Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Bog 80

There is only one reason to wake up at 5:00am on a dark, sub-zero autumn Sunday morning - to mountain bike 80 kilometres through the muddy foothills of Alberta for the legendary Bow80.

Cindy and I started together and were within speaking distance for the first quarter of the race. I tried, but couldn't hold her wheel and eventually dropped back. But that didn't mean I was lonely. I played leap frog with Dave and Kham for a while. Some familiar faces cheered us on from the side of the trail.

Though there were stretches of beautiful, dry trail, the thing that most people will remember about this years race was the mud. The mud was everywhere, though it was the mud on Tom Snow that resonated with most. At the best of times, people ride Tom Snow fully expecting to have to take their bike (and themselves) to the carwash for a good cleaning afterward. The notorious bogs along the trail can stay saturated for the entire season, even through to September. A healthy dose of precipitation the week prior was enough to fully charge them. Adding to the fun, a summer of use by equestrian enthusiasts added a little something special to the boggy mix.

Despite missing the start and having to make his way through the traffic jam that accompanied the mass start into singletrack, Cory Wallace pulled off a handy victory. Craig Stappler took second and Jon Nutbrown was third.

I heard a lot of complaining about the difficulty arising from the muddy stretches. I think that stuff just makes it more Epic.

I felt like I rode hard and that it was a pretty good day for me, all things considered. Yet, when I looked at the timing board and saw that it was approaching the nine hour mark. One of these days I'd like to finish a race feeling like I crushed the field, instead of getting creamed and feeling like I'm just scraping through. But hey, Indiana Jones was always just barely making it through, so maybe its not so bad afterall. It's just awesome to be out there.


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