Saturday, October 22, 2005

mud in yer eye

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

I had a taste for mud yesterday day and Granogue was like an all-you-can eat buffet of snot-slick funk. I got my fill.
I ran the Tufo tubs at ~ 38psi (pretty low for my 175lb carcass) and they hooked up like a champ. There was plenty of sliding on the off-cambers, but they always found some grip and kept me moving in the right direction. The new bike (Alan Ultral) handled beautifully. I really felt in control on a day when you didn't so much choose a line as you held on and went where the bike wanted to go. I did have some crashes, three of which were minor. I tried to ride too much of the off-camber behind the water tower and slipped down. By the last two laps I was smartly dismounting and running before I got bogged down. Those were big mental mistakes that let a bunch of riders (runners) by me at a crucial point on the course (entering the slippery sidehill). You have to know what your limits are, but I was thinking that I could ride it out. Dumb.

I did have one big crash, just after the first left coming down the hill. I had made the turn cleanly and was carrying decent speed with my left foot out and I suddenly hit the deck. My left lever/hood dug into the mud and my chest slammed the ground. That shook me up and knocked the wind out of me. I still don't know what happened, but that one hurt and knocked me off my game for a few minutes.

The only bike issue I had was on the first lap coming over the tree roots. I had made my way up from a really crappy starting position of 49th (6th or 7th row) to somewhere between 15th and 20th. I was starting to feel good and was in a strong group. I rode the roots cleanly, but somehow my rear wheel slid out of the dropouts, got crooked, and wedged against the brakes. I had to get off, adjust the wheel, and tighten it back down. This was a huge bummer as a ton of guys went by while I was fixing the result of mental blunder. Note to self...double check those wheels & QR's before the friggin race.

Despite having some bad fortune and making some mistakes I had a really fun time. That course is such a challenge, both in terms of fitness and bike handling, that you really push your limits...and that's how you get better.

My training and racing time are way down this year, but I still feel like I've improved. Last year at this race I was 38th...this year it was 29th out of 75 finishers. I didn't feel really good, but I think I could have stayed in the top 20 if I had ridden smarter. I should be able to get enough racing in to start to have some legs by the last couple of weeks of the season.

I need to recover first. Right now (9:00am on Sunday) my left calf is very sore. I pulled it on the post-barrier runup on the opening lap. Today is a family day, so I'm not racing, but I'll get out on the road for a spin to try and loosen it up this afternoon.

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