We finally arrived in the park at 9:20, with the race start scheduled for 9:30. I pulled my bike out of the grumbler's belly, bolted on the wheel and sprinted over to the registration. After sloppily filling out the paper work and paying my fee, I sprinted back and pulled my chamois and other clothes on (that's a poorly worded phrase. I had clothes on in the first place. I did not register naked.) With three minutes left to race time, I realized I had forgotten pins to attach my number to my jersey, so I went back to the reg pavilion and asked one of the ladies to stick two pins on. I love being late to shit.
(Rob Lochner faceboobs photo)
I lined up next to Don on his brand spankin' new (not really) SS el mariachi, and before I knew it, we were off. I immeadiatly dropped to the mid/ back of the pack as I was hit with how rough the course was. Roots and bumps were everywhere. Fortunately, I had been able to set up some Maxxis Raze's tubless on my deep v's a few days before, so I didn't have to worry about flatting, but the fact remained that I was the one of the only single speeders on a cross bike. At this point in the day the course was dry, and I definitely feel like a fat tires had an advantage.
Around the second lap, I started to get into the grove, and moved up to second. I was clearing the big steep climb (see later pictures) and the sand pit without having to get off my bike. Steve Rowand had a nice gap on me, but I was working to close it for a few laps. Before long my I stopped chasing Steve, and started running from Don. He had moved into third, and every time we hit a section that really slowed me down in the 39X17, he was closing in on his mountain bike. I would open the gap back up on the flat section, and I did manage to hold him off for the rest of the race.
After our race, the rain started to come down. At the start of race #2 it looked like the course was just damp, but before long, it turned into a slippery mess. Tess, Don, and I stood at the top of the big slippery climb and heckled riders that had crashed:
(all pictures from here on stolen from JR. Go here and see more)
I was genuinely excited to go race in the mud, and by the time the A race started, it was getting cold and miserable outside. Magnifico.
I lined up in the cozy middle of the pack, and off we went again. This time I was more focused on the amount of mud that was being sprayed into my eyes than I was on the roots. We hit the spiral of death (I can't find pictures of it. Use your imagination.) and a ton of guys got off to run through the mud. I stayed on my bike, and actually leaned against someone who was running for the duration of the spiral.
We wound around the off camber twists and turns of the course and hit the big slippery downhill before the big slippery climb. I locked my back wheel and started skidding down. Suddenly Rob Loehr blew by dressed in a cowboy outfit, and we collided in the slippery mess. Somehow, our shoes managed to get tangled up, and the top strap of my shoe sheared off. Awesome frigging design Northwave.
I ran up the hill, but I was forced to ride the remaining 55 minutes of the race with a left shoe that wanted to fall off my foot. Trying to ride a fixed gear through sloppy mud without a functional brake makes a man understand the importance of functional footwear.
(If you squint real hard you can see the missing shoe strap)
I feel like at some point in the race, the course reached terminal muddiness, the point when the soil had no more mud to give. At that time I believe that the traction actually became better, but I may have just been delusional.
When the Pflug and Mike Mihalik lapped me, I was actually a little happy. It meant one less lap in the mud. Hurray! Kind of. Pushing a big gear through that mud gets tiring, but to be honest, I was just pissed about my shoe. I mean how does one break a damn shoe?
I let Rob Lochner go by me in the last quarter mile of the race, but with a few hundred feet left, I decided I couldn't let him beat me. I put in a quick sprint and solidified a 13th out of 24. Only one off the middle. Nice.
I'm going to call the day a rip roaring success for the conglomerate. I took a second place in the SS, did not crash in the muddy A race, rode my fixed gear both times, ate garlic butter wings between races, and had oodles of fun cheering and ringing some cowbells. Marilla Cross' gets four skogkatts, out of four.
(yes. that was unnesisary. but I really wanted to use the skogkatts. click make big)
JR has a nice report on iplayoutside in which he manages to remember everything that happened in every race (I referred to his report when writing mine. He knows what happened in my race better than I do. Crazy.)