Sunday, October 30, 2011
I had heard good things about the Beacon course, and although the race was quite a distance from home, I made an effort to make it happen this year. Art had an install half way between the race and home. He scheduled the install for Friday night, this way the trip down seemed more worth the time. Well, that is what we thought. Art was a tad behind schedule and rush hour traffic was insane. This is NJ .... what were we thinking? Six hours later, we finally got to our hotel to catch some sleep.
By this time the weather forecast had turned from light rain or snow showers to a full blown Northeaster. The weather guys were spot on, and it was raining when we got up. I certainly do not mind mud or cold, but cold and wet combined is not something I enjoy. Perhaps I never got over doing the freezing "Running of the Dogs" race years ago, but I am not looking to go there now. So as we had made the trip down, spent hotel fare and paid our entry fees, my thought was "It's only 40 minutes", so we went to race. Deep inside, I could not wait to be done, as I knew it would be cold. I stayed in the truck as long as possible to avoid hanging out in the rain, even as far as skipping a pre-ride and warming up on the trainer in the truck, but eventually we had to face up and go out and race in the rain.
Once on course, it really was fine for me. I actually enjoyed the handling conditions, but For Art it was not so much fun as he suffers from Raynaud's condition in his hands. Many sections of the course were completely under water, and others were all mud. I could not believe how hard it was to get up the amphitheater steps or even the barriers with all the mud. By the time I was done, temps were dropping into the low 30's, and Art was quick to get me to the truck to change out of my wet, mud incased clothes. This whole process was not much fun, and I certainly questioned wether I am indeed cut out for cross. Still shaking from the cold, I agreed to pack up and head home without even checking results as we were expecting snow up north. To my knowledge I may have been 4th in my race, but was too cold to really care either way.
As we drove home in the rain, I noticed the colors of the trees in south jersey were outstanding. I do not know if it was the contrast of the colors against the dark sky, but seeing them was a short special moment in my day. From there, we drove into a snowstorm, and were pretty stressed trying not to end up like the many cars we saw off the highway in ditches for the next five hours. It was a bit odd to arrive home to shovel the driveway and then take out the hose to wash muddy bikes and clothes.
As much as we both wanted to race at HPCX on Sunday, I could not bring myself to get up early an do all that again. The race itself is fun, but sometimes the clean up and sitting in the car wears me down.