10/12/08 St. Clairsville – Powerline Park

Apparently, powerline park is a big off road truck and ATV area. The guys camped there tell me that there really is only the one bike race there per year. It is a huge place. Here is what the race sight looks like from the to of one of the hills on the property.

The morning of the race started as they usually do, but this time it was still in the dark. Winter is coming. Breakfast at 6am is a good time, but at this time of the year when it is still dark out, makes you dread the coming of winter. The 2nd to last GNCC race of the year, also heralds that season change. Ugh

The circus is in town. This is what the morning of a GNCC race looks like. This isn’t the biggest, but pretty close.

In the morning, I did a tour around the pits looking at peoples race rigs and their set ups. It is truly amazing how much money people put into their overall rigs to go to the races. But, the range is out there. Everything from $200,000 toy hauler RV’s and dually diesel pick ups to pull huge trailers to Volkswagen Golf’s pulling a 3 rail trailer and a tent. Here are a few of the more interesting ones.

This is an example of the big rig! But, this one was interesting because it was also pulling that small 1970’s trailer behind it.

Here is one of the huge toy hauler trailers that requires a huge diesel pick up to pull it.

This one is interesting. The box van is actually been converted into a camper instead of transport for the bikes.

These guys were a bit more reasonable. An old RV, pulling a small enclosed trailer. Crappy gas mileage I bet though.

This one is my favorite though. The “Motobus”.

Then there is our little set up. Kind of pales in comparison.

So we finally hit the dry GNCC. In fact, it was beyond dry. Dusty. Let me say that again. Dusty! I was sure there would be a mud hole out there, and I was right. But, I will get to that later.

The kids finally got to race without having to deal with rain or freezing cold or any other really bad condition. I love how some families have turned this into their thing. The kid races, the mom and dad are there the brothers and sisters are there and their friends. It makes the kid feel like an absolute star.

For sure this kid feels like he is David Knight. Dad is filling his bike full of gas. His uncle is giving him fresh goggles…

Look, no mud!

My prediction of no mud for us, was premature. We definitely had mud. The course was 13 miles long. Most of it was the width of a quad, after all they are running 400+ bikes down a trail, and they have to give them space. There was some actual singletrack and of course there were a lot of wide open whooped out areas.

The thing about a GNCC race, is that there are 400 racers. That means that the line that you used the last time around is now completely gone. It makes racing about seeing lines. I have gotten much better at that this year.

There were 2 creeks that you had to ride right down. It was the water was like pudding, brown and flowing. Sort of the consistency of pea soup. The part that was tough is you had no idea of how deep the water was. Sometimes the water was just an inch deep, other times it would be 2 feet deep. Scott tells a story of being completely submerged. I did not have that piece of bad luck, I found my way through pretty well each time.

Both creeks had a really difficult get in. The first one had a super steep little drop, that you had to make 90 degree turn at the bottom. If you did not make the 90 degree turn, you would fall off this ledge into the creek. I saw at least 2 people and their bikes laying in the creek each lap. The 2nd creek also had a steep down hill into the creek, and you had to make a 90 degree turn in the creek once you got down there.

I am having a difficult time starting my bike in gear, so I made a decision to start it in neutral and shift and go. It means that I did not get the greatest start, but I did not have to be off the back from the start.

The start group was pretty big.

The fast parts of a GNCC thing are not my thing, but the technical stuff can really be fun. I loved this course. The creeks, the singletrack, the big up hills and down hills… YES!

Me with my height helper at the start!

You can see what starting in neutral does to your start. You are a bike length behind from the gun.

One of my gas stops. You can see that the mud is not too bad.

You don’t have to be too far south to find a Confederate flag. Even in Ohio, you can find someone sporting the colors.

Next stop Crawfordsville. Looks like I am finally going to get to do that race! Looking forward to it.

Out.

Joe

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