Monday, March 28, 2011

Grit 50 race report

We'd been pretty cold for a while...... somewhere out on Stucki I got cold enough that I thought getting off and walking might not be a bad thing to try and warm up my feet and hands, and it was effective. It was on my walking hill that some of the travel group came back together - Gordon came by, then Banks and Kingdon, and I jumped back on, wanting to make sure good company remained part of the equation the rest of the way in.

Cold is hard to manage on a bike, there aren't a lot of options to try and mitigate it, so you don't manage it, you just deal with it. Annie had my rain gear out at the 2nd aid stop, and I declined when she offered to swap it out for the windbreaker I had on. Would have done that differently had I had another 30 minutes of hindsight available. Soaking wet and cold is a little harder to manage on a bike, and not unlike plain old cold, there also aren't a lot of options to mitigate it, so you also just deal with it - you deal with it a little harder.

That's where we were at the top of Stucki - soaking wet (really, you can't picture how soaked we were), cold, and "dealing" more than racing - but we'd topped out and were headed back down which wouldn't help the cold, but would help progress feel a little faster. That's when we hit it - or it hit us - the mud bog, the first of many, but to give it it's due, this first one was the mud bog. Took 10 yards to gain 30 pds of the stuff on the bike and shoes. It was immediate pushing, then, when the wheels wouldn't roll anymore, it was dragging, carrying, or a number of other techniques I saw to try and get one's self and the bike through the mud bog and the short but steep hill it crawled up. It was here that we started to laugh a little bit, between the cursing that we all conceeded seemed to be more frequent than usual - laughing was the only thing to do really - there are days that are memorable because a trail was great or you felt particularly strong that day, and then there are days that are unforgetable because of the conditions and the amount of "deal with it" required. This day was quickly becoming one of the latter - a day you'd never get yourself in the middle of on purpose, yet there we all were, a raceful of us caught out there in a hard, cold, desert rainstorm, grinding it out.

I thought the cold started to let up a bit, was able to recover some from feeling nothing more than stubs on the end of my arms that couldn't shift or brake without guiding the contact points there with your eyes - but the rain didn't let up, and however poor the condition of the riders at that point, it was those trails that were getting the worst of it. I don't know how long it will take them to be good again, but suspect it will be a long time, they were ravaged. We rode and pushed and laughed and limped along till a race staffer informed us it was over and to pack it in. So we turned and rode back to the finish.

The days race turned out to be one against the weather, and only the select few uberfast guys beat it. Hat's off to them. To the rest of us that stayed out till they were pulled off - no less respect, I thought the guts to grind in those conditions was a better satisfaction than anything a results sheet could have provided. I fall into the camp that thought the race promoter did one hell of a job in a situation where it was impossible to make the right decision for every racer out on the course. Have some friends who came out on the short end of the decision, but think it was the best for the most - kudo's to Cimarron and crew - thought they executed really well.

Photo's in no particular order...

The day made for a great commercial for the Look Quartz pedals - use them for both MTB and CX - waited to have a problem getting in/out of them all day but they were extremely efficient in clearing mud - never had an issue.

Don't know if I can attribute the saddle sores to these dirt clods I didn't know I was sitting on, or the lack of saddle time I took into the race, but I've got a few more than a few that I'm "dealing with".

Tyler and his crew along with Banks. Tyler had the toughest go of any of us - snapped his rear derailer off in the mud.

Kingdon - dude rode strong.
Banks and Super Crewer wife Karee. Banks rode strong and kept me positive Post race - Gordon-who also rode like a bull, Kingdon, Banks and myself - it was fun and merited smiles, it was just a unique fun.
The ill fated ride away from the 2nd aid stop from where my wife took this shot - while holding my rain jacket that I'd told her to keep. Less than 30 minutes away from conditions going real south real quick. Next up for me will be Cortez, and have a pretty dramatic amount of bike fitness to gain if that's going to be a good outing.


dug said...

it's like you're training to be navy seals or something. hard men.

Nate said...

Good write up, cant express enough how much fun it was riding with you guys. It truly made that day fun instead of completely miserable. Lets do it again next year, hopefully without the mud and rain.

erik said...

hearing about all the bonding makes me almost feel like I wish I was there ... almost. Good thing the sky provided hydration, cause those waterbottles didn't look to appetizing. It looks like to be able to rejoint the group, I am going to have to build up some character to match what you all were force-fed. I hope you are warm now.

South County Ciclista said...

Seeing the damage to the bikes and trails, I am glad I wasn't there.

Jason said...

Dug - believe foolish is probably the better descriptor.

Nate - was a pleasure to ride and curse with you that day, seriously.

Riessen - welcome to the webernetz. You picked a good day to skip the outing.

Brandon - You should be very glad - still haven't lifted the hood to see what needs replaced on the bike - afraid to.