Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Splendor in the Grass Part 2

NCCX-3 Boone, NC = MUD

As we rolled West through downpours in the piedmont toward the High Country we began to see some breaks in the clouds. And while the temperatures were hovering in the mid-40's we held some hope that we might see semi-clear skies, although with heavy rain there was bound to be mud. I mentioned the strangeness of micro-climates up in these hills that I remembered from living here some time ago. Sure enough once we headed out of Boone on the way up to Hawksnest all blue skies were shrouded in low hanging fog. But sometimes it is most interesting to start at the end so....

Did I hear someone say mud and thick grass = matted clump

and something about drivetrains doubling as sod homes

I think those photos say alot already and since I am less eloquent than the professor I will let the race photos speak most about the rest of the day.

I had a reasonably good start to the CX3 race and made it over the barrier behind the rider who would eventually end up 6th.

Still moving kinda smoothly through the off camber section.

And then I hit the mud sections before the run up and by the second time through my trusty Bontrager, superb in the dryer conditions but severly lacking in mud clearance, had built rammed earth condos around the both brakes, sandwiched the rear tire between the chainstays and caked both derailleur's. On the third lap I was forced to dismount and decided to try and clear some of the muck. I found I could not turn the cranks over with my hand and started pulling clumps out as fast as I could. The course was hilly enough without that kind of resistance and so after stopping for the fourth time I sat up and just rolled along for a finish. It was my worst result yet but I have to admit I loved playing in the mud, did not break myself or my equipment and I learned alot from it. All the muddy Euro cross videos I have watched, thanks to Nathan Spears, played back in my mind as I tooled along and it gave me great insight into the pits I see Nys, Boom and others taking every other lap on nasty days.

I think Chris, on the other hand, knows all about these kinds of days and was handling all the sections with relative ease, showing poise in the remount along the off camber section.

The PROfessor looked determined on the run up.

Did I mention there were rowdy crowds, loud music and beer? Oh and a muddy run-up?

and muddy downhill?

Chris gets the biggest props of the day for running his entire last lap after snapping a chain in the muddy flats. He even looked like he enjoyed it after finishing....

but definitely was more happy that plenty of beer was on hand.

Linus might have had the worst of it as conditions were nastier later in the day. Halloween party + beer = rough morning. Mud + Grass + Cross racing = rough afternoon. Overcoming this he finished with a great effort and I have to give him my apologies as my camera seems to have succmb to the day with technical difficulties and we are left with only one last shot of pain in the mud.

Next week Charlotte and Salisbury.


felonious said...

Looks like a heroic effort boys.

co2cycle said...

Linus unbent my derailleur hanger, so I'm back in business. Hooray for steel frames and tuff dropouts.