The Woodberry Harrier 2021: Volume 2

Keeping the Faith

Looking back at Harrier #1, I am struck by how hopeful and philosophical we were still feeling there at the mid-point of the season. It seems almost innocent considering the elemental struggles which awaited us after the Expedition.  We have had the expected setbacks: shin splints, pulled muscles, soreness, and fatigue. But we have also had the utterly unexpected: the Epstein-Barr virus, a flu-like virus, a swollen gall bladder, a collision with a mountain bike. It’s hard to remember the high-flown aspirations of the early season when you are just trying to keep it together, hoping hard no one is out for the season, counting every lost workout, trying to keep spirits up. Of course, this is when we need to remember those aspirations the most, not forget that the challenge we get may not be the one we imagined or wanted. 

But out of unexpected challenges come unexpected inspiration and real reasons to be grateful. I’ve seen disappointment and frustration in some eyes, but I haven’t heard a single whine or complaint. The guys who felt good seemed to push harder to take up the slack, and the guys who were sitting out were there cheering for them. It’s in times like this that you feel the connectedness of “team” more strongly than you do when everyone is healthy and strong. In short, they have kept the faith. Hunter Groton has spent the better part of a month on the bike while awaiting doctors and tests, but he’s been there pedaling hard every day.  Winston Ransone has continued to go down early and mix the Gatorade (unasked) every day, even when he was worn out.  And at the end of practice every day, you could hear some laughter coming from the end of the Barbee.  They have, in other words, kept the faith.

It was during that overcast time that we were scheduled to go to the Albemarle Invitational, and I’ll confess now that I considered canceling.  In addition to the above problems, the whole team just seemed wrung out and stretched. Even Ferenc was wondering if he should not sit out.  And it was supposed to be a wet and nasty day, which I imagined would worsen the bad colds going around.  But it was Parents’ Weekend, and I decided we had to keep calm and carry on, keep a stiff upper lip and all that, and I learned that I am not nearly as good at reading signs as I thought—much to my delight. They rallied and had a truly splendid day.  Here are the results:

Albemarle Invitational
Panorama Farms in Earlysville, VA
9 October 2021
12th out of 25 teams
RunnerPlace / 177Time 
Kovacs1st15:3812-sec. lifetime PR
Oldham35th17:1835-sec. lifetime PR
Copper126th19:2344-sec. lifetime PR
Dupuy133rd19:4539-sec. lifetime PR
Harrell138th20:0022-sec. lifetime PR
 Place / 181  
Tankard36th19:3922-sec. lifetime PR
Zanone45th19:5545-sec. lifetime PR
Wharton57th20:1254-sec. lifetime PR
Rand78th20:3815-sec. lifetime PR

That’s what happens when you keep the faith and have some gumption and grit to go with it.

A week later we raced Fork Union here for our annual dual. We were excited about a new lower course we had just designed, but the weather disagreed, and we ended up with a much hotter and more humid than it had been at Panorama the week before. Still, it was a good outing for us.  Here are the results:

WFS vs. Fork Union
Woodberry Lower Course
15 October 2021
1st out of 2 teams
RunnerPlace /16Time 
Ransone2nd17:54Tied his lifetime PR
Dupuy6th19:45Tied his lifetime PR

Last week Trinity canceled their meet with us, but that was perhaps a blessing. We needed the time to make up lost mileage and rest up. Yesterday I learned that Hunter, tomorrow we do our annual Moormont Workout, which is more intense than many meets, and next Friday we compete in the Prep League at Collegiate’s Goochland Campus at 2:30 PM.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.  The State Meet will be the following Thursday at Pole Green Park in Richmond, also at 2:30.  Here’s the site for getting tickets ahead of time:

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