Monday, December 10, 2007

Boughton Farms, The Ice Age 2

You've heard the saying be careful what you wish for right? Well, I wished for one cross race that was awful in weather, epic even and although I know it can get worse, the conditions were pretty darn hard Sunday at Team Lake Effects Boughton Farm race. Mid 30 degree temps and on and off again rain was the weather of the day. But what was more important was last weeks weather had snow and 25 degree temperatures which hardened some of the course so that there were still grooves from car tires as well as bicycles left in the ground with a slippery coating of mud, snow, ice and slush on top.

When the B's raced (congrats Tony on the win) they raced mostly on snow ice and a bit of mud I believe, but of course when we hit the course it had been raining lightly for a half hour or so. Also areas that may have been wet before were turning into ice cold bogs lap after lap (and there were only 4 long laps in the race).

After a nice warm up on the trainer I went for a lap of the course, but after a half lap I was frozen (especially my toes and fingers) and just rode back to the start. I usually go hard enough in the races that staying warm is not an issue so I left my wet thin gloves on and went without booties in case I needed to run (I wanted my toe spikes exposed) and two thin shirts. What a Mistake on all 3 parts!!

I went straight to the back for the start because I already knew I'd be the slowest across the open field. It was slippery and your bike would be taken off line at any instant and I wasnt going to go flying across the first lap. I actually stayed up the whole first lap, but I got too close to the guy in front of me and when he slipped I may have hit my brakes and my bike went out from underneath me. I didnt fall then or any other time in the race, but I just dropped the bike, picked it up and got going again.

This went on for 2 laps and I knew I was in last place and although it wasnt ideal I actually didnt really care. I didnt do that bad attitude didnt care , wanna quit sort of thing, I was just going at my pace and thats all I could do. The guys and gals around the course were great and yelling like madmen too. Especially at start finish-LOVE YOU GUYS AND GALS!!! I was just laughing at myself and it all.

On lap 3 I had a good lap and passed the poor guy in front of me who now had to take last place. I got to the road and put the hammer down, but it hurt so bad to shift that eventually I just got down to some gear and spun it out. I could have gotten to the 12 no problem and hammered it, but the wind chill factor at 25mph or whatever I was doing was just adding to my pain. My fingers would go from pain to Uber pain depending on where on the course I was. I relished the mud because it meant going slow and going hard which helped my hands and feet and body. Seriousely people, how do you dress for a day like today? My only intuition was to go hard and warm up, but I felt like I was ability and traction limited. There was only so hard I could go on the course and it wasn't enough to generate heat. But I didnt quit, though I did contemplate riding to my car, changing gloves and putting on my rain jacket and gettig back in the race to finish.

So really thats about it. Sorry-not much to tell. I did put in a last lap charge on Greg Jackson, but I unclipped 3 times and the gap opened up and that was that. What I should say was I was having a blast like a kid. I was having so much fun that it was a shame that I was racing so poorly!! I mean I wasnt really racing racing after the first 1/2 mile!! But I hope my brain has stored away the 3rd and 4th laps for 2008!!

Thanks to the whole Team Lake Effect and Bike Authority crew for a great year of cross. I loved every minute of it (the good, the bad and the ugly). Thank you to the owner of Boughton Farms and the guys who set-up two awesome courses for us there.

Its very sad its all over now for me (No Nats), but it has certainly lit a fire under my derrier for next year. Nice to be done with racing though! OHHhhh, I dont doubt next year will be very similar to this year, more learning and not a whole lot of placings, but who knows. One of my favorite sayings goes "even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes." Maybe next year I'll find a nut, or maybe were all just nuts for doing cross at all. I mean it was 30 degrees and raining and we were racing on rutted farm fields, on ice and snow and lots and lots of mud and through ice cold puddles of dirty water!! Yeah I found a nut, ME!!


Junior Bike Racer said...

Hey Ray,
I'm thinking of joining you in the A's next year w/ Tony. Congrat on a great season

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Nice job Ray, congrats on a great season. What are some of your goals next season?

Ray Huang said...

Drew-you guys are already so much faster then me!! Go for it!! It will be great to have 30 A Experts and Masters next year!

Robert-Congrats-you WON Sunday!! I haven't put too much thought towards goals yet. The few I can even start to think about are all Time Trial related. How about you? As for road, well I'll be racing all Cat1-3 races so it will be a tough year!!

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Ray- Here are my ultimate goals for 2008 season!
- 10 Mtb races
- Truxell Road TT (lonesome)
- cat 5 milk race
- Bike Authority CX C overall winner
- and maybe CX natz!
Thanks for a great season and have fun on the trainer!