The rain is falling lightly, the sun is still trying to poke thru the thick grey/black ominous clouds, the wind is present but not ‘gusting’ and I am trying to put some food in me before the race starts. I’ve already given myself a bit of handicap (I forgot my ‘clip’ shoes) so I am riding today’s race on Bonniers (Brandons friend and my savior for the race) magnesium flat pedals. Race director gives us instructions something about be cautious and careful about lightening strikes, horn sounds flag drops any my heat is off.
The angry buzz of knobby tires fills the rain soaked air, pace is fast, the group is large, but thins considerably on the first punchy climb. 6miles later we are on the dirt. The roads are wet, and filled with puddles, mud, and sand all the items chains and bearings enjoy. The first 25miles are in the books, and at the top of the summit I stop and put on my arm guards on(just in case my bike wants me to high five the ground again) I begin the descent from 10,000+ and get to pass thru the clouds – which was pretty awesome. All the folks who passed me on the dirt downhill – I am now catching up and passing on the road, as I pass they give shouts of encouragement like ‘it’s gotta be the shoes’, ‘wow, your riding in those’, ‘when did ADIDAS make cycling shoes’
Right turn and the next 20 miles are climbing, with 85% of it being on dirt. I grind up the KOM area (thinking to myself “Shutup Knees! Do what I tell you!!!”) this is the hardest part of the course for me, because my cadence is slow, my chain and bottom bracket are popping, creaking and making sounds only heard during earthquakes. Next 15miles are much easier and the mileages to go signs are good at keeping my spirits up.