I've had a bit of time to reflect on my performance in the cross country race over the July 4th weekend, and while one can always want more/better/faster I can't really complain about a 3rd place finish.
Things were moving along really well starting at about 12:15p on Saturday with me having just won the short track race then finding out I'm the the state champion as a result, but about 12:30 things started turning pear shaped. You see, that's when the rain started and didn't really stop until about 11p that night. It was no gully washer - just a steady light rain that kept going. This sucked big time because Muscatatuck does not really do well with rain. There is a lot of tree cover that makes even the smallest amount of water sit for days waiting to dry out. While the local trail crew had done a great job of changing things to mitigate that, the simple fact is that the trail is mostly a dense clay that turns into peanut butter when wet.
There was a sparkle of hope when a race day report from a friend who had already ridden a lap came back the trail wasn't THAT BAD and his bike wasn't loaded with mud to back it up. Unfortunately, my pre-race recon did not give me warm fuzzies and I was on the limits of safe low tire pressure. Anyhoo, I had a great start and took second into the woods. I felt like I was cornering like a sissy but had good climbing legs so I pushed when I could. After superstar Slowinsky passed me (he apparently felt bad early on) Gentle Ben and I settled in to a good battle for 3rd/4th with him cornering better than me but I seemed to be climbing better. I took my opportunity to push it on a climb and created a gap to Ben. I was able to hold it to the line for third behind untouchables Matt Battin and Slowinsky.
After about 3 hours worth of cleaning, the talley was one spent chain, two rebuilt (but semi-worn out anyway) jockey pulleys, one likely destroyed crank arm, and perhaps the worst is what appears to be blown BB bearings. I'll dig into that this week.
Fast forward a week and I was finally able to toe the line on my road bike for the first time this year. Alas, a flat tire only 15 minutes in and no spare wheels meant my day was done. At least I was able to keep upright when the rear went flat leading into a corner. Even better was that nobody went down getting around me as I had to straight line the corner.
On to Sunday's MTB race in Warsaw at the great Winona Lake trail, I took third into the woods after Dave McComb lit up the start. Matt Light was setting a mean pace and him being a local to the trail I was not in any hurry to take a pull. It didn't take long for Matt's two teammates to bridge up so I was, um, outnumbered. 1 vs 3? Sweet. I probably rode a little too hard trying to stay 2nd wheel in front of Isaac Neff and Chad Salla, which was remedied when my front wheel washed out in a sandy corner and they came around. This turned out to be good since I settled into my own pace and got bits of micro-recovery. By the end of lap 1 I had bridged back up to Isaac and Matt but Chad had already checked out. I was able to get around them to start lap 2 and eventually brought it down to 25 seconds, but Chad was able to drill a section or two and stretch it back out to a minute.
If I hadn't had a set of BB bearings seized, I would have won. Totally. I swear.