Nov 10 2008
On paper, this could have been a better race for me; flat, long mud bog sections, and a nice long stretch on tarmac/gravel road. The energy that the crowd and drum corps brought was incredibly motivating. Ever since my days of ultimate, I really love playing in front of a crowd and I usually rise to the occasion.
Whether I did well or not, the course was impressive. Straight start that led out to the back where about 100m of what can only be described as mashed potatoes mud waited. Over the vault – over a couple barriers – through the Yakima bubble arch and up the hill & 4 barriers through the windmill. Down and around an off-camber section off the hill to a short flat and then another unrideable off camber turn down and up to turn back in. Go off-camber (again) around the windmill hill and to the asphalt straightaway by the finish.
What is strangely missing in that description is any semblance of a break. The course was non-stop, start to finish. We’re always driving hard throughout the race but for me at least, there’s always a section or two that ’seem’ easier. Maybe those sections just play to my strengths. I don’t know. What I do know is that on the first lap I felt like I got mentally knocked back on my heels during that mud bog and never really recovered. I felt like I spent the rest of the race just trying to hang on.
For the race, I got points last week so I was able to line up in about the 3rd to 4th row. Off the start, I think I settled in around 20th or so leading up to the mud. There was a little down and up leading into the mud. How many laps did we do? 6? Well, it took me 5 laps to finally figure out what gear to be in and how to approach that section. Whomever was heckling me by that section did a very impressive job. Really. I mean that with all sincerity and respect. It’s tough to heckle properly. It’s sarcastic but funny. It’s critical without being insulting. It’s degrading while hinting at encouragement. Miss one of those and you risk sounding like an ass. So like I said, they did really well back there.
Back to the race…Over the next lap or 2 I’d moved up a little bit, maybe to 15th. Doug Evans and Martin Baker were in sight, maybe 10-20 seconds ahead. About 6 or 8 sports were between us. I wanted desperately to catch up but just couldn’t get my legs under me to bridge the gap. I thought I’d be able to make up ground on the asphalt or the mud but each lap they slipped away. After the race, Martin said he was thinking he’d be losing ground through the mud but he was passing people regularly. I told him I thought I’d be gaining spots through there but I didn’t. It was like bizarro mud.
By about the midpoint in the race, I was approaching damage control mode. I don’t have it in me today to pick up any more spots…I just didn’t want to lose any more. BTW, to everyone along the course that was cheering me on, thanks. It really helps. I’m sorry that I can’t look up from the course to acknowledge it but I definitely hear it.
About lap 4, Trebon passed me in an orange blur, churning out 6:30 laps. About a lap later a few more A’s passed me and then Sean Babcock and Solomon Woras. Solomon pulled a dick move, cutting me off on the gravel road after the windmill hill. There was 2 good tracks on the gravel road and it looked like he was sucking Babcock’s wheel hard. In trying to stay on and out of the loose gravel area, he cut over to the track I was on and we rubbed tires. There was no other traffic and nothing else in the way. He could have very easily taken the other path. It wasn’t a dangerous move but just a dick move. That’s all I’ll add about that.
The race was mercifully cut a little short to get the SS race off in time, which only helped me. Now, a day later, I honestly feel like I crashed. Deep muscle bruises. A couple cuts here and there. I just feel worked over and a little punch-drunk.
Got a week to rest until the finals at Hillsboro. Rainy forecast for the week. I need to get my legs back under me to finish up strong. I also need to clean up from yesterday. I hate cleaning up.