Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hillsboro Cross!


Blessed with another rare day of November sunshine, some lamented about having left the sunscreen at home for fear of promised rain. While Sunday was a beautiful day to race in Hillsboro, our bikes were not thanking us for this experience. Sounds coming from our steeds would make any bike owner cringe. A rain soaked venue gave us huge puddles to wade through and an off camber section by the team tents with no good lines by the afternoon. Just for fun, our course masters added a set of stairs to nowhere with a muddy slope at the top, leading you back to the flat ground.
Similar to the Astoria race, Hillsboro is known for deep muddy corrals, barns and livestock poo. We did avoid the shoe eating corrals this year (and the poo) but a new section was added with an entire barn filled with a 1 ft. layer of sawdust. Kind of like riding through a children’s bouncy house but less fun. Sawdust sticks to everything muddy making little bark dust smores on your bike. Hope you packed a bucket of water and a brush.

Around 1:00 PM as I made my way back from cheering to warm up for my race on the trainer, the wind kicked up, sideways rain dumped and I swear I heard Aunt Em calling for Dorothy. An hour later the sun peaked out and our sticky course had softened once again, ready and waiting for the next stampede. Finally securing my first call up in the Master A’s, I start in the front row with Sue Grandjean (Showers Pass), Jill Hardiman (Existential) and Julie Swearingen (Mou ntain View). Missing in action was Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas). Out for four weeks with a wrist fracture from Astoria day 1, she still showed up to cheer us on. Thanks Amy!

Our start on bumpy ground led onto pavement with everyone jockeying for position. The first set of S turns in the next grass field area proved too much for some and Christy Love (Team S&M) was the first to crash out, dropping her chain. Between the barns we fly, hitting a hard right turn on pavement into another barn. Taking this corner too wide and fast, another rider slides out, hitting the metal fenc e and then hitting the ground with her head. Pushing on, we tackle the gauntlet. A long off camber hill with a top & bottom line if you could call them that after 1000 riders trampled it all day. I tried to ride it but found it too chunky and just fell over. Just as fast to run your bike through here and I am neck and neck with Sue. Through the team tent area, climb the stairs and rol l through to the pavement sprint again. I am in 3rd position, moving into 2nd ahead of Sue. Lots of gas in the tank but my shifting is going crazy. CHUNKA DA CHUNKA DA CLICKA DA CRUNCH! Chain locking and unlocking, I couldn’t hold any gear but my little one after lap 2. I still had my big ring for the long sprints, but it was too hard of a gear for the slow technical sections. This race is known for derailleur ripping and chain breaking, so was I just hopping to make it to the pit before disaster struck, leaving me on foot. Behind me, I hear people cheering for Jill. For once she had to chase me for 3 laps and now I don’t have any gears to run away with. Crap. Getting passed. Into the pit, drop my Kona, and off I go on Pinky (her fan’s were happy to see her in service again). Sliding a little in the turn out of the pit, I realize my tire pressure is too high but there’s nothing I can do about it now. With a leading position now lost in lap three, Christy finds me, having worked her way back from the crash. With one lap to go we are back and forth again. Passing the pit for the last time, I see my junior team mate Keegen holding my Kona, all cleaned and ready for an exchange I wasn’t prepared f or. Too chancy. It’s a judgment call and I decide to ride it home on Pinky. Christy is right next to me as we hit the barns again. Trying to pass but safety won over to avoid a pavement crash. When we roll into the final lumpy muddy mess of a U turn into the finish, the chunky peanut butter mud made finding a line difficult. Even with a final push, she beat my by a bike length, leaving me with an 8th place finish for the day.

In closing, Pinky would like to say thank you to her fans for their support since her retirement to the pit. It was a good race and she was just happy to be part of the team. See you all at Barton Park.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Nice smiles!