Perfect storm if you will. New trails, tropical depression Danny, low profile tires and the "standard" 52" gear.
Before this season, 52" or there abouts was the only gear I ran. But then again I wasn't racing, at least not at a greater variety of courses.
This year I've run from a 44" gear at Pats Peak in New Hampshire to a 53" gear at Winding Trails in Connecticut.
From the course descriptions I had read, I thought a 52" gear might actually be too small for the course, and if it drained like it was alleged to, the Race Kings would be fine.
The 1 1/2 mile section I pre-rode, was slick, but do-able. There was some spin on the climb I hit, but do-able.
That is before, the Pros, Cat1 / Open, Cat1 juniors, 19-29's, 30-39's, and singlespeeders got to it.
By the time us "junior geezers" got there, the fresh cut trails were churned into a fine slurry.
Looks like we're going to do a little running today.
I had got the holeshot, and led to the first down hill were Todd Bearse from Bike Barn used his superior tech abilities to grab the lead.
When we turned onto the first fireroad, Jonny Bold lit it up and grab the lead from Todd.
Fortunately for me the fireroad tilted up so I pulled back into second, and closed the gap on Bold.
There was a mud hole covered with a layer of logs that tripped up Jonny and I passed him back.
Then we got bottled up behind a couple of the singlespeed class riders which caused me to dismount, which became the theme for the day (dismounting and running), and Bold was joined by his Corner Cycle team mate John Mosher in passing and quickly putting time on me.
That was the end of me racing with my class.
I would occasionally pick up a 30-39 y/o or 19-29 y/o as I slid and ran, and generally wallowed in the mud.
The soft, fresh, cut trails made every little climb a grunt. My arms were killing me as I yanked on the bars trying to keep my weight low and turn over the cranks.
Every turn was a treacherous maneuver of the front wheel sliding one way as the rear chose to slide another. Off chamber trails were more a matter of when would you not if you would slide.
About half way through the race my front brake lever was almost to the bars, I was able to pump it up, but then there was a terrible grinding. The pads are only a couple of weeks old and have only seen wet weather twice (my last to races).
The second and third lap I rode with a Biker's Edge rider from one of the younger age groups. I led for the second lap, he led and pulled away on the third.
On the third lap, as he was pulling away from me, I noticed a couple riders coming up on me fast.
This got me concerned. They seemed to come out of nowhere.
One was the leader of the 50+ class and the other was a Pro? At least they weren't my class. I thought for sure Todd was pulling me back.
They both past me, and the Pro was running everything. When he did try and ride a section he was all over the place and I passed him back. Never saw him again.
I caught the 50+ leader and followed him to the finish.
Thank You Lord!
I was glad that was over.
My first lap was about 37 minutes.
Second, 40 minutes.
Third, 48 minutes?
Guess the goo took it's toll on me.
There were technical sections where if I didn't just slide into them sideways and have to dismount, my mind would say "Ok, we want to go over this in such and such a manor". My body would respond "Duh, what?"
In the end I finished third behind Mosher (1st), and Bold (2nd).
One thing to be said about racing in the rain, if I hadn't been preregistered for a race would I have rode today, or been a couch potato?