I signed up for two races on Saturday, the 8:00am Men 4/5, Men 4/5 40+, and the 10:45am Men 40+ Cat 1-4. I knew that the second race would be very fast, and that I might finish a lap down or even be pulled from the race. So my intention was to race the first race as hard as I could and then use the second race as additional training.
As all things Supercross, snow dropped on Thursday, making for quite difficult conditions. It seems that every time I register for Supercross, the weather and conditions ends up being terrible. I guess that makes me insane, since I am expecting different conditions each time I register.
One of the first to arrive on location, we parked and started to get ready. Fellow Long Island riders from Mineola Cycling Team showed up and we all ended up parked close by. Misery loves company. Lionel from Brands car pooled with me. I think we had seven from Long Island in the first race.
We finally got out for a warm up lap, and right away, we knew this was going to be brutal. The course was covered in snow and mud. We could not ride many of the sections. After our completed recon lap, we rolled down to the starting line for our call up.
Our race started out on a paved roadway which quickly turned to gravel, and then onto the running track. Hanging a right off the running track, we fell into some very soup like muddy sections. Due to the shear volume of riders, riding the mud was not much of an option for us in the mid pack area. A quick dismount and our feet sunk into the mess completely submerging our ankles. The rest of the lap was a foot race. I only got back on the bike for very small sections, including the sharp downhills. I would hop on and let the bike roll down the steep slope without my feet clipped in, letting the bike pick the line through the ruts.
I was able to skateboard through the off camber section by the building. The downhill foot magically clipped in, the uphill foot acting as the push off leg, just like riding a skateboard. There was basically only one path through this section, while the later races had more pathways carved out.
After that we dropped down and had to climb back up to the plateau by registration. At the end of this muddy section we were presented with the barriers. Clearing the barriers was a struggle since our feet and bike were weighed down by all the mud we had accumulated.
After the barriers a small little tricky muddy descent then back on the gravel to the finish so we could head back out for two more messy laps. Clipping in required repeated pounding of the shoe on the pedal in order to clear the mud out. This gravel section provided much relief since we could now pedal a bike and not run. While pedaling the bike I was accompanied by the sounds of brake rotor and the crank grinding on sand, mud, and whatever else had stuck to the bike.
On my final lap, coming off the track, I was able to ride that whole muddy section to the end, down the small hill, around the left hand turn, and half way up the hill on that back side. That is until I bogged down and had to get off and run again. To accomplish this, when I made the right turn off the track, I decided to stay in the wet soupy area. It seemed to offer better traction even though my wheel was submerged two thirds of the way. As I slowly rolled through the mess, the mudd kept bubbling air pockets up to the surface. I was getting a bit apprehensive, thinking that the Trash Compactor Monster, a Dianoga, from Star Wars, would send a tentacle up and pull me down to my doom. That might have been more merciful.
On the last lap, I had Lionel in my sights, I had passed him on lap two, but he somehow got back in front of me. He, and another competitor were only a few feet in front of me, but the soul sucking mud prevented me from closing the gap. In the end, I finished 57th. I won’t complain considering these conditions do not suit me in the least. Since injury in my college days, I can no longer run long distances.
I skipped my second race. My bike was completely trashed. In fact even with a power wash at the site, I spent all day Sunday cleaning it up. I still have to deal with the bottom bracket as it still has gunk in it. I hung around and watched the other races, all the way up to the Pro men. I was a bit giddy being able to see the likes of Jeremy Powers, Kerry Warner, Curtis White, etc, all within a few feet of me. “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy…”