Not there just yet.
In Franklin County VA there are hills. Steep hills. They have hollers where they used to build moonshine stills so that the law couldn't find 'em. What they don't have are many volunteers. In past years this race had so many people marshalling, handing out water, and generally taking care of all the racers that you felt like you were in some major national big-sponsor event. Not this year. Where were the volunteers? Very disappointing. I have some friendly advise for the folks that run the MW Windows event - for what it's worth; Find a mountain bike racer to run your mountain bike race and listen to everything they tell you to do.
Too many people went the wrong direction on course for it to have been a "minor error". They were pointed that way by someone. This needs to be remedied publicly or the MW Windows MTB race may have a hard time attracting racers next year.
OK, I'm off the soapbox.
The race itself was a blur. The immediate climb from the start line pushed my heart rate into zone "ouch" in about 30 seconds. There it stayed for the whole race, which lucky for me was only 57 minutes long. This race is short like a crit, but with more nasty, steep grunts than any self-respecting road race would ever have. It hurts, but only for a little while.
I could tell my fitness is coming along. I still have a way to go, but I beat my personal-best time for this race by 3 minutes. There is one big difference between how I'm riding now and how I've ridden in the past - I welcome the pain. I look forward to it. The pain is my friend.
I rode myself into 2nd place behind G-Man in the singlespeed class. Ah, to be 20 again! I feel good that the only guy who beat me today is half my age. I even got a trophy!