I don't have a lot to say about this race, except the 4 millions words below. When I got to the venue Thursday morning to watch some heat races and pre-ride a little it was a complete sloppy mess. There was standing water in spots close to 4 inches deep. All the off cambered sections in the woods were mostly not ridable. When I set out for my noon to noon-45 open course ride I could tell that the temps had already started to fall. By the end of my 30 minute 2 lap pre-ride the snow was falling at a pretty good rate. Most all the grass was covered. Washed my bike at the venue and headed out for dinner and a easy night of rest.
Waking up Friday to temps in the mid teens I knew the course would be frozen solid. Watching the 35-39 heat races was a preview of what to expect for my final. Looked dangerous to both bike and rider. The sound of carbon wheels smashing into and through frozen ruts full of ice was not a pleasant one. There was also the constant sound of the plastic course stakes that riders were running through and breaking. Crash, Smash, Pop, shit fuck shit. It sounded constant and expensive. Great.
They changed the course a little bit before our race to make it as ridable as possible. Mostly by widening the course in the worst spots to add a lane on one side or the other, or both. Still tricky as shit to ride at speed.
So here is what I have to say about my race. 25 degrees with a wind chill right at zero. It was pretty cold but with the right cloths it wasn't terrible. I randomly drew number 11 for a 2ND row start. At the sound of the whistle we were off pretty quick down the start straight. Entering the grass downhill and into the first ruts was a true butt-puckering experience. I followed a wheel all the way to the right splashing through the only mud whole that wasn't frozen. Several riders went down in the first straight. I stayed up but lost some spots. You had to ride in a zig zag pattern through the ruts to not fall into them. This was the best way through but only worked about 50% of the time. The other 50%, when you caught a rut, you would usually sling shot off the course or almost go down depending on how fast you were going.
Ending the first lap I was surprised my tires still had air as I had hit rim very hard many many times. Half way through the second lap after going off course a few times I noticed my front derailleur wouldn't move any more. By the end of the lap, the rear would only shift through 4 gears. They were frozen from the one and only water whole I went through on each lap. Had to go to the pit on the 3rd lap for my back up bike.
Now on my back up bike I sort of changed my strategy from trying to go fast and take chances, to slowing down and riding clean. Both strategies yielded almost identical lap times. Unfortunately all were a little on the slow side for the race.
Last two laps were uneventful. Crossed the line 20Th out of 29 starters. Considering my legs felt pretty good I'm not to pleased with the result. If I could sum up the race in one word it would be - shitty. Not because of the venue or layout. But more because of conditions. I really didn't find anything fun about the race and the constant worry of breaking a wheel or worse didn't help.
On Saturday I pitted for Josh Johnson who was in the 35-39 race. It was much warmer(mid 30's and sunny) so it was getting nasty again pretty quick and needed a bike change every other lap.
My overall experience for the weekend was actually pretty great. Hanging out at the venue watching other people and eating someplace different every time I ate. It was fun. Hopefully next year the course will be less "epic" for my race as it was called a few thousand times.
I guess in some regards you could say I got TeamSeagal on top... Courtesy of CXMAGAZINE.
Riding the choppy run up.
More Sketchy frozen ruts.
Run up after barriers.
Here is a link to a much much much shorter version of my story for Friday at worlds. Plus a few good pics. Crooked helmets are not a good look...