|Yes, that's Plymouth Rock in the background|
|The Mayflower II|
Due to construction, the race course was starting from the Middle School instead of the usual high school. I liked the new venue - it afforded better viewing opportunities for spectators, and easier access to the course. I was also excited about the weather - it was sunny, not too warm or cold, and dry. Or was it? When we arrived, we got the lowdown on the race from some friends, including a warning about the "ankle deep" mud run. "How bad could it be?", I wondered... BAD is the answer!
|Ankle deep, shoe sucking mud|
I had another infamously BAD start. I think there are two reasons for this: 1 - I have two pairs of shoes and I believe the cleats need repositioning on the mud pair; 2 - I am afraid. Yup - fear. The start at Plymouth was a long straight into a reasonably tight and fast corner, into another straight before a dog leg off the pavement to the left, and the entire thing was lined on both sides with metal fencing. I do not want to crash, and I have determined that I let this fear get the best of me...
Once we were onto the more challenging part of the course, however, I started to move ahead, first avoiding the pile up on the first uphill. Unlike some of the women in the field, I was able to cleanly ride all of the off camber up and downs (some were actually running these sections). Going into the mud section for the first time, I managed to enter with some pretty good speed, and carry my momentum all the way to the bottom of the hill - where it was a soup bowl. Literally ankle deep mud at the bottom, and every step up the hill had me worried about losing a shoe. It was definitely a slog.
I managed to progress pretty well through the race by keeping steady power. In the fourth lap, I caught and passed Melissa L - one of my main nemeses this season. I was pretty psyched about this, and given the gap I could see, knew that just riding clean would keep me ahead for the final lap of the race.
Gewilli calling out instructions, "Stay calm", "Get it clear, you have time." "Good. Now pick up the bike and RUN!". I am so grateful to him for keeping me calm in what was a pretty panicked situation!
Unfortunately, I was now chasing Melissa again, and given the gap, was unable to catch her before the finish. Still happy with the race though - except for the start and that darned stick :). I later told Bill S (the promoter) that this was the hardest Plymouth course I had raced - and we've been racing Plymouth for seven years now.
Sunday was a fun day of riding with the boys and eating WAY too much lasagna! It was nice not to have to pack up, get in the car, and travel somewhere to ride the bikes. At this point in the season though, a 3+ hour road ride just about killed me!
Looking forward to some more solid racing this weekend. Back to two days of fun on two wheels.