The morning started out pretty much like normal. Up early, good breakfast, probably way to much coffee. I was still feeling a little crappy. Why my body cracked yesterday I'm not sure, it's been along time since I felt that cold.
Loaded up the car and I was off. Speaking of cold, car was reading a temperature of plus 4 and had a little snowflake beside that number. Not impressed. With all the rain there were constant updates on course conditions and changes and thoughts on tires. The course change had me wondering, as for tires. Albion dries fast screw it stick to the Michelin XCR dry tire that was already on the wheels.
Finally got the final update on what the course would be. HMMM guess I will just wing it, no preride. Of course seeing seeing racers coming through during the 9:30 race had me wondering. How much mud could there really be?? They took out the worst of the sections right??
Headed out for a long warm up. My legs were still feeling crappy. I was pretty sure that anything that wasn't downhill or close to it was going to hurt a lot. Met up with a few of the boys. We puttered and this put us all at the back of the pack for the start. The field looked bigger than normal. Yep it's going to hurt.
Got of to a bit of a crappy start as i bumped into Lee when the rider in front of me stalled up when he couldn't clip in. Stood up and went to the the outside edge of the track on Lee's wheel as we worked are way past half the pack. The first double track section looked more like a road race, groups formed. Hit the first singletrack and it was just one long train. The pace slowed a hair. Hmmm this trail was nice. Coming out of the second section of singletrack things began to spread out a bit. Still feeling good, sorta. I see Chris and push to get on his wheel. Couple big double track sections then we cross the road. holly shit what is that. 6 inch ruts and mud everywhere. This was just a hint of what was to come.
We hit the climb that replaced the Green Monster. Now I think I would have preferred to go up the monster. I got about a 2/3 of the way up before my tires had no traction left. I hate running and my knees hate it more so it was a fast paced non run. Nice fast downhill followed by a hard turn to the right. All that I could think was momentum will get you through. It did but this bog of mud took many a victims.
This whole section of the course is so ingrained in my head from 24 hour races but I didn't recognize it at all. It was also the first time I was not able to ride it. Ever! The first run up was pretty crappy but had room. The next one at the sugar shack was not as bad but unrideable. Through the line, lap one done.
The huge puddle right before the timing tent was a blessing as it kinda cleaned the drivetrain before heading back to the singletrack. My legs hurt but I was able to keep pushing and pick up a few more places. I kept reading my my little motivation on the back of my plate. The flow of the trail was great but then it was back across the road. What was questionable the lap before was worst this lap. I got into a walk five steps, run 5 steps. My knees felt good. Surprisingly I passed a few riders on these climbs. Lap 2 down, 2 to go.
I had Scott Irwin and Scott Luscombe in my far range sight at the beginning of this lap. I was with in 10 seconds of SI before the road crossing, we passed Scott L just after the road crossing and did everything I could to make sure it stuck. Scott I put a little gap on me at this point. This was also when Derek Zandstra came smoking by us.
Coming up one of the climbs I attempted to do a half assed cross remount. Now before Watson starts spreading rumours, I'll tell what really happened. My feeble cross skills are a little rusty and my shorts got hung up on my seat. My shorts went into a few interesting places and I had to start yanking on them. This was right about the same time Andrew caught me. I think he wasn't pushing hard enough because he was able to make some smart ass comment. Anyways, with my shorts not giving me some sort of wedgie I got back on track.
My legs were starting to feel the effects of the mud. Coming into lap 4 the climb through the feed zone felt extremely steep and my drivetrain sounded like it would snap at any point. I was very tempted to squirt some INFINIT on it but I'm not sure what type of lube it would be equal to. Last lap, put it all out.
I pulled in a few more riders, with all the mud, telling who is in what division was a little difficult. Not sure if my vision was blurred or it was the mud covering them. I did pull Scott I back in just after the road. Just as I passed him I heard a major grunt of pain as his leg seized up on him. A quick, are you ok and an answer of a grunt and I had my head down and legs turning. Almost done.
The run up climbs seemed to be farther and farther off the trails. I swear one more lap and we would have been going through the bush. The last decent followed by the doubletrack into the finish line hurt but it was a great site. Crossed the line, I'm done. I had nothing left in the tank.
I was really happy with how I rode today, lots of big ring time. My knees are feeling really good even with the amount of grunting in the mud. I didn't get my results but I think I may be in the top ten. It felt like an extremely long race at that intensity. Once I get final results I'll post them. Considering how I felt going into the race I'm pretty content with where my fitness is. Only about 7 weeks left till Solstice and I feel I am on track.
Thanks to Erin for feeding me today. Tomorrow rest day!!!!