It’s funny how a week can change your motivation. I went from racing in Gadsden the previous weekend, not enjoying the mud at, and not really wanting to get dirty (I know…nancy style) to racing Brookside where I knew the mud would be much worse and was really looking forward to it. You see, on the mtb, I normally relish the nasty conditions. I’m typically a lil heavier than the common mtb racer so I sink in a bit and can control the bike a lil better. Plus the trails I learned to ride on were usually muddy n nasty so it comes natural. Plus….I can easily get fired up by watching other racers and just before I left the house for Brookside, I watched the men’s World Cup in Namur which had me ready for the nasty conditions.
On to the race itself…normally I like to ride the course a time or two before the race as part of my warm up but since I had pre ridden it the night before and wanted to keep the bike as clean as possible until race time, I decided to warm up on the trainer instead. After a nice 25min controlled warm up with a few :30 openers I rolled to the start line. The 1-2 field was small with only about 9 racers with several of the usual suspects not there. After role call we got a :10 countdown. The start was fast and as expected Will took the hole shot and set a fast pace that would quickly separate him from the group. Oddly enough, I found myself sitting in 3rd wheel feeling very comfortable. Things stayed together for the most part thru the 1st lap. coming thru the 2nd lap I was able to stay on Kevin’s wheel and pull away from the rest of the field. We would ride together for the next couple laps but he eventually would gap me a bit. I was still sitting in 3rd very comfortable and was riding all the mud with pretty good form. Then with 2 laps to go, I noticed Omar, who unlike himself had falling off the pace in the beginning, was starting to get closer and closer…and even though we are on the same team, I was trying to stay away from him for that podium spot. Unfortunately, my the middle of that lap, he caught me after I had made a few mistakes. We rode together for the rest of that lap and half of the last lap but again, in the same spot, I bobbled and he got a small gap on me and went on to take the 3rd spot that I wanted so bad! Good for him though as he rode a smarter race conserving energy until the end where it matters most.
The conditions were epic…lots of mud and sand, several run ups, and some fast power sections. My biggest issue was mud build up in the pedals n cleats. I was having major issues getting back in the pedals after the sand pit and it cost me several seconds on each lap but all n all….it was a great day to be racing!!