Nasty weather in Salisbury, NC for race #9 in the NCCX series. Here’s how it went down:
DAVID “KEVIN” BEVERLY
Well, yesterday was a fun one with the weather being cold and wet with mud being ever present. I threw on my huge mountain bike mud tires just for the hell of it. In my head it was a good decision, but in reality they were heavy, roll slowly, and added more earth to my bike than I thought was possible (see attached picture). But they did grip alright.
The race started off with the usual caravan of a first lap and with mud flying directly onto my eyeball. Good start. I was riding right behind TK hoping to stay with him and have some fun during the race, but my rear derailleur thought otherwise and would get sucked up in my chainstay at random. So TK floated off into the distance on a cloud of mud. The rest of the race was pretty much just me on an island pedaling through soup and trying to avoid snapping my rear derailleur off. To add a bit of excitement to my “race” during the final time through the barriers there was a guy practicing bunny hopping going in the wrong direction that I almost knocked over (yes, I was that far behind that everyone thought the course was open). I managed to finish the “race” with my 40lb bike and I didn’t crash or snap my rear derailleur off, success. I really appreciated George and David cheering us on during the race it always helps. Well, off to Hendersonville.
I was reading my race report from salisbury last year. Talk about opposite experiences! While last year was warm, convivial and fun on and off the course, this year’s race had…different positive points. The race forecast was 37 degrees and light rain. I didn’t think this was a big deal since the last race in Wilkesboro was colder.
Once I arrived, I got out of my car and put my bike together. It was then, that water had soaked through my canvas shoes straight to my bones, and I realized I had vastly underestimated the weather! Cold feet are a recipe for sickness, so I decided to sit back in my car for a while. It was also then that I looked at the weather for Salibsury, and not Charlotte and realized it was worse than i thought!
Anyways, I huddled in a mixture of my car and David B’s F250 until about an hour before my race, pondering the universe. Eventually, feelings of camaraderie and love for my teammates surfaced. I left the car sanctuary and headed to the start of the Cat 4/5 race to retrieve warmup jackets from TK, Rufio, and the Bev-Master. Watching them do that first lap, I wondered aloud why they were riding so slowly. Ignorance is bliss.
Armed with my thermal skin suit, 2 undershirts, arm warmers, and a jacket, I set off to do some warmup on the road, avoiding the mud. After 15 minutes, my thighs just couldn’t get warm, so I went back to my car and put on another skin suit on top of the other one. This seemed to do the trick. Remember: warm thighs = fast racing.
anyways, blah blah blah, etc etc etc. I slogged around in the mud. I think laps were 12 minutes long, which, for any noobs out there, is about 50% more than an average course. One of the laps, TK was kind enough to spray mud off my derailer in the pit and another lap he was kind enough to spray water in my mouth, as my current water bottle was caked in mud.
To say the course was muddy would be an understatement. It would be correct to say that the course was VERY muddy. Ill let one of the many wordsmiths on the team find a more apt description.
I wouldn’t describe what I did as a race. It was more like people riding around in the mud at each of their own pace. I finished 11th and I bet 45 seconds separated me from 10th and 1+ minutes separated me from 12th. I had a lot of fun though. One of my favorite parts of this sport is that it reminds me of being a kid…riding your bike down a grassy hill or just playing in the mud. I also gained valuable experience riding in it. I have to assume that next time we have a muddy race, Ill be faster, or at the very minimum, less apprehensive about it.
That said, the racing was fun, the cleaning of my bike will not be. I hosed it down when I got home but will have to investigate mud still messing up my shifting at some point in the future, before I go to hendersonville this weekend.
The day ended at Birdsong, as we helped them celebrate their 2 year anniversary. It seems like only yesterday that they opened their doors, and it also seems like they’ve been around forever considering that they pillar of the neighborhood.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out the race report from last year below: I find it interesting (or maybe suspicious) that Joey Cross was too sick to race both this year and last year).
Cat 4/5 Masters
George: 26th WELCOME BACK!
As the weekend weather reports (for Salisbury) showed a cold, soupy mess, I was very excited that the team order and my thermal suit had finally arrived. Along with some ‘team wooly socks’ from Uptown, I thought I’d be ready to resume racing after nearly a month off and a few more holiday pounds to weigh me into the muck. Damn was I unprepared. I arrived and remembered that I rode this course last year in very dry and fast conditions with plenty of straights to take advantage of. Then I started to see the mud covered Masters (welcome back George) and SS cooling down in the parking lot, and immediately had flashbacks to childhood pick-up football games in the mud and how hard it is to move. So was the case of Sun. after a half-lap with Mr. B. After a quick set-up of gear and getting a hot chocolate from friendly Faster Moustasher Joe E., I added some Jack Daniels for internal warmth and headed into Rufio’s car for warmth. Good idea for the
short-term, but it made it that much worse when it came time to start my pre-race warm up as it went from 80 in the car to about 32 degrees outside. Realizing how freakin’ cold it was and that my leg hair wasn’t going to do the trick, David B. was kind enough to lend me a brand new pair of knee warmers he had to know were about to get four inches of mud added to them. But that’s what awesome teammates do, so thank you Mr. Beverly. I owe you.
For once, the pre-race line-up started only 5 minutes before as everyone was wise enough to realize it was too cold to sit outside in leotards for 30 minutes before the race. But then right when the race began, a funny thing happened, I wasn’t cold. I was heading up the line for the hole shot but caught a few bad wheels and was forced back as others passed. It was so slow due to conditions that through the backlog of riders, I could see the race leader and eventual winner, Christian Klender, slowly leading the race a good 400 yards away. I began passing some folks and took advantage of a clean dismount and remount over the barriers to gain some ground and land somewhere in the high-teens. Then came the slop. I know my handling skills well enough, and those of the Cat 4/5 group, to know that sometimes it’s just quicker to run off canters and the run/ride ups, which I did a lot of at Salisbury. While I kept position initially, the wear and tear of
running with an increasingly heavy bike and loss of fitness took their toll over the race. I kept a nice little gap and held off 4 riders working together to pass me for 1.5 laps before my clogged cassette forced me into too low of a gear to keep my lead through the paved flat on the back-half of the course. From that point on, I turned to pursuit but couldn’t catch up to those that passed me and lost one more spot to a mountain biker through the singletrack.
More than anything else, I was really happy to stay wheels down even though there were some close calls. Running helped lessen the opportunities to crash through the tape. At the end, it was great seeing that Rufio made it through unscathed and laughed when David finished with what looked like a bird’s nest by his cranks. At the end, it didn’t matter that is was so cold and wet. It was fun and that’s why we do this. That and the post-race beers while heckling teammates like Monsour as they do their own suffering. Crews can attest to this as he showed up sick just to watch a sport he loves live. Hate to miss H-ville, but looking to close out with the last 4 races in Jan. Till then, team meetings.