With rain and cold in the forecast it was time for the first muddy cross race of the season! The course looked fun, but it didn't make a difference with all the running that was necessary each lap.
Saturday morning I rolled out of Brooklyn in style with a rental Dodge Caravan SE! It was good to be back in a mini-van dicing and dicing in the NYC traffic. Soon enough I was on the Verrazano bridge and heading into Jersey.
I arrived to a muddy parking lot w/ lots if guys running through ankle deep mud! Started the pre-race routine and soon enough found myself lined up in the 19th position. Not quite as good as Louisville. The gun was off and I was maybe 25th off the pavement....a surge of riders passed me, but I didn't want to blow running to early....eventually I started picking guys off slowly, but by then the gaps were huge and I wasn't making up time fast enough. I finished 22nd.
Bill Street made the drive along with a friend. Mark was a huge help as he manned the pits for me. I was taking a bike every half lap and it made a huge difference being able to ride the pits instead of run through the thickening muck out of the pits. Thanks Mark!
After hours of cleaning bikes and clothes it was off to the Olive Garden. Driving in Jersey is tough especially when you don't know where you are going and its dark and raining. You can't make a left turn without turning right first....anyway it took forever and I was bonking waiting in line for my never ending pasta bowl....not good
Sunday was more of the same. A shortened version of the same course and another 19th position call up. A better start had me off the pavement in the top 20. It was a faster course Sunday more riding in a group and a little less running. Again it was pure power trying to get through the thick mud. Still a lot of running, but as the course continued to dry and widen you could ride more and more. Again I was changing bikes every 1/2 lap. About 2 laps in I took my bike, powered through the mud and as soon as I hit hard ground again realized I had flatted...probably on the previous 1/2 lap in one of the deep ruts. I lost a few positions with the flat. Then I didn't get an ecxhagne the next 2 times through the pits. More lost time. I also got tangled in some course tape right before coming onto the pavement for the start finish somewhere in middle of the race. All in all I felt better on Sunday, but didn't go as good. Finished 24th.
Not the best weekend of results, but with tough conditions and very little support I did the best my legs were capable of...today it'll be cleaning, doing laundry, returning the rental van and possibly checking out Bay Ridge home of Tony Manero!