Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Fields, #2, A-Race-Holy Mud Batman

What can I say about today? A lot actually. It was a sloppy mudfest almost all the way around the course with a fun gravel descent and two ascents (one on the gravel after the descent and one up the asphalt road). The single track like the rest of the course was reversed and compared to last week it was almost easy. Even the mud soup that awaited us in the trees was easier to do. To show how good of a day I had I even started hopping the easy log the 2nd lap. If your wondering I did not fall once all day.

I finally not only brought my trainer today, but I used it. I decided that after one lap before the B/C race turned my bike into a popsicle with wheels that I could possibly do more harm then good to pre-ride it too much. A second bike or my mountain bike would have been smart. But, and this si the truth, I didnt bring my mountain bike for two reasons, the first that I didnt want to carry two muddy bikes home, but more importantly I didn't want to be tempted to race it instead of my cross bike, even though It may have been significantly faster. Thats the truth.

I learned that the descent though fast and potentially slippery was fun and easy. I got out of the two jackets, balaclava, shoe covers and headed to the line. I was happy with my position, but when they said go I took off and I seemed to be the only one who couldnt get going forward. I was just sitting there spinning my tire. I was way in the back entering the singletrack and I was butt-slow on lap one and came out probably dead last and a little off the back. What a shame as I felt good and had big-ish plans today. I felt like a complete fool.

Anyways I came out of the single track, down the gravel road and slowed a lot for the left turn before the bridge. I caught a few guys, but I didnt put enough time between myself and the person behind and was re passed in the single track. Out again and this time I was putting in harder efforts to get really clear. This coincided with me being a lot quicker (for me) in the single track this and every other lap. I seemed to find a line and a rythm I could use. I wasnt fast mind you, I was a lot faster if that makes sense.

Anyways I catch and pass John Ehrlinger and in front of him I can see Dan Quinlan, Weeks and Zak. I'll be honest, this made me a bit miffed because I really thought today's course I could hang. So I was catching them, but thats not the same as running with them. John and I sea sawed for a bit. I made a mess of one of the 90 degree open field corners by sliding across the apex instead of curving and John gave me some good advice. he re passed me in the singeltrack and I worked hard to keep the gap within reason. I jumped the log clean and re caught him , passed, he re passed when I got slowed to a crawl in some mud and I re passed across the top to the descent.

I dont know what the big deal is, but as we hit the road John is gaining on my right as we jump off the curb and starts yelling at me angrily to "Turn, Turn, Turn now" which of course just screws me all up. Luckily he leans on me and we both make it. I wont go into details because were not agreeing on the particulars. One of those he has his side and I have my side things.

I dont say a word and just keep riding. I dont know if the yelling takes a bit out of him, but as we cross the socccer field on Lazzaro rd(I think its Lazzaro) I start to open a gap on him finally and I keep looking back to make sure he isnt coming with a second wind.

If it had been the first or maybe even the 2nd lap, John could have easily erased the gap I had on him through the single track and repassed me, but on the bell lap I keep a good amount of speed through all of the corners and I run whats faster to run and I remount quickly and though I had to tap a foot on the last log, it didn't slow me down too much. I came out with some time in hand, but I pushed hard just in case.

So, another Team Lake Effect Bike Authority race in the books. And of course new challenges again. This time in the form of soupy mud and never ending deep wet rutted grass and a bit of snow. The temperature was certainly the coldest all year, but that in itself wasn't a problem, though I was uncomfortably cold the first lap or so. I wish I had a camera, but my bike and body looked like it was dipped in milk chocolate at the end. I even had 1/4" round chocolate covered spokes and a mud encrusted top of my saddle!! What a site. Getting out of the clothes and back into street clothes without trashing out the minivan was an even bigger challenge. Especially since I have a defective buckle on my left shoe making getting out of that shoe a real @$%$@#% fun time. I was trying for 5 or 10 minutes yesterday in the parking lot. Fun!! Got to get a replacement part for that soon.

Anyways, two more shots at the A's. If I can somehow bring a big enough skill set to be effective, not crash 5 times, get a horrid start, stall out in sand, go off course maybe, just maybe I wont have to race catch-up for Another race this year. Its a great workout racing catch-up I'll tell you, but I am getting a bit tired of the same old same old race report, arent you?


Gary said...

Don't worry Ray, I captured you in all your milk chocolate glory:


Ray Huang said...

Thanks Gary. You and Jack had a great race!! Two more to go.

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Nice job you guys at the latest slopfest. I hope to see you all at Copley. Ray, are you busy next Monday night? If not, the team is having a party at Ray's. Please respond on my blog.