Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ridin' Dirty

(Picture of Tim courtesy of Pat Not Doyle)

All week I prayed that the long-term forecast was wrong. Alas, when I checked the forecast on Friday, it appeared unavoidable that the weekend would be plagued with rain. So much for some monster road rides; I’m not really in to long, cold, wet rides.

The Iron Lung mountain bike race was scheduled for Sunday in Canmore. The forecast there was even more dismal than what was anticipated in Calgary, with the possibility of snow on Sunday. Still, the thought of a short, cold, muddy ride was strangely appealing. Hey man, I had nothing else going on and Erik and most of my new biking friends would be there.

My race time and route were modified (to an easier course) to accommodate a few people in the novice category, so I was offered an opportunity to upgrade to a higher category and ride the regular course. I took it (it was just a matter of time anyway – it is easy to podium when there are only 3-5 people in your category). Even at 9:30am, it was warm enough (barely) that I rode in shorts and short sleeves. The course was surprisingly nice, given the prior week’s weather. Just enough mud to make you feel and look like a superhero, but not enough to be a nuisance.

As usual, it was a small field – but the faces were familiar, including the girl that beat me at the Buffet of Bacon, Pain and Suffering. She was wearing a cotton shirt, which I thought was unusual for a rainy day. Then again, who signs up for a mountain bike race when the forecast calls for rain and snow? I’m not in a position to judge. Plus, I hoped that maybe some of that cotton chafing might slow her down.

For an hour and a quarter, I chased that girl down…to no avail. Just under 40 seconds separated us – a gap that I didn’t have a hope of closing on this course. I was happy with second, this time. Pat Not Doyle suffered a mechanical problem that caused him to pull out, but Mark hammered out a great performance in the Novice men.

The rain gods unleashed their fury on the course in the hours that passed between the end of my race and the start of Erik’s. They’d be riding dirty. Spectating with the other 'wives' from the mud patch that constituted the 'feed zone', I watched with the other spouses as the riders passed by, lap after lap, progressively dirtier.

Mical, who was fresh off her Canada Cup win last week, caught many of the guys within the first six minutes of the race, despite being staged two minutes behind them. She finished 15 minutes ahead of her closest competitor in a two hour race. She’s so awesome.

Erik took a podium position, despite a few setbacks. He was just behind Devin, who also put in a solid ride. Pat sure gave them a run for their money on his singlespeed. Jon was back in form and it was great to see him feeling good after the race. Tim looked happy and natural with his face covered in mud. Keith opted for a short race - it seems he did not like riding dirty. Trish, Tom and Craig rounded out the deadgoat effort. Alana cleaned up in the expert women category. Shawn was also in good form, taking second in the men's elite.

Not bad for an otherwise crappy Sunday.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home