What a day!!!
As I awoke this morning the pitter patter of a deluge of rain coating my house. I thought to myself “I should just sleep in and enjoy a good cup of coffee” but my next thought was “nope, I work too much to miss out on this!” fast forward 2 1/2 hours and we are 10 minutes from the battleground when each of our cell phones chimed in with emergency alerts warning of the potential of flash floods!! My trusty 4runner deftly navigated water runoffs and lakes that had formed roadside until we finally weaved our way into the parking lot. The surrounding landscape was scarred with deep ruts from raging waters the night prior – it certainly set a foreboding tone!!
My bike today was my ’13 Cannondale scalpel that I had luckily fitted with my favorite tire – Maxxis Ignitor’s, I definitely was going to need the extra tread lugs over the stock “Racing Ralphs”!
Riding to the start line the trail was soggy but it did not let on fully what I was in for!! Luckily I had gotten to the start line just in time – the first sport class rider had just left the gate and I was supposed to go second! I didn’t have time to work up any nerves! At the go I took off but was quickly slowed by deep mud, rain, and the all the stuff being thrown up by my tires into my face!! I didn’t think it would be too bad for too long but it only got worse (worse in a good way!!). The course was reversed this year so we were starting out in the lowlands – the water just got deeper and deeper and deeper (it reached my headset a few times!!). the boardwalks were floating loose, lines were impossible to pick as there was no earth to see!! at one point about halfway through we essentially had to bike “up a river”, the runoff flowing down the hill was flowing fast and the only line to take was right up the middle – where the loose squishy stuff had been washed away and what was left was the firm substrate that didn’t make me lose any more energy than I already had climbing through the rapids!! At one point I had wished I had put those big blue paddle wheels on my bike that you see at beach resorts!! I only recall about a half a mile worth of trail that had any firmness to it and would have to relate that the amount of water crossing the trails or running down the trails was, well, almost biblical!!
Luckily all of the raging water kept washing the mud off but it got to a point where my brakes would not stop grinding, and I’m sure my steed will not be happy with me, and a serious overhaul is probably now due!!
I only managed to take 7th out of 11 in my class, a kick in the butt to get after it more!! One of the volunteers said there was something like a 90% no show rate – good news for the trails (not that the racers could have done any more damage than mother nature at this point), but a shame as this was a very memorable race for anyone who showed – I’m glad I didn’t sleep in!!!
In the parking lot I was regaling to a friend that I had only gone over my handlebars once, when another rider chimed in – “that’s it!? I went over my bars at least a dozen times – looks like I won at least one category today!!” – it was said with a smile on his face!!!