I got a text from Ernesto while Rob, Don and I were heading to Carlisle on Friday night. They had pre-ridden the new course at the YMCA day camp. It didn't sound good.
Rob checked in with a man named Gandhi at the travel lodge. We went to sleep in blood stained sheets (or Don Powers went to sleep in blood stained sheets. I was smart enough to bring a sleeping bag.)
The next morning was 25 degrees while the sun came up. The Pflug and Ernie pulled up beside us while we were loading bikes.
"We pre-rode the course yesterday. It was really bad. There's a stream crossing within the first few feet, and the rest of the trails look like some dude cut them yesterday. We might not even attempt it," said the Pflug.
I was stunned. The Pflug quitting a race was crazy. The first time I saw him racing he snapped his seat post in the first few miles. He rode two more hours of mud with no saddle and a sharp piece of carbon pointed at his ass, and still won the single speed class. The course must be really messed up for him and Ernesto to bail.
We headed to breakfast with them and they told us more about the course.
"There's no place to pass. Trails are all off camber and fresh cut. There's jaggers hanging down everywhere. Like five stream crossings. Muddy. Figure-8 intersection. Frozen club-feet. Through an archery range. Totally ghetto. It would make an OK cross course, but not a four hour enduro," they said.
Once we got to the YMCA camp, we saw what they were talking about. We went and talked to Zach, and he was mighty swell about the whole thing. So we didn't race.
Instead, we watched people catapult themselves into the stream:
Too bad for that guy. It was 30 degrees. Not good swimming weather.
They had to scramble up the muddy bank on the other side:
I felt like I was watching a figure-8 race at the county fair:
After a few minutes of heckling, we headed out to Michaux and rode. We met some guys from Jersey that showed us around the trails, and ended up having a cool day.
The Mash was awesome last year when it was in Michaux, and I'll for sure race it next year if it's back in the forest. It's a shame that Zach lost his permit to have the race, but no biggie. Hopefully it'll work out in 2012.