Fresh apple donuts: Energy food of champions
Eric was interested in riding in a mountain bike race at Black Moshannon State Park yesterday. The park (in)conveniently is located approximately 15 miles away from his house. Also, whereas his house lies in the bottom of Bald Eagle Valley, Black Mo sits atop the Allegheny Plateau. Eric and I agree that a journey should not be merely a means to an end, but part of the end itself. The plan that shook out was that Eric would ride to the start of the race, race it, and ride home afterwards. I volunteered to be his race manager, escort him to the race, and try to make sure he eats something.
Jeef and I rolled out from his house at 7am. I think that Jeef had volunteered to be cheerleader for Eric... at least that's what I thought when I saw him stuffing some pom-poms, airhorn and a skirt into his panniers. Regardless, we made it to Way Fruit Farm where Jeef acquired some much needed provisions: fresh apple donuts and peaches. The rendezvous with Eric was made in Port Matilda at Lyken's Market, where three dudes in lycra shorts surely made everyone's morning. Then we put on our serious faces and started riding towards the race. We maintained a fairly brisk pace along the flat valley floor, riding about 10 miles effortlessly.
Eric says, "I don't need no stinkin' car."
From the valley floor, there is a sustained climb to the top of the plateau where the park and the race lie. We picked a slow but maintainable 6mph pace to ride the last 4 miles. The best part of the ride was watching cars drive uphill past us with mountain bikes on them. The passengers would look at the three of us with first a look of confusion and then a sense of disbelief when it dawned upon them what we were doing. Arriving at the race, Eric went over to get registered while Jeef and I were volunteered to be course marshals. A course marshal stands at an important turn on the race course to ensure that riders don't get lost.
It was great to watch Eric riding strong through our checkpoint a while later. He was hooting and hollering as he passed. When Jeef and I eventually got back to the end of the race, we found Eric still smiling, but decidedly more tired when we last saw him. About halfway through the race, he ran out of steam from not eating enough. He finished the race and had a ball doing it. And really that's all that matters. I would venture to say that he had more fun and fuller experience than all the folks who drove to the race. But we didn't dwell on this too much. Eric had a 15 mile ride home. Jeef and I had a 25 mile ride home with a wicked ridge in the way... and we were all out of apple donuts.