|I brought so much of this mud home with me...|
Writing up my race reports has been a habit I’ve developed over the past two years, and the exercise has helped me do something I am usually loath to do: evaluate my race experiences to learn for the future. Left to my own preferences I would usually just charge forward to the next race without ever thinking much beyond single-word descriptors (good, bad, ugly) for the last.
Clearly, I’m wasting time here and should just admit that I do not want to write up my weekend at Green Acres. C’mon, Merry*Death, rip off the band-aid. But let’s do it quickly.
Saturday was marred by my stupid brain. Sunday was marred by stupid complications, both self-inflicted and randomly assigned by fate.
On Saturday I was all in the wrong state of mind for a race: excited, full of expectations since last week’s race went so well, energized by the huge crowd and vibrant atmosphere, and ready for a challenging but fun course. While this state of mind might suit many a racer, for me it always spells disaster. Strangely, I do best in races when I line up completely blank, with expectations that are either non-existent or maybe even a bit negative. Throw in an element of the course that scares me a little and you have the perfect recipe for a stellar day. Yup, I’m a head case.
I started well, got passed by a few people, got passed by a few more, got worried about not being able to go with those who were passing me, started to get a tight chest, began wheezing uncontrollably, got passed by one more woman who pissed me off (would have been nice if this had happened earlier), woke up and rallied, passed her back, kept track of the men’s race leader, did the math, stopped for a perfectly timed refreshment on the run-up, successfully stayed ahead of her whilst also getting lapped by the leader and cutting the awful race short. Whew.
|Some day I'm going to do well at Green Acres...just not this year...|
Sunday brought me to the line with no expectations after the debacle of Saturday. Plus, I was tired – literally yawning at the start line. The course was a complete mud pit after hours of rain overnight. Sloppy mud around the cornfield, peanut butter mud just before the descent, slick off-camber mud/grass leading down to the chalet, thick and wet sand at the run-up, and an awful long-grass hill that kicked up to an unbelievable grade right at the top.
The self-inflicted complications: not reading the course lines correctly until about halfway into the race. I am usually much better at this, but I spent most of Sunday riding absolutely stupidly slow lines through the mud. Embarrassing, because I usually consider myself a bit of a mudder. Not so. My biggest error was in the big hill, which I was only able to ride about ¼ of the way…until deep into the race I discovered I could keep traction on my tires by riding in the weeds. Argh! So much time lost wheezing up that stupid hill!
It was in the last two laps that the random complications happened – my bike got so packed up with mud, hay, and yes, corn stalks (stupid lines) that my derailleur gave up and wouldn’t shift out of the 28-tooth cog…well, until I hit any hill when it would grind to a halt. Because fate can be so cruel this grinding to a halt started the lap after I figured out how to ride the big hill, so I had the pleasure of watching two women pass me and get completely away as I started my run/walk right at the bottom of the hill.
Band-aid pulled. Ouch!