It was a brutal day for me before the race even began. Staging was set for 11am for the Grind. It was about 10:30 and time for the team to head out for a little pre-race warm up on the course.
Normally, when I do this I go out for 10 minutes and turn around before it gets to late or I warm up on the road. Not today though. I go out like a sheep behind the Team Green Experts and soon find myself poking along by myself being careful not to get too worked up.
Somewhere along the line I realized I had fifteen minutes to get to the starting line and had no idea where I was other than following arrows. Not knowing if continuing on would get me to the start quick enough I turned around and headed back the way I came. Pretty easy, I would take the same amount of time to get out as I took going in. Wrong.
Not sure what I was doing but I went around in circles three times. I passed another guy three times that was in the same predicament. It was 11am and I had resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to make the start. What a dope! I finally made it back at 11:05 and my group was just moving up to stage. Heart rate in the 180’s and I already had a few miles under my bibs.
OK, enough drama. Lesson learned. This was my first sport race so I was not sure about a lot of things. Plan was to ride my own race and not be too concerned about battling for position. The conditions were poor and that is being nice. Like Kevin said it started out decent but right at the start of the second lap the heavens opened up and every mud bog linked together to form one long swamp with plenty of roots, rocks and slippery bridges to navigate through.
Overall I felt pretty good and focused on not falling (happened once). I got a pretty good start and stayed with the main pack for most of the race. 18 started, 16 finished and I ended up 11th. Very satisfied with that.
It was a great time spending the day with the team and I can’t wait till next week. Also, we did catch a small glimpse of Al Gadway though he was quick to hide his face from the camera. Apparently he is as elusive as Sasquatch.