Wednesday, August 10, 2011

16th Annual Hodges Village Dam

After the race... and a beer
(which allowed fro some of the mud to dry up as I sat under the hatch of the pterodactyl)

Rain on a race day... rain the night before, the morning of, during, and I'm sure after.  As I arrived and headed to register the rain let up... maybe we'll get out there relatively dry??  Annie didn't attend the race due to the forecast, and I could not blame her at all.  I called my father before heading out to tell him not to come either - no use having them be miserable in the rain.

As I was getting my gear together to head out for my warm up it begins pouring.  I pause and watch the minutes tick by... will it end??  Eventually I just jumped on my bike and started out on the course.  Puddles (and I use the term lightly) are huge, spanning the sandy road to start the race.  Following my pre ride of the course on Saturday I had commented that a bit a of rain would be nice to help firm up the long sandy road which got extremely soft before heading back into the woods... but by no means did I mean for this much rain to hit.  I'm not actually sure if the rain helped or hindered on that road... as now we weren't contending with soft sand, but rather standing water.

Ok, so the race.  At the start I ponder if wearing my glasses will do anything as vision was slightly skewed from droplets on the lens.  My field started off quick and I was content in riding the back off the start knowing there were miles to go and plenty of time to pass.  As soon as we complete the first climb into the rocky doubletrack mud rendered me blind.  Not because my glasses were covered, but because mud somehow got up under my glasses (thus rendering them useless) and into my eye.  With my right eye burning and blurry I could feel the pack pulling away - catching glimpses of them as I turned corners.  The pain was too much and with wet muddy conditions I couldn't keep taking risks, I stopped.  My camelbak isn't much help as the hose won't dispense water into my eye, so I ripped off my glove and fill my cupped hand with water and attempt to rinse out my eye.  I had some success and get back to racing, for now.  I'm still not far off as I come up to a short steep climb I see riders from my class.  I push forward, but with constant rain washing mud and sweat into my eye my vision continues to deteriorate... I start thinking of calling it.  DNF... This season I didn't want a DNF or a DFL in a race, and at this point it looked like I'm destined for one of the two.  

As I exited the forest for the stretch of sandy road the rain starts to let up a little... my eye gets some relief from the barrage of pain and I'm able to get through the second half of the course without too much hesitation due to the eye.  Before hitting the start of lap 2 the rain is back so I make a deal with myself... get to the water station, flush out the eye, and then decide if I can continue or if I have to call it.  

After flushing my eye I figure I can continue so I push forward.  As I hit the short climb into the forest I see a rider ahead of me... is that someone from my class??  Can I climb back into this??  As I come upon the rider I discover it is my friend Pat from the age group below me - he's be having issues with his contacts, so I pull him along for a while before losing him in some muddy descents and corners.  I do my best to push on all roads and strive to have a better 2nd lap.  

Throughout the second lap I am forced to make two stops to again flush my eye.  The trail was looking less like a trail and more like a river as the rains continued and puddles merged from their individual entities into a constant stream at some points.  Eventually I come upon a rider in my class pushing his bike, I pause to see if I can help, but he has a torn sidewall so I push forward.

I'm bummed that my eye held me back as I felt conditions, although WET and muddy, weren't really a factor holding me back from being able to race my race.  I am happy that the wet conditions didn't cause me to overly back off or fear the wet roots as I did at Weeping Willow.  I'm not sure where I would have ended up had I not had eye issues, but it would have been a bit more fun!!  So even though results don't indicate a success, I think this race was a great experience for me as I start looking forward to next season.

Hifi not looking so bad, but sounded TERRIBLE with sandy guck rendering my brakes useless on the second lap.
Check out the camelbak, with it's mud covered bottom and whatnot

Earlier I mentioned waiting for a package... well it arrived on Saturday before I left for the pre ride.  Extra tube and tire levers nice and secure under the saddle thanks to my sweet orange Awesome Strap... Now to get a co2 cartridge to pack in there so I can take the pump off the HiFi.  I like the idea of being able to store that stuff for quick easy access (not to mention less to stuff in jersey pockets/camelbak)
Grossness all up in the tire levers


  1. Great job sticking it out.
    Don't ditch the pump! What if you get more than one flat on a ride? You don't want to be throwing away CO2 canisters everytime you get a flat; save them for racing.

  2. Ah, this is true... so pump stays for the everyday, co2 for the race day

  3. Glad I missed this one. After wet races at Massasoit and Winstead Woods, and Domnarski was kind of wet, too, I have had it with racing in wet conditions.