DAVIS, W.Va. — About 70 bikers lined up on Sunday for the 37th annual running of the “Revenge of the Rattlesnake” mountain bike race. The race was hosted by the Blackwater Bicycle Association.
The race map trekked through some of Tucker County’s toughest terrain, going over several trails along the route. Each mile brought a new challenge to racers, making it one of the most strenuous and difficult races in the area. Mountain bikers from all over Appalachia came out for the race.
“That’s one of those right of passage things,” said Ben Kelley, a first time Rattlesnake racer. “If you can do that, you can do just about anything. So i said, ‘Man I gotta do it.'”
For the first time on Sunday, Kelley would find out what the Revenge of the Rattlesnake had in store. For others, it was a familiar course. A number of the racers had been riding through the trails for years, with some making appearances at every previous Rattlesnake race.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race went virtual last summer. Racers lined up on their metaphorical starting lines and rode around their neighborhoods in the race that is a big fundraiser for the Blackwater Bicycle Association. Back together on Sunday, the excitement was tangible. While each racer rides on their own bike, the group formed bonds beyond the race trails due to their shared interests.
“This is a sport that we enjoy each other and people riding,” said Brian Sarfino, who helped organize the race for Blackwater Bicycle Association. “And we also like competition and we’re not afraid to race each other and egg each other on. And it’s a true adventure.”
Following the race, bikers gathered in Davis for pizza and beer, courtesy of Sirianni’s Cafe and Stumptown Ales, two sponsors of the race.