Monday, November 23, 2009

Barnsley Gardens CX

One word...MUDFEST!

I don't think I have ever felt quite so retarded while doing a cross race...EVER! After being sick all week and not riding and then hearing that the course would be roadie style, I wasn't terribly motivated. I basically figured I'd show up, see what happened, hope I didn't go into a coughing fit during the race, and collect my series points.

My morning started early, as I went to help Chris set up for an Orienteering meet that we (well, really HE) were hosting at Sope Creek. My "help" consisted of dragging 50 lbs of water out into the woods in the tow-behind kid carrier on a saturated Sope Creek trail. It was raining hard when we got there and I figured I'd be going slow anyways, so I didn't feel like taking off my hood and putting on a helmet. I met some runners out on the trail and they must have thought I was the worst parent ever with helmet-less mom dragging the kid trailer around in the 40 degree rain and mud. If they only knew all I had in there were water jugs, and thankfully they didn't see when I flipped the whole damn thing over on my way back in. only pair of bike shoes were soaked and they would remain that way until I put them back on when I got to the cross race.

When I got to Barnsley Gardens, I noticed that the racers were completely covered in mud. Apparently the course had been changed back to its original format and was grassy and very muddy. I was horribly unprepared, as I had left my spiked bike shoes at home, which resulted in me slipping and sliding all over on the messy running sections. Running is usually a strength of mine, but you'd never know it with how I was flailing around out there. I then made the #1 stupid decision of the day and opted to ride my MTB after a quick pre-ride on the cyclocross bike. There were some corners that I couldn't ride well on my CX bike, but I figured I'd be fine on my MTB. WRONG! They were so chewed up by the time we raced that I was off my bike running anyways. I felt like I was just doing everything wrong...picking bad lines and sliding out and bogging down...falling into a creek up to mid-thigh and having to "seal" myself back out...cursing under my breath as my fat tires just bogged down in the peaunt butter mud...and generally just not wanting to push hard...argh!

I rode with two others for 2 laps and we swapped out the lead as each other would fall down or slide out. I think on the third lap we lost one girl and were down to two. I took the lead again as Becca slid out in tight corner. We hit a slippery singletrack section and then all of a sudden it was quiet behind me. When I made it to the long run up the spectators said I had a good 10 second gap. At that point I figured I needed to get my head on straight and ass in gear. I ran hard up that run to get out of sight and had finally gone around enough times to start picking the faster lines through the mud. Over the next 3 laps or so I built up a nice gap by finally starting to ride smarter and was conveniently caught my the men's leader right near the finish so I was done on that lap. I couldn't believe I pulled out a win with how things had shook out, but I guess the other girls were having issues as well. Next stop, Conyers!

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