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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Decent Results <> Fun 'Cross Race

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    On Saturday, I went up to NH for a race. I ended up (after protest in my favor), finishing 4th. Here is the report....

    This race was NOT fun. Not even a little bit.

    The telling sign should have been when we received an email from the race promoters the night before the race telling us the course was muddy. "No big deal", we thought, we've raced in mud before. Nope. Never. And especially not this bad.

    The entire course was one giant mud pit. I can't even describe it well enough for you to get a good picture, but there was at least one mud hole that was almost hub deep. On the backside of the course, it seemed as if the horses had been let out to pasture during a weeklong spring rain storm - either that, or they had just roto-tilled the entire straight away.

    I got a decent start in the race, through the swampy grass section into the first set of barriers. Out of that, into the woods and into the "Bermuda Triangle". This section of the course was a slick up, 180 degree left into a downhill, followed by 180 degree right uphill - all slick as snot. I passed a few in this section, spinning like a gerbil. Out of this onto a grassy straight and then into the woods (with a nice sinkhole entrance), and out into the wheel-sucking, energy draining mud bog. There were no good lines through some of this, just point your bike in a direction, and try to pedal. And if you were going faster than 6 mph, you were probably running ;-). Up the right side where there was SOME firm ground, around a 180, back up the middle (where the horses had spent most of their time), around another 180 and up again, staying to the right where the ground was a little firmer, but under some big puddles. Off the bike for the barriers - in a mud pit that was over your shoe - run through more mud. As you went back into the final woods section, there was a big mud bog at the bottom of a steepish (but rideable) hill - carry the water up the hill as you pedal, and by lap 3 and 4, the hill is now equally as slick as snot.

    Through the start/finish where NO ONE knows how many laps you are supposed to do, or have done, to do it all again. UGH!

    While I did reasonably well in this race, I had no fun at all. I was able to ride the entire course for the four laps I rode, but my back was killing me from pushing through so much mud, and my legs are still sore today. Between the mud and the lackluster organization and officials, I wouldn't recommend it for next year. We were the third race to go off, and by the time the Master men went out, the news is that the entire backside of the course (think horses here) was unrideable - DH ran the whole section, and if HE couldn't ride, it had to have been bad.

    It took us an hour and a half to clean the bikes when we got home (they were also about 5 lbs heavier than when we started). And to clean the bike clothes, I pre-washed with the garden hose, then in a bucket of soapy water before washing TWICE in the washing machine.... Needless to say, I wasn't up for that again on Sunday, and missed on what I hear was a good race at Putney....

    SheFly

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    Epic! You'll be talking about this one for years. Can't wait to see the photos.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Wow it sounds like you were at my race on Saturday!

    It was super cold (in the 30's) and crazy muddy. It was awful! I also took 4th and won a little prize money. If my brother sends me some pics, I'll post them soon.
    Just keep pedaling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    114
    It does sound like one for the books! We did show up to that one in Brockton, but when it started downpouring, complete with Lightening, Bikehubby bailed. Sorry you missed Putney.....
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    If I get some pics, I will post them this week. This really was unbelievable.

    Telegirl - any races this weekend? DH and I will be in Plymouth on Sat and Lowell on Sunday... I heard that Brockton was a bit of a cluster as well.

    SheFly

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Here they are...

    Here are some pics. This is the second set of barriers on the course. Doesn't actually look too muddy from here.... The last is of DH - you can see how muddy his race was.

    SheFly

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    114


    Amazing pictures!

    I don't think Brockton's course has that big of a 'fun factor' in good weather, nevertheless wicked downpour + lightening. Hubby's bike was all clean by the time we got back to the car, since he rode through so many deep puddles on the road. I kept thinking 'ah, cyclocross weather' but after seeing your pics and what Brockton was like.....not so much.

    We were talking about heading over to NY this weekend - and definitely Sterling on the 25th. The problem for us is the drive factor - Plymouth being over 3 hours one way, etc.....there is only so much we can do on the weekends. On the other hand, cyclocross is so fun, you never know if we might just decide to head south!
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    A couple more ...

    These are two of my teammates, and another of DH. I think these show my "horse" conditions a little better .

    Telegirl - we will be at Sterling on the 25th as well, and will also be heading out to Lake Pleasant (western, MA - closer to you?) on the 26th.

    SheFly

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    114
    Well, I hope you got a good bucket of grain and a rubdown when you were done. Don't want you to be 'rode hard and put away wet!'

    We were talking about the Lake Pleasant race- Sterling is an absolute 'go', and Lake Pleasant is a definite 'maybe'. I am thinking that instead of waiting for my bike to come in, maybe I should ride my mountain bike and give it a go. SOMEONE has to come in last.....it might give the girls who always come in last a boost to have me show up!
    The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew--and live through it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    1,822
    Quote Originally Posted by telegirl View Post
    Don't want you to be 'rode hard and put away wet!'
    ROTFLOL!

    There are a couple of girls who have been racing all season on their mountain bikes (one of whom regularly thrashes me!). Depending on the course, you wouldn't necessarily be at a disadvantage. I think you should try it - you don't have anything to lose, and it's a lot of fun!

    'C'mon - give it a go!

    SheFly

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    *sigh*

    We still haven't had any real cyclocross weather here this year. We've had some rain, but it's always in the middle of the week (when I want to train) and not on the weekends (when I race). No rain in the forecast for this weekend either. Come to think of it, In 4 seasons, I think I've only done 3 or 4 muddy races. It's such a different sport in different parts of the country.

    Lorri

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post
    *sigh*

    We still haven't had any real cyclocross weather here this year. We've had some rain, but it's always in the middle of the week (when I want to train) and not on the weekends (when I race). No rain in the forecast for this weekend either. Come to think of it, In 4 seasons, I think I've only done 3 or 4 muddy races. It's such a different sport in different parts of the country.

    Lorri
    But you're coming out here for Nationals, right? Should be good and wet by then...

    Honestly, I don't mind mud, but this race was just ridiculous... It's been raining here most of the week, so I'm expecting this weekend's races to be a little on the dirty side as well.

    SheFly

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    I decided not to race nationals this season, even hough I already registered. I've got two other trips in December (bike tour) and February (week-long Elite Coaching Certification in Colorado Springs) and I just can't afford it. Oh, and my computer is dying so I really need to get a new computer too.


 

 

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