Quantico is a mixture of Rosaryville and Schaffer.
Thats what I kept hearing about the race loop at Quantico.
They got me on that one.
I went out Saturday morning to pre ride the race course I'm doing next week.
62 miles and an 80 minutes later I arrive at the base.
I talk a few minutes to 2 sweaty guys at the trailhead.
They're racing next week on a 3 man sport team.
They're resting up before a 2nd loop. They tell me the first loop took them an hour and 40 minutes but they were just taking it easy. Still I think, thats an awful long time for a 10 mile loop.
They give me a few words of wisdom and take off.
At first I think about following right behind them and seeing how I keep up but this is their 2nd loop and I really just want to ride the loop slowly and take as much into memory as possible.
The course starts with some doubletrack for a couple hundred yards before it switches over to single track. I notice right off that it's twisty and the soil reminds me of Cedarville back home. Very loose and sandy.
Although this is suppose to be an exploratory loop I can't help but push harder than I wanted.
In the back of my mind I know I'll be racing here and am curious as to how fast I can go.
A few minutes in I pass the sport guys from the trailhead. I don't know if they were resting or what. They'll come into play again later.
1-1/2 mile in a come to a T junction. There is one of the race markers, a pink square with an arrow on it. I can't tell if its supposed to be pointing left or right. Crap!
I'm no good at this.
I always pick the wrong way.
I go left.
Up and down a few hills and I pass a marker thats facing the wrong direction.
Well, its facing the right way, I'm not.
Sure enough I picked wrong. The course must circle somewhere later on and come back in this direction.
Turn around get back on track.
10 minutes later I come back across my sport buddys granny gearing up a ascent on a fireroad.
I say hi and pass.
3 minutes later I'm thinking, "man this sure stays on the fire road for a long time. Did I miss something?" I stop at the top of a hill and look back for my sport buddies.
Nowhere in sight.
I missed a turn.
Backtrack slowly looking for missed marker.
I find it. This one is on a log on the ground, not hanging off of a tree like all the others.
Now I'm a little ticked at the sport riders.
They had to see me ride past the turn. Could they have yelled something out?
"Hey, big dummy. Turn around".
Back on track.
These freak'n hills are killing me.
They're not that big but I can't seem to get any flow and there aren't any real rest areas.
It seems like your either climbing or descending.
I come across the sport guys......again.
I jokingly tell them how they could have told me about the missed turn and ask if they mind if I just tail them a while. They say sure but 2 minutes later 1 of them gets a serious cramp. Or so he says. I think he just didn't like me following them.
I say seeya and continue on.
I come over the top of one hill and start descending and at the bottom in a fallen tree, thats sitting 3 feet off the ground. The around it is the most elaborate "ramping" I've ever seen.
There another rider walking a way from it.
He's doing what I'm about to do.
Look at the far side before riding.
It looks intimidating, but I watch him go over.
Looks easy. I go for it and it was easy.
Rest of loop go with no hitches. Luckily the last 1-1/2 miles seemed to be a little easier.
I rest up 10 minutes before lap 2.
My sport buddys never show up at the traihead.
I know 1 sport team who's going to get beat by some beginners.