A Mud Sandwich
Steve 22nd, Evo 12th, Dave F 14th in the slow old guy category
Mud was promised and mud delivered. A slippery run up, lots of greasy corners. Strength sapping soggy grass. It was all there.
My treat was that my daughter and Kyson came to watch along with Hottie and my mum. I had fans galore. It was Kyson's first cross event and he was initiated in soggy Northwest style.
Grandpa is number......one
It was a tough course. Grassy, but really wet turns to start. Then onto a muddy bog which could be ridden, but running was faster. Either way you then hit a run up where I went from tenth to third on the first lap. I do like the run ups.
Then a short grassy section leading to single track that was a muddy rut-fest. If you kept your mo(mentum), you could ride it. Then a slick downhill that was a matter of getting comfortable not being in total control. Then, just as you exhale thinking you are out of it, you round a tree and hit s short steep, and loose, uphill followed by a long steady climb that was just like putting your legs in a vice and letting it hurt you. The climb was there to suck whatever life was left in you...out of you.
When I turned at the top and saw my chasers climbing, I tried to look relaxed like I was in control. I was in fact thinking my heart was about to blow out of my chest. You had to really concentrate as there was a Z turn with a padded post as the penalty for not making the final turn.
Then we had to go around a baseball field and the terrain past the outfield was a swamp. It could be ridden, but I was passing guys when I ran, so I ran it each time. I pushed hard and threw my bike down and started pedaling.
But wait, there was more.
You spilled onto a short cement section, and then you power into a long off camber where you try not to lose altitude. Then a slight climb, and more mud and grass turns. A couple barriers to remind you this isn't hell, it is Cyclocross baby. More technical turns were followed by a long grassy straight, and then through a barn (which is always fun) and finally loose gravel spills onto grass, and you make the corner and then pass the finish line and do it all again....
You almost recover on the grass when you hit the mud, and the run up and then you are once again getting cross eyed.
I was hanging about tenth and saw my nemesis, Spinner John not far behind. He make a lot of noise when he races. So much noise in fact, that after this race I considered changing his moniker to Grunting John. I could hear him struggling behind me and I kept pushing. On the long suffering uphill I noted my gap to he and Dave F. I pushed the second lap. On the third lap I was toast and made some tactical mistakes. A wrong line here and there and I was losing time.
I fought my way up the run up and tried to clear my head and ride smarter. I still had a gap on the suffering uphill, but I couldn't let up or I would get eaten up. I was still struggling and when I hit the swamp by the baseball field, I ran like my High School Cross Country Coach, Coach Berk was telling me to run harder.
On the grass I knew my heart rate was maxed and I tried to keep from exploding. The barriers were okay, but I was caught by a guy in the soggy grass approaching the barn. I looked behind and knew nobody else (Spinner John) was going to catch me. I tried to hold this guys wheel, but he got a gap.
I closed a little at the barn and as we approached the final turn I was gaining fast. I tried to go around him on the right and he swung right, I cut left, and the bastard started to go left. I dug deep but lost it by a wheel at the line. A post race check of the Garmin would revel two things, my heart rate was maxed plus three, and I was going 24+mph at the line. We had to clamp down hard on our brakes to keep from crashing as the course turned not far past the finish line.
I was twelfth on the day and Spinner John came in a distant thirteenth and Dave F fourteenth.
It took a good while to catch my breath.
Kyson enjoyed himself. As did his mama. I am pretty darn lucky as most guys in my age group don't have any fans and I almost always have Hottie cheering (and taking photos). This season my mum has made the almost weekly pilgrimage to witness the spectacle of Northwest Cyclocross.