PIR Mud Fest
Check out more awesome photos from Jess on her Flickr page.
Every time I woke up last night, I heard driving rain hitting the window and the bathroom skylight and a howling wind and I considered seriously whether I *really* wanted to race today.
But I had already committed and it was my last chance to race this year before school takes over my life. Just when it was time to leave, the sun broke out as if to lure us out before leaving us to our fate.
After two weeks of being asked if I rode to the race (because I show up with my burley trailer to haul my trainer from the parking lot), today I could finally say yes I rode to the race! All of ten minutes from my house, but still.
As I spun on the trainer under our nice cozy tent, a driving rain pelted the racers going by. But just like last year, it let up just before the start of our race.
- Mud: Not nearly as bad as Rainer. Flat course except the run-up and goopy but more watery (read: rideable!) mud, even in the squishy parts.
- Run-up: Much more successful than last year. I actually *ran* instead of crawl/slide
- Three ways I know I'm having a good race: I catch Michelle, Lynn or Tonya. Did all three. Though in Tonya's case, that usually means she's having a bad race (mechanicals). Someday... :)
- Going by the tents and getting a smile and a little shove from Molly Cameron
The last two laps I was cruising through traffic from other categories and I spotted two carrots ahead, one in a green jersey, one blue. On gravel or paved sections I could get much closer, but then as soon as we hit mud, green would ride away like she had a motor. Guess I need to work on powering through mud.
Blue was also faster in the mud, but not as fast. I figured if I didn't get pulled early, I could get her.
I stalked her through the latter half of lap four, then pulled past her in the finishing straight. We went back and fourth a few times throughout the lap. I gunned it on a pavement section and up a short mud hill and she got me back through the big lake. I stayed close and managed to pass on the run up. She got me back again when I got caught in traffic on an off camber hill. One more quick paved section and going into the final super slick downhill left turn, I was right on her wheel.
As we came onto the finishing pavement, I made my move on the right. I heard her shifting and saying something to the effect of 'oh no!' and then I hit my big gear and took off!
It was a sweet way to end my season, only slightly marred by another woman who finished just a couple bike lengths ahead of me veering sharply left and into me just after the line, but I managed to avoid her and come to a safe stop.
Today's race was definitely colder than last year. I was fine with base layer and leg warmers during the race, but started freezing up as soon as I stopped riding. It took a while in the shower to get my toes back and 90 minutes outside in a cold dark rain to get my bike back to a recognizable state.
A great season for me with a nice mix of mud and dry, some top 20 results and of course, great cheering from friend and enemies alike. I guess that's why I love cross, even when I question my sanity for doing it.