Monday, December 6, 2010

You Lucky Dinges

Now with a December cyclo-cross race behind me, and a muddy one at that, I feel as if I am one step closer to being a real cyclo-cross racer. As the first muddy race of the year, I was surprisingly quite comfortable with riding in the mud. I guess one can really appreciate things once you go without them for awhile. I'm not sure if all the ladies felt as sentimental about the mud as I did, but my race year may not have felt complete without some mud.

One of the not so good parts about late season cross is the ice and cold. I saw a bunch of guys go down in the morning on the icy trails, and was real thankful to have a later start with more mud than ice. I wore just about every article of clothing I owned and was quite toasty while riding. I'll admit, the hanging out in the cold all day was beginning to get to me, but I did my best to deal with it. I actually warmed up on my trainer while wrapped in a blanket.

My race started off well, getting right to the front which successfully got me through the first mud bog cleanly. Unfortunately for a few others, there was a bit of of a pile up in the mud hole. It may seem really bad to fall in the mud, but in 15 minutes we all were going to be covered in mud anyway. It was really slippery. I was fighting to keep it upright around every turn. Sometimes a tire would just let go on the flat and turn me sideways. It was great practice for my balance and my ability to nurse for traction and still try to put the power down.

As each lap went by, what I could grip on was disappearing, and I started to get brambles tangled in my wheels and drive train. I tried to push ahead but felt like I kept losing places. I was so glad to hear the bell for the last lap. At that point my front derailieur was so clogged with mud that it would not work and I was small ring only. Legs burning, I gave it the final push, and held a 5th place finnish. I received some cash and a cool lucky horseshoe. What sealed the day was the belgian wafel with "speculoos" topping that Art bought for me after the race.

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