Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2011 SCX #4 - Enumclaw

While driving to Enumclaw Sunday morning I realized I feeling pretty good after yesterday's sufferfest.  Was I still riding the high from my win on Saturday?(or was it from the late night out with Denise?) It took the pressure off Today's race.  Yeah, I wanted to perform well but really just wanted to go out and have fun.

Like I stated in my previous post, Saturday and Sunday's races were like night and day.  The events had absolutely nothing in common.....NOTHING!!  Saturday's race was held on a beautiful Fall day in the Seattle city limits.  It was a little slick but mainly flat and fast.  Enter Sunday, a nasty ass day out in the sticks near Enumclaw on course that featured a monster run-up call The Grim Reaper, ankle deep mud and free beer!  This race was the poster child for cyclocross!  In other words.....Epic!

I arrived and found that we could use the campground facilities located at the fairgrounds.  Cool, full hook-ups for the RV.  Brian and Tamara came in a few minutes later with there rig and they backed in right in front of me. 
We were setup!  I got dressed and headed out on the course.  This was going to be insane.  After riding a full lap I still had no idea how I was going to approach the course.  I rolled back to the rig, hosed down my bike and then watched the Cat 1/2 guys race.   Later in the race many of them were taking beer handouts at the top of the run-up!  This was going to be a crazy, painful race.

It seems to be how it goes with our field.  The deluge really started right when we lined up to stage.  I think it is punishment for NOT having to get up at the crack of dawn to race.  I had a 2nd row start for this one but had a decent start.  I was in 6th or 7th as we entered the infield.  I was able to keep myself out of trouble while we all jockeyed for position during the first few tight turns.  We were getting ready to take the last turn in the infield before heading to the Grim Reaper when a guy in front of me lost it and went down.  I had to unclip to keep my balance and it took me a few seconds to regroup....No problem....Wrong.  Based on info from guys in earlier races I had planned on dismounting early and running up to the base of the climb on the first lap.  It was going to be really congested and it would be hard to ride.  Most everyone was doing the same thing but one guy in front of me did decide to ride it and lost it right in front of me as I was running by.  A bunch of us got tangled up and by the time I hit the bottom of the run-up I could see Brian(Stanley) and Todd(Collision One) remounting at the top.  Shit!!  I knew it would be super hard to catch them.  They had open road to work with and could probably get a nice lead if they worked it right.

The run-up was brutal, muddy, rocky, long and steep.
This started the "fun" section of the course. 
After the run-up the course took a sharp left by all the hecklers onto a muddy single track.  It then took a sharp left into a nasty, muddy downhill section.  At the bottom the course took another sharp right so if you brakes went bye, bye you were in trouble.  Next was deep, wide mud section that was rideable but if you got caught behind the wrong person you were in trouble.   After a short climb and another descent the course made its way to the fence bordering the football stadium.  It was a muddy, straight, off camber section that put a lot of riders on their arses all day.  After that we finally made back to the grass infield, through the barrier section, into a long, wet, muddy straightaway, through a barn and back to the finish.....No problem!!!
With all the traffic jams I was in during the first lap I knew I was not going to catch the three guys up front so it was time to work on my mud skills and make the best out of it.  Chris(Audi) and Chris(Olympia Ortho) and I had a killer little in-race going on and we pushed each other hard the rest of the way. 

By the time we started the final lap I had no idea what place I was in.  I guessed that I was probably sitting somewhere between 20th and 25th.  I was surprised to here I crossed the line in 9th.  Chris(Audi) won our little race for 8th and Chris(Olympia Ortho) came in right behind me in 10th.  It wasn't my best race but it sure was a blast.....Until....

As I sat in the beer garden drinking free beer....YES, FREE....Thanks New Belgium!!  

I was pointing out to someone where I had parked.  Just then I saw a team tent go flying and thought it hit my RV.  We ran over to check it out and that tent had taken flight, flew over the top of another RV and into the back window of Chris Jackson's car.  It was crazy because there was basically no wind all day and for just one minute a huge gust blew in.  After that it was calm.

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