We got to Coraville, picked up our stuff and had time to pre-ride the course. I took more spills in that pre-ride than I have all season. I silently prayed I had gotten it out of my system. The weather was overcast and windy, with temps around 50. With the exception of Mt. Krumpet and another run up, it was flat.
Our race was packed. We had 35 Cat 2/3 women, as well as the Cat 2/3 men on the course with us. I was in the second row on the end. The whistle blew and we took off. It wasn't quite as much madness as Cincy for me. We hit the grass and I was able to pass a few girls. I was in great shape until we hit the muddy off camber section. Everyone dismounted to run it so it clogged up. I couldn't find a clear spot to set my bike down so I ended up running all the way to the flyover. I didn't get a great remount on the flyover--that lap or any lap. It was a short little section till we hit Mt. Krumpet. That lap I shouldered my bike as I ran it. My remount there was poor as well. The rest of the lap was good. I was smooth over the logs and quick through the spiral. Lap 2 was better. We were more spread out. I was able to remount easily in the off camber. I also tried running with the bike instead of shouldering it on Mt Krumpet. It wasn't any better. Lap 3 I started getting lapped by the men. Most of the time it was fine, but there were a few close calls and a little rubbing. I ended up in 18th overall. My highlights were my cornering and riding the off camber. My weaknesses were uphill remounting and remounting at the top of the flyover.
Post race we popped open the sangria cube and headed to Mt. Krumpet to spectate. We headed back to the hotel and down to the hot tub to warm up. While we had great photos of the event, we were amazingly well-behaved and back to the room by 10PM. Our culinary treat was Chinese delivery in bed. I know the perception is that we're wild girls on the road, but we're actually pretty lame and sedate.
Saturday was just ugly from the start. It was raining and 42 degrees when we got the race course. And of course, I had the Mich lite kit on. We sat in the car as long as we could until it was time to warm up. The course was very similar to Friday night, sans the flyover and Mt. Krumpet. The women's field was deeper, 40 of us and we raced with the single speeders and master's 55+ men. I was slow off the start and we were clogged through the first lap. We were about two minutes in when the single speed men started passing us. It was crazy crowded as they went through. By the time I hit the first puddle and sunk my feet ankle deep in the mud, my entire trepidation about the conditions left. I felt like a little girl playing in the rain. I think I laughed the entire time I was out there, even dancing as I came through the start/finish. (yes, I'm a dork). I felt good through the race today in regards to my bike handling in the mud. I rode it confidently and made sure to look where I wanted my bike to go. I was also very smooth through the barriers. My struggle came through the off camber muddy section above the bleachers. I would take the run up smoothly and remount well, but then struggle as I got closer to the downhill when my bike started to slip. I may have been better off to run the whole thing. I ended up 17th for the day, better but still not where I wanted to be.
You could not see the Big Shark logo on my skinsuit post race. I was a complete muddy mess and was freezing. Cory & I took luke warm showers to rinse off, but it didn't do much good. As much as we wanted to stay and watch more racing, we needed to warm up. We headed back to the hotel to clean up. After a yummy hummus and martini lunch, and a trip to look for cleats, we chilled in the hotel room. That evening we hit the Vine for the "party" but it wasn't quite what we expected. We eventually ended up back in the hotel bar, just hanging out. Cory's teammate Chris joined our happy crew. It was another wild night with us in the room by 11PM.
By Sunday morning, the rain had stopped but the cold set in. It was mid 30s and windy at race time. Cory decided not to race because she's still battling the crud she picked up in Cincy. Karl wasn't up for it either. I envied the two of them and Chris sitting in the warm car while I rode circles in the field warming up.
I didn't preride the course Sunday, but I did a loop outside and it *looked* like we were heading in the same general direction. The flyover was back in, as was Mt. Krumpet. The course was muddier than Saturday, but it was a thicker, goopier mud. I ended up with less on me, but my bike and shoes were covered. Our field was back down to 30 something. I got a good jump off the line and we headed through the gravel to the grass. I was ready to go right, and the course went left . . . it was different. That threw me off because I realized I would be riding lap one blind. We were bunched up when we hit the muddy off camber hill but I was able to run around a few girls. I kept the bike shouldered and hit the flyover. I finally feel comfortable riding down one without being in my pedals. From there it was through the corral to Mt. Krumpet. It was just a mucky mess. I threw the bike on my shoulder and ran as much as I could. At the top, we kept going. It was long, slow grinder to the top (my favorite part of the course on the day--I think that means I'm sick in the head). I realized at the top I climbed the whole thing without being in my pedals. At the top we started the off camber switch backs down. I was determined to ride it. I did fine until the third section. I was unclipped, dobbing and I just slid out, toes over nose and bike on top of me. I hopped up, grabbed the bike and ran. I realized as I remounted for the muddy downhill that my right lever was completely crooked. I tried to straighten it but got stuck in the mud while I did. I dismounted and ran and straightened my lever, loosing a lot of ground. I felt great the rest of the lap, handling the bike well through the mud and took the lincoln logs cleanly. Lap two was much better for me. I knew where the course was going and was able to choose better lines. I passed quite a few girls, especially running up Mt. Krumpet (those trail races are paying off). I chose to run the entire downhill this time and remounted right before the downhill by the bleachers. The course was long enough that we only did three laps. My third lap started out great. My lines and handling were even better. I was about three seconds off two girls in front of me up Mt. Krumpet. In hindsight, I should have remounted my bike earlier because I when I did, I couldn't get clipped back in my pedals and had to get off in the middle of the ankle deep mud and run. I pulled back some time on them, but was never able to catch them. Finished 18th. Meh!
|The off camber above the bleachers. *Photo credit: Jon Peck|