I was long overdue for a mudfest. Sure enough, it rained the night before and then the skies opened up again just 1 hour before the start. It was still drizzling at the start line, so I was all geeked up in my shower cap and 16 gallon Glad trash bag. This was a tip I had picked up at La Ruta. My Niner was sportin' a mud fender, too. With this "get up," the plan was to stay warm and dry for the first lap. Even though the temperature was about 60 degrees, I was shivering.
|I would be coming down this, watching oodles of geared riders pass me by!|
The start was 1/2 mile of pavement, with a 2% downhill grade, a SS'rs worst nightmare! And so, as I was spinning a cadence of 140, I watched about 50-60 racers blow right by me. I was sooo looking forward to "choo-choo" time on the single track.
With the muddy conditions on the first lap, at least being stuck behind some slower racers kept me from doing anything stupid. And it also allowed my legs to warm up as I sure did not have a proper warm up prior. On this first lap, I watched at least 5 racers hit the deck. Luckily they all bounced back up, only their egos bruised.
The rain stopped about midway through Lap 1 and I managed to keep the rubber side down. As I pulled into the Northwest Georgia SORBA pit (they were kind enough to allow me to set up with them), Norma helped me to to get out of my garbage bag, Hulk-style! I decided to leave the mud fender on until the course dried out ... my eyes thanked me.
|Running through the Start/Finish area ... no need to remount as my pit area was just 10 yards away.|
The second lap was slicker than the first. I got "squirrely" a couple times. About halfway through the second lap, I was finally able to get in my own little bubble and enjoy the ride. I had Specialized Renegade Controls (550 grams each) on the bike. Initially I was worried how they would hook up as I generally like more tread, but I am happy to report that they worked well in the mud. Luckily this was not a rooty course; I don't believe the Renegades would have worked at all on slick roots.
The third lap was still a little slick, but by the fourth lap, the course was dry and fast again. It was during this lap that I realized I had chosen the wrong gear ... a first for me. I was too spinny. I was wishing I had an 18 on the back. Oh, well, better to be under geared than over geared.
By the fifth lap, I started doing the math. I was feeling really good, but I wasn't sure if I would have enough time to get in that 7th lap before the 4 pm cut-off. (In this series, if you come across the line at 1 second past 4pm, that lap does not count.) So I really put forth an effort on the 5th and 6th laps.
As I ran across the timing mat finishing up my 6th lap, the clock's cumulative time was 5 hours 14 minutes. That left me 46 minutes for the 7th lap. Not having a bike computer, I was only able to guesstimate my lap times; I was thinking about 49-53 minutes per lap. There was no way I could crank out a 46 minute lap. So I handed my timing chip to Kenny and went out for a 7th lap anyway. Why? Because I was feeling good and this course was fun!
I also wanted to see how my feet would hold up for a solid 6 hours of racing. I was ecstatic that they were happy for the first 5 hours: no pain, burning, numbness, or jolts of electricity. The orthotics were working! I only had a bit of pain along the outside of my right arch and I attributed that to my arches not used to bearing a majority of the weight; something that will just take a bit more time, I hope.
I finished up my 7th lap at 4:06: a 52 minute lap and just 6 minutes after the cut off. The real funny thing was when I took a look at my lap times. They were ALL 52 minutes and some change! Talk about consistency! Danielle would be proud!
6 laps in 5:14 earned me a top spot on the podium. My feet were a non-issue. I had a great NWGA SORBA pit crew. My Niner SS was perfect. The sun came out on lap 5. I could not have had a better day!
|A great bunch of people.|