Sept 13: Peanut Butter Festival MTB

Rain all day Friday and Friday Night was not enough to deter Sam Morrison, Rich Allen, Brian Hopkins and Henry Dimmick from attending Saturday’s New Bethlehem, Peanut Butter Festival Mountain Bike Race. The day started off disappointing for me, Henry, because I forgot my shoes. But things began looking up when I realized I could spend the day behind the camera, then got even better when I realized that since I was not racing, I could have a cold Corona for breakfast! For Sam, disappointment best describes his last visit to the Peanut Butter race… his first ever bicycle race two years ago. On that day, Sam struggled even to finish the course, searching for strength with a 10 minute “cool bath” in one of the creeks. So this year, Sam came looking for REVENGE! Under a slight mist and a light fog, the race began with a mass start road segment out to the trailhead. After all the racers went by, Sam’s dad, Brian's mom and I jumped into a car and headed out to the first spectator location only to find that the lead riders had already passed. Whoa!

From there, we rushed to the next location, a tunnel under a local road at the race’s ½ way point. There, already waiting to direct the riders into the tunnel darkness was a 6-wheel “amphibian” from the New Bethlehem Fire Department. First to emerge from the shadows was a group of three riders …one from Dirty Harry’s, another rider from KHS Bicycles, and Ag3r’s Super Sam!!! At this point, the group of three already had built a 2 minute lead over the 4th and 5th placed riders. The next spectator area was a road crossing at the course’s ¾ distance. We got there just in time to catch the leaders blasting down off the hill and out on to the pavement. Sam was sitting in 2nd place. Back in the “press car” (!) we raced back to the Finish, a high speed drop down through a grassy park, and back out onto the pavement within a ½ mile of the finish. Coming through the grass, Sam put his REVENGE to task, and turned (two year’s of disappointment) into a race WIN! While waiting for the final results to be tabulated, it started raining HARD… and kept raining all the way through the Awards Ceremony. At the ceremonies, Rich Allen was announced to have taken 3rd place in his 50-59 Age Group. As reward, Rich collected a Medal, a Cash Prize, and a jar of Peanut Butter from the local Smucker’s plant! For Sam’s Overall win, he also collected a Medal, a Cash Prize, and Jar of Smucker’s Peanut Butter from the local plant…and also a nice trophy! Meanwhile, Brian and I we were happy just being part of the event, not to mention dry and stylish in our Ag3r kit :) Before leaving town, we all visited the Festival’s food vendors for fresh pizza, steak sandwiches, and chocolate covered frozen strawberries! While revenge was certainly sweet for Sam… the race was cruel to many other riders, each looking for their own personal payback come next year!

No comments: