The writing on the wall was clear to me on Thursday, a muddy course on Sunday was going to kill me. After two days of shoveling and using a four wheeler with a blade on front we managed to clear a course on the undeveloped side of Tuleries plaza. Temperatures we rising all week long and an estimated six inches of snow melted on Wednesday leaving most of the course clear of snow, but causing other unforeseen issues.
The Clear areas became muddy and some of the areas refroze causing ruts, layers of ice and mud. On race day the weather was much colder then for casted (no surprise there), frozen areas became larger and muddy areas became rutted from previous riders. Crunchy ice and wheel sucking mud that slurped at your wheels as they rolled through it.
The start was muddy, soft and short with a slight bend to the Left hard right on the to bricks and then a full sprint to the hole shot. Like last race I got a good jump and managed to take fourth into the hole shot behind, Mark, Songer and Lucas. Taylor was on my wheel as we rounded the second slight curve on the inside track. During warm up I had gone wide finding firm ground and no ruts, he had taken the inside line. Unfortunately, I took the inside line during the race and lost my front wheel to the frozen ground. As Taylor rolled by I bantered "take the inside line it's fast, blah blah blah", he managed to lose focus long enough to laugh just a bit.
The course rolled on top of a large berm and then dropped back down for four arduous down and back loops that crossed a mine field of frozen mud, clumpy ice/snow, long stretches of thick ice, sand, mud and cavernous wheel swallowing ruts that beat you down physically and mentally. As we turned on to the first stretch I realized quickly my legs and lungs were not going to hold on to Taylors wheel so i backed it down a bit and road my own race through the four loops of hell. As we headed up the bike path I tried to recover and get some wind back, but another group of riders had caught me. As my legs tried to push the bike along with the new group I could feel the heart rate get above my comfort zone. After riding through the drop off and headed back toward the start finish line my heart rate spiked again when I rode through the sand. Lucas was there pushing his bike and for a brief moment I was beating him.
That did not last long, after logging my first lap he caught me just as I rounded the same corner i previously wrecked. Again I found myself trying to ride my own race through the down and backs, but each time through my legs were heavier and lungs searing. The mud forced me to use an exorbitant amount of energy just to get through it, let alone hold a wheel in front of me. Once again my heart rate was way above my comfort level and I rolled along the bike path at a modest pace.
At the end of the third lap my lungs and legs were cooked. Score table showed four laps to go, I tried to convince them that only two more would work. Nothing doing. On the berm I began my puking routine, the dry heaves soon became actual bile rising from my stomach and the end of my season. After 3 and 1/8th of a lap my heart rate went anaerobic and I walked off the course.
Can't really complain much, the previous weeks did not include riding my bike except for races. No nights on the trainer, nothing but Guinness and exercising my fingers on the remote. A neglected road bike with trainer attached sits begrudgingly outside on the patio.
The race still ended well for Slimen with Mark and Josh taking first and second. Overall a great year for me, and something to build on for next season.