both legs and alchohol tolerance for June 28-29.
Barb, Boone, and I left on Wed AM before the race for the far east TN metropolis of Johnson City to drop off B and B. Slam some food and brews and load up in buddy Andy’s big ass Chevy Truck for the Thursday AM annual trip to WV. We moved out bright and early to meet the rest of the crew, slam some grease and sweet tea from Pals and off we motored to the WV. Along the way we stopped in at the Greenbrier Inn. Four star resort of Epic stature to have some lunch and culture on Michaels tab (Thank you). We were seated in the far back reaches of the pad, ordered up some grub, ate while surrounded by people that have never even seen the inside of a Walmart (Duckmans qoute). Michael paid the $260 bill for 6 and we walked out searching for a Wendy’s to hold off the starvation knowing that the culture was good for us and the Greenbrier is one bitchin hangout. We hit the grocery in Marlinton and headed off to the house on the hill to begin the mass brew consumption and rippage of the most awesome course.
We unloaded our shit, drank a few to fuel up for the root fest and rolled out to a dry 7.5 mile course shortened from the normal 11.5. Man, that shit was good. Michael and Brad were looking at us like we had been full of shit about the course for the last few years and we just laughed and motored on knowing that their tune would change sometime Sunday AM when they had to find something inside theirselves that they never dreamed was there. We hit the house just as our other team pulled in with about 10 support drunks in toe. Man, I was fired up. Had not seen my mountain bro’s in a while so we opened the Quervo and started in. We woke up Friday AM to a downpour. Did a wet lap and watched Brad and Michaels eyes open wide like what the hell was that, proud that they had rode the shit WELL. We partied on, slammed a huge BBQ, and prepared for the Saturday noon start.
Brad was our lemans runner (man he can haul ass) and he dropped off the first singletrack in about 30th in front of our other teams (Silent Desperation) Belgium Paul R (who also can haul some major ass). Brad came in 4 minutes ahead about 30th and I took the money and brought mayhem to the mountain. Knowing that my old teamate Eddie “The Goat” Miller was chasing my ass blew me up and he did catch me at the Wall climb. He gapped me bad, I was hurting from not enough riding in the spring so I topped out and ripped the 2 mile DH to the finish handing off to Duck 10 seconds behind Eddie. I went back to the house , drank stout, ate, and got ready to bring some more shit down. Brad rolled in from lap 2 in 19th and off I went chasing Eddie. Tried to keep him in sight but just couldn’t bring the Goat down. He knew I was coming so we both turned a screamer.
When the sun went down we were in 12th. I raged the first night lap of 1:04 after drinking a stout (Penn Dark) at the handoff and post lap to insure hydration was high. Then went back to get my ass ready for the real mayhem I was about to bring down. My next lap I went out at just after midnight. It had rained like hell on Brad and we were in 16th. I took off ripping with lights on high knowing I can ride faster in the dark than daylight. I came up on Trek Pro Jeramiah Bishop (The dude from VA that just won the Pan Am games) and passed him in the knarliest shit that Lower Beaver Dam can throw at ya. He started screaming at me to go like a MF’R and when I hit the fire road at the end of Beaver I had dropped him. Shit, and this dude is one tech riding fool but I styled that shit in the dark. Just as I started up the Cub Run Climb JB came by me clicking down gears in his big ring up the steeps like a damn Husky 500. I was in awe as he was screaming at me “Way to ride that shit.” I was stoked and ripped on until I flatted and broke my chain. Still pulled off a decent lap which would have been sub 1 hour at night. Damn, a 1:10.
They woke my ass up at 4 AM and I was off for my fourth at about 4:40. My Camelback bladder blew at the start so I had no water but laid the pipe to it anyway. In the middle of Beaver I blew a buckle off my Sidi, ate shit over the bars, lost my shoe in the mud, finally found it, couldn’t ride the shit, had no duct tape, so I took off the left and ran bare foot for a while in the meanest shit ever. I hit the EMS station and a dude taped my shoe back on and up the cub climb I went. At the steepest pitch the tape gave due to mud and I flipped over back asswards with my shoe still in the pedal. Somebody threw me a ROLL of Ductape and I was off (never saw a human but all the sudden the tape appeared and no one was near me, cool voodoo good karma shit if you ask me). I was pissed off big time cause I knew I was costing us bad. Rode the wall but 10’ and flat ripped the DH passing two of the teams in front of us. Came into the tent, handed off to Duck, grabbed Pauls Penn Dark, Slammed it while kicking, cussin, and ghost riding the Yeti out of the tent to the amazement of the mountain bike gods. Damn, I just lost us 25 minutes and now we are in 22nd. Lucky I passed those last two coming in.
I commenced to eating and drinking in mass quanities. Did a shot of Hose’ and finally took a short nap. I was awakened by a get the hell out of bed. 5 more minutes? Fuck you, get up, you gotta ride in 30 minutes. Lap 5, may be my last, bummer. Filled my jersey pocket with Pasta and away we went to the tent. Forgot to fill my Camelback. Shit. Here comes Brad, 22nd place with 20 & 21 15 minutes ahead. Losing ground, hell no. Bullshit! I knew my Sidi blowing up cost my team a possible podium, We only had one other bad lap so it was time for catchup. I was gonna catch those assholes or blow. I passed the first one on the powerline DH wide damn open with my bro’s screaming to rip it. Note to self: Got way out of shape and the Jedi Yeti found it’s way through the SLOT for a ragin DH. The dude behind me tried to stay with but just could not hang with the Rock,, hell ya, time to roll, #180 can’t be far ahead. I caught him in a major bad shit root fest with water running down it. Passed him on the left sans brakes, blew into the tent and gapped him 2 mins in 1 mile. Hell ya, 20th place. Handed off to Duck and watched him Hop On One Leg to his bike. Paul tells me (Paul and Brad work in the Med field) that they are sure he has broken bones but could not be stopped. I started to ride after him to ride the lap in support and Paul stopped me cold, and said “Man, that’s some shit he has got to do on his own”. I was in awe, especially when he turned a 1:15. Michael went out and had a fun last lap to bring us home in 20th with no chance for 19. The blown Sidi cost us took us from 12 to 20th but I was good with that. Carry duct tape next time.
About 1:30 the pain began to set in, we ate mass quanities, cleaned the house all drove back to TN that same day. I slept 4 of the 5.5 hour drive. Andy says I just kept riding the course over and over in my sleep and fartin like a Bull. We hit Johnson City about 8PM. I ate a ton of pizza and passed out. Barb loaded the truck the next AM, we all met at Cracker Barrel where I commenced to eat an UNCLE HERSHELS plus the rest of Andy’s and Barbs chow. I was killed for a week, fired up big time over our team effort and still in awe of my good bro’s Duckmans effort. Exray’s show he had a 9” vertical crack in his femur. I raise me pint to the man. The X pro motocrosser, badass roadie (we don’t hold it against him anymore since he has become one with the dirt), and hardcore only ride mtn bikes now preferably with one damn gear, friend and teamate of mine.
Good friends, good riding, narly trails, 10,000 of your closest friends to party with, 20 of your some of your BEST friends to raise hell with, and another notch on the bars, and scars on my ass. If ya ain’t done it you better get to it cause it’s the wildest shit you can dream up and it ain’t no dream.
Rockboy out and dreaming of 24 in 04’