Spent the evening on Saturday getting all the gear ready to go for the morning. And of course deciding 10pm the night before is the night to mount a new rear tire in the 26×2.2 flavour. In hopes of it maybe making up a bit for lack of training. Bike doping if you will. Of course this will be the first true test of the Mistress V2.0 under stress.
And woke up to minus 4 and there having been a frost. Hmm… maybe the mud will be less or maybe it will be worse. After a quick load of gear and a bit of dawdling it was of to the Sangers Silo to see if I could recall how to race or should just go back to slacking again like Dicky. The only thing of the day was …no expectations.
After the mandatory stop at Tim’s for the usual pre-race Breakfast sandwich and ice cap…large of course. Everything that would have the pre race nutritionist Stasi having fits about it causing some form of weakness. Though I let myself down a bit as I had no Guinness for post race re-hydration. Yes…there was many facepalms due to this decision. After arriving at Sanger’s Silo it was park and get the race number while catching up with Dan of Substance Projects, and kind of meander around a bit and make some half-assed effort at getting ready. Because when you aren’t taking it seriously it can be difficult choosing vest or no vest for racing in.
Keep in mind Team NFI Racing is not of the Sausage Suit wearing fraternity or is that cult??
So after much delay it was finally to the line and off we where sent by Dan. Since I wasn’t really race ready, this was more of a good hard ride that eventually evolved. Evolved thanks to the conditions. Because with it warming up the frost thawed and everything turned to mud before the start. So the no race plan or expectations became the plan as the claggy mud…it’s more like what one finds in the UK. Or so I have been told. So the whole plan of trying to be smooth and keep the flow became the way to go.
5 riders in my age group on the first lap where taken out simply by the mud. As we crossed the farmers field I spotted my target to catch. Which as I crossed the field of much could tell I was gaining on. Then as I passed him he was pulling the plug as the mud was jamming his wheels. So while I admit I had been a bit worried that running a 2.2 instead of a 2.3 as I had made an error in ordering turned out to be the right choice. As being slightly smaller gave the rear wheel more mud room to function.
As I headed out for lap number 2 was told I was apparently 6th overall. While I had no clue how I had pulled that off it was out for the same as the first lap. Trying to keep smooth and consistent as anything else would increase the chances of having to drop out in these conditions. At one point was pin-balling off a few trees.
After the second lap mud slog which required a few dismounts and hoof it as it was more efficient then trying to ride. It was the last long haul across the huge field to the finish. To which I initially heard I came fourth but when the awards where given it turns out I earned a 3rd place.
Unfortunately no podium pic of me on the 3rd step. Maybe it is for the best as I wasn’t exactly following the Dicky’s Podium Rules . And thanks to my plan to fail the night before there was no Guinness in hand for the podium. Though I must say the Cowbell as the prize is way better then another medal. Because it adds character and is less ordinary then another medal.
In the end the Mistress V2.0 did well. I was impressed at every turn how it rode. The tires did their jobs despite the conditions.
The only thing that let me down on the day was the Shimano SPD’s which no matter what could never really be unclagged. SO the only equipment change will be switching to Time clipless pedals as everyone I know who uses them has no problems in this type of mud.
Now to begin actual training for East Cup #2 in Cornwall on May 11th.