Fire on the Mountain
Ansted, West Virginia
Bridge Day is an annual event in mid October held in Fayettville, West Virginia.
Half of the New River Gorge Bridge
The course is about a mile long but is only 12 feet wide, a single lane, barely enough room for four riders. The top three quarters of the course is very twisty, with no straights, and fifty foot cliffs. The course drains out onto a straight that drops fairly fast. The straight starts ABOVE a trailer, and quickly passes beneath the trailer before its driveway! The straight ends in a 90 degree right with speeds approaching 70 mph, with the finish line shortly after the turn.
A few days before the trip
I usually am prepared for my trips, but for some reason I didn't start planning this one until very late. Turns out Sep 5 is the start of Gauley Season, which I didn't know. But it means that pretty much EVERY bed in the area were all booked. Fortunately I wasn't the only one in this situation. I hooked up the Bay Area Boys. Rian James found a cabin that sleeps 14.
Friday, September 5
I came out to Ansted to help Neil put on the event. We spent a good portion of the day tracking down hay. Which gave some of the riders a chance to help us toss hay.
Saturday, September 6
Apparently West Virginia had been getting a lot of rain. The paper in Charleston said their normal rain fall was around 45 inches, and they had already received 44. Fortunately we were having a good weekend, but it started out foggy.
I was situated in the last turn, and while I had my work cut out for me as there were several crashes, I also had lots of help from the EMT's and firemen. Morning racing saw Amateur and Rookie luge, Pro buttboard.
We had a short break for lunch. Kim took orders for The Sub Shack, and lunch was delivered. The 4H club, who provided course workers, also had a stand set up selling drinks and snacks. Some people rested on the lunch break.
After lunch we did a parade lap. Everyone
After lunch we had gravity bikes,
There were quite a few wrecks in my corner. Most of them weren't very serious, although one of the rookies fractured his wrist in one of his first heats of the day. He continued on to take second in the rookie class, as well as race in the amatuer class!
After the racing was over, and while the award ceremony was being prepared, several of the riders let the kids ride the boards.
Neil and Kim presented the course workers with certificates signed by all of the riders.
After posing for a group photo
The after party has held at the lounge at the Ace complex. The complex is pretty large, they have cabins, chalets, camp grounds, and a small lake. The party was winding down by the time I showed up. Everyone was sitting around watching Busse's video from the race. I've always enjoyed watching racing footage at the end of the day. Unfortunately for me, most of the footage was taken from the corner that I worked in.
Sunday, September 7
Fire on the Mountain was only a one day event. For day two a handful of us rafted the Upper Gauley.
The scenery on the river was pretty incredible.
Our boat got flipped!
We had lunch across from a 12 foot drop, one of the larger drops on the river. It was fun watching the other boats run the rapids. A kayaker accompanies the group
The handful of us that went on the trip had a blast. If you like whitewater you've got to hit this river. Thanks to Dr. No
It had been raining in the area a lot, but we lucked out with a beautiful weekend. We got to return to one of the more technical courses in America, and my second race course. One person ended up with hairline fractures in his wrist, but he was happy to take home a trophy. Everyone seemed to enjoy the race, and those that went had a blast on the rafting trip. I look forward to seeing this as a multi day event. Ansted really enjoys having us there.