Monday, August 16, 2010

NDuro Winter Series Race 3

I can't imagine there would be many people who would finish their mid-winter birthday standing in front of a fire hose, caked in mud, bracing themselves for the icy cold water to blast them clean so they could shiver their way back to the car and pull on thermals over the remaining mud for the 3 hour drive home. Well, that's exactly what I did yesterday... And I enjoyed EVERY minute of it!

We woke up on Sunday morning to more rain and more grey skies. The weather man's promise of a break in the rain soon became apparent as a complete and utter lie. Coach Sadie and I had gone out for a somewhat short ride on the trails the day before and at dinner that evening, enjoyed telling our comedic tales of how there was "more puddle than track out there" and "Megan disappeared right into one of them!" It was true, though. The trails had been converted into streams and lakes. You would slosh through water up to the hubs on your wheels, then a berm would appear out of the depths that we would ride up onto for a brief moment before sloshing back on the "trail". There were puddles through the Whakarewarewa forest that would swallow you up and you had no idea of how deep they were until you rode through them... The plan for the next day... Follow someone else's line so they can test the depth...

So there I was, lining up on the start line in a rather small field of riders (a later look at the results would show a lot of "pre-race withdrawals". Most people decided to stay in bed and not show up... Pansies). We took off up the long mile drive hill and I felt great for about 30secs, and then something happened to my legs and my head and I felt like I was about to fall off my bike... I kept pedalling up the hill, but I was moving backwards through the pack. It took me about 5 minutes to recover from whatever it was (possibly old age), but I was back at it. My climbing today was feeling super strong, so I was putting in some hard k's going uphill, full knowing that some of the other girls would be much stronger than me down the muddy, technical trails. As the race wore on, so did the trails. Because it was still raining, our tyres pulled away at the dirt and the rain washed it straight out from under us, creating some amazing ruts. I soon learned that the best way to deal with these were to stick my bike right in the rut, unclip my feet from the pedals and just scoot straight down the rut. WAHOOO!!!! Needless to say, there was a lot of toe-dipping to be done today. The sections that couldn't be toe-dipped were where I dismounted the bike and skidded down on my butt, holding the bike next to me... So much fun! I mean, once you're muddy, you're muddy, right? So may as well get muddier.

The highlight trails of the day would have been Hot X Buns and Gunna Gotta, where the sketchyness factor tipped the scales the most. I couldn't stop smiling the whole day! I finished 6th for the day, achieved my training goals and had an awesome time. The hosing down just made it a day to remember!

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