I met up with a group of friends that morning who were both racing and spectating (spectatoring?), and we made the short trip up to the school. After sneaking in a few practice laps, I was amazed at how much variety was packed into the compact course:
- 2 run ups (a long, blackberry bramble-filled hill, and a shorter, muddier hill)
- 2 sets of barriers
- long, painful, soggy grass/mud bog sections
- a quick downhill, followed by a quick trip on a running track
- a short stretch of asphalt for "recovery"
I spent the rest of the pre-race time chatting with my fellow racers about the mayhem that we all knew would ensue. I've learned that if there are 3 things that cyclocrossers love most, it would be the following:
- Talking about and comparing tires and tire pressures
- Talking about the weather, and it's effect on the course
- Taking photos of their muddy bikes after the race
I'm not saying it's a bad thing. In fact, I enjoy all of the above quite a bit. Exhibit A:
- I usually run about 35 psi in my Michelin Mud 2 clinchers
- This past weekend, it rained a shit-ton, and the course at Beverly Park was muddier than anything in recent memory
- Here's what things looked like post-race:
I think this pretty much summed up some people's experience on the course:
|Photo courtesy of Laurie O'Brien|
I somehow had a great race, despite all the energy-sucking mud and the slippery, technical sections. I finished 7th out of 75 or so Cat 4 riders; my best finish of the season so far. I might have had 6th place, but I got passed by a rider right at the end who was smart enough to start running through one particular muddy section earlier than I did. I know that the toe-spikes I installed the night before definitely saved me from falling on my face on at least one of the mud-slicked run-ups on the course.
|Me before I had a chance to really get dirty. Photo courtesy of SpotShot Events|
Also, Cyclocross Magazine has a great write-up of the race, including a video of the carnage and highlights (for those of you who are only interested in seeing the mud-porn sections of the video).