On an effort scale between 1 and 10,
you have reached 11.
A young rider from Trusty Switchblade dry heaved, twice, during the 8:50 AM race. Awesome. For some reason, that made my day. Our rainy arrival at PIR for Cross Crusade race #4 blossomed into sunshine and clear skies. Being a Portland native, I knew it wouldn’t last. . Mother Nature spent the day playing RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT with wind and wet. Walking the course, I got a sense of what kind of experience today's race would be. Muddy, flat and fast with a chance of down pour. Hills were short and rideable. Long straight sections allowed for speed. Tube popping pot holes, a huge deep puddle known as The Lake, and barriers on the run up were in place to slow you down or trip you up. No place to rest. Period. The sky dumped all it had including tent lifting wind during the 1:00 PM race, but slowed to a fine sprinkle for the ladies line up and hour later. Starting in the third row of Master A’s gave me a good look at my competition for the day. A few new faces but the usual suspects were on board for this road race on a cross course. All of my pre race shivering stopped once the whistle blew and the chase began. Julie Swearingen (Mtn View Cycles) got the hole shot, leading way out ahead and I never saw her again (she won). Up and over the cement slab barrier, I quickly passed Sue Granjean (Showers Pass), leaving her behind for a few laps. Mud in my eyes didn't slow me down. My chase group morphed into Margie Bradway leading (Team S&M), Christy Love (Team S&M) and Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas). We pushed the whole time and Margi was on fire, leading the group for most of our 5 laps. A muddy technical section on the back of the course slowed everyone down (barely) each lap and allowed me a little catch up time. Rate of effort is a 9 and rising. Come on legs! Get a move on!! By lap 4, we dropped Christy but Sue and Sarah Eustis (Bike Attorney) caught us to join the chase. On the long flat sections we actually formed a pace line. A fan yelled, ‘Sarah, they are DRAFTING YOU!” Bet you never heard that in a cross race before. At the bell lap, Sue and Amy were able to get ahead into the lead positions before the team tents that led to the barrier run up. Margi took a hard inside line trying to pass a slower rider and both collided, leaving them on the ground. Just me and Sarah in the chase group now with Amy and Sue just ahead. Sticking on Sarah's wheel, I was going to get her no matter what it took. Up the hill, over the barriers, then back down the muddy hillside to a right turn on to pavement. On this final right turn that leads to the finish, Sarah got stuck behind another rider. My sprint door opened and I jumped through it. Up out of the saddle, Click, Click, Click go my gears! Much to her surprise, I flew past Amy for a 5th place finish. No crashes, no bleeding and lots of mud. What a great way to finish my year of road racing, short track and cyclo cross at PIR.
We had a great team turnout! Dave, Greg and Jeff sucked it up in the rain and Estaban's dad, John Hardiman even turned out to race. Juniors Keegan, Dey Shaun and Estaban got their share of mud too. Keegan told me after his race he lost the use of his rear brake and still finished. He is turning out to be quite a confident rider. My partner in crime Sarah came to get some even though her cold was still hanging on in her chest. Muddy and smiling. Great way to spend a Sunday.