And its finally pleasant around here. Riding in this coming week will indeed be good.
Last week it wasn't quite the case though. The WORS series had a meet up event with the MNSCS series for a knock down, drag out fight at the Border Battle in River Falls WI. I had heard a few good things bout the course. Nice flowing single track and a couple wide open grassy sections for ringing it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was indeed the case. Trails like this suit my abilities pretty well. What didn't really suit me though was the heat. Air temp upon arriving the night before was...HOT. Just sitting there with the girls and my parents we found ourselves sweating through our clothes. A glance off to the north saw some pretty intense lightening going on. It was my hope that it would make its way south to us. See, I LIKE riding in slippery, slimey conditions. Combine what was already a Marty friendly course with a bit'o rain, and things were looking up! Besides, rain should cool things of, right?
Wrong. It did indeed rain in the night. Hard. In about two hours the course got hit with about an inch or so of rain. The girls and I stayed dry in the tent, thankfully. No getting up wet was good. The temperatures certainly weren't cool though. By the time race start came up, air temp was easily in the mid 90's, and adding the humidity into the mix drove the heat index up north of 100. Good thing I had plenty of water.
image courtesy of Velogrrl
We got the start and off we raced, torwards the only significant hill on the course. Despite the heat, I'm feeling pretty good, and make up several spots on the climb. Once on top, the rains from the previous night show their effects. The open grassy sections are soft and wet. The trails in the woods are snotty and slippery, and I begin knocking off riders left and right. I'm digging it, letting the bike do its thing under me while I just keep pedaling. At the start I noticed that there were at least 14 or so Open SS riders. I noticed the dude on the Carbon Speccy SS. He's a fast guy I have no hope of catching, and two other guys look skinny and fast. I was right, and they took off right away on the climb, never to be seen again.
Back to the race. I keep working my way through the field, passing classes that started before the open guys. Thankfully, the organizers of the race [who also did the 24 hours of Wausau, more on that on the next post] were smart enough to have two water stations on course. Insead of drinking there, I had the volunteers splash me with water, keeping my body cool. That trick seemed to work as I was certainly hot, buy not dangerously so.
Next thing I know, the Elites start passing me. This hasn't happened yet this year, so I'm a bit dis heartened, but keep riding anyways. I'm far enough up though, that I'm also passing a few of the elite female riders, so I'm still doing ok. Thankfully, it was the last lap, and had really figured out the section of single track just before the last passing lane. That section was the most fun, dancing a weaving trail! If you rode it right, you could do it fast, and with hitting your brakes. The trail had dried enough to the point that in this part it was super tacky. Let the tires do thier job, and you could fly. And I did. It was great!
I rolled through the finish, hot and spent. Gobbled down a fair bit of watermellon and waited to see how I finished.
I got fourth! Certainly the best result I've had in a while. It always feels good to be up on the podium. Here's to more this year.
listening to: Shaun the Sheep!