Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Got Mud???

Date: 12/0/06
Category: Elite Men
Field: 21
Teammate: None
Place: 11th

Last Sunday I ventured down south to Monterey for round #4 in the Central Coast Series. With rain on the menu it looked like cross was finally here. I’ve never done a “wet” much less mud-fest, CX race. Once again I carpooled with Brian and we got there in good time. When we got there it started to rain hard, like buckets…

I threw on the spare kit and headed out for some course re-con in the now light rain. I managed about 40 minutes and it was chaos, a bit of fun, topped with some suffering…. I headed back to the car to change clothes and had to tighten my rear brake as it was pretty worn out from the mud. I forget how much this stuff eats everything…

I get to the start line in the 3rd row. Before I know it, Rod yelled, “GO” and everyone was fumbling to get going, including me. It’s an up-hill start on pavement, then a double barrier, off to the side in the dirt, then up over and then down onto the first dirt… I mean small lake section. Ha! It was nuts going into that first turn with guys ripping through the deep puddles throwing water overhead. Epic.

It was at this point that I realized finishing this race would be an accomplishment in itself. I had planned to not worry about anybody else, just keep it on 2 wheels and moving forward. Slippery, deep mud is a lot easier to ride at speed and with us packed up you couldn’t get the good lines. After a lap or so it was strung out a bit more and I settled down and started finding my groove. Now with clear runs into the down hill muddy sections and the bigger mud puddles, I started reeling guys back. I switched straight into moto mode. From there on out, I was mixing it up with a few guys and felt like I was getting faster as the race wore on. With 4 laps to go I really had some problems with the rear derailleur. It had turned into a 3spd! I lost the 11T to the 16T and couldn’t sprint on the pavement very well and it made it challenging to keep the speed up.

There was a long mud run with barriers (see photos) that just drained you. I stayed really steady and on the last lap and managed to hold off Lance for 11th place. I wasn’t sure I could hold him off with only the 17 to sprint in but it worked out. Right after the start of the race the sun came out and started to dry out the course. Towards the end is was a lot tougher with the mud thickening up!

The long muddy run....

What a great time, crazy race in the mud and my best finish yet. I got a lot of reminders about racing in the rain/ mud. Things wear out FAST! This week after washing my bike twice… I had to replace the breaks, the headset bearings, and the front chain ring. Pulled the B.B. and cleaned it along with the detailers. Cables needed replacing or lubed/ cleaned. I don’t mind being my own mechanic but dam it’s a lot of extra work!

I did well enough, to move up in the overall from 19th to something? we’ll see how that works out. The bike worked great and I did not have any back pain or other issues which is a trend I hope will continue. I actually felt better than worse on Monday, just a bit tired. This Saturday is a race in Livermore at the rodeo grounds. A course I really like. I don’t know who will show up, I hope lots of guys do. It’s close to home and if it rains, there is a lot of sand and should be fast!

Props to the CCCX crew for a great race, Rick Rasmussen for the Pic’s and to the Ritchey boys cheering section. I can’t wait for the final, I hope they use the fast downhill pavement like last year, hint, hint….

Beer me.

Talk about climate change, the photo's are in the same spot but about an hour a part.

Warm up

Later in the race:


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