Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mud and Rain

Many of you know already that I traveled to St. George to participate in the inaugural Grit 50 Epic Race. We were all watching the weather wondering to ourselves and outloud, hope it holds! Even the morning of the race, I checked the report, mid 60's 20% chance of rain, partly cloudy. I can live with that kind of weather. As I drove in from Hurkin to St. George, I could see dark clouds out west and south. Sometimes its hard to tell just how ominous things look from a distance and sometimes those clouds never drop rain. This was not one of those times.
this is after riding 2 miles on a wet road. It helped clean off some of the mud

 There was a pretty big crew from SLC and lots from the Hoood. Jdub, Banks, Seamons, DT, Gordo on his virgin race voyage, Grizzly, D. Bagley and many others. We were all excited because this race links together some of the best desert singletrack around. Technical, fun course. Banks and I had pre-rode the first half of the race earlier in the month and I knew it was going to be tough but had no idea what was on the horizon.
But not all of it
Race started at 9:00 a.m. I enjoy that start time much better than the 6:00 or 7:00 a.m start time. I can get up have a good breakfast and not feel rushed. It was cold but not unbearable at the start. mid 40's. I had arm and knee warmers and had my windbreaker vest on with a cap under my helmet. I think I dressed about perfect for the day, a rain jacket would have been nice but not sure it would have helped much. After about a half hour of racing it started to rain. It was a steady drizzle that pretty much wouldn't stop until about an hour after the race. Sometimes it let up only to follow it with some extra heavy downpour. The first half of the race was great. I felt good, was never cold, trails were in pretty decent shape. Most of the first half is over slickrock and pretty technical terrain, there were puddles around and the rain made some of the sections extra tricky but it was all good. I kept thinking the rain would end, the sun would come out and it would be a marvelous day. Well, that thought would come crashing down as we started the Stucki Springs climb. We got into a decent pace going up the first half of Stucki, then it seemed that it got really cold. All of our hands were going numb and we could barely feel our hands. I kept saying it felt like my suspension wasn't working and my wrists were getting pretty sore. We were all together on the climb, me, jdub, banks and Gordo. Gordo blew off the front out on a mission, we didnt see him again until the finish area. Once we got to the top of Stucki, we stopped to shake out our legs and hands knowing that the decent was only going to make matters worse. We looked at each other and I think I said out loud. "What the fuck are we doing out here" At that point we all laughed and laughed. What else could you do. We were cold, wet, muddy. I have never been that wet on a bike before. Seriously, we couldn't have been more wet if we stepped into a shower fully clothed.
The first part of the downhill was good. A little slippery but not treacherous. Then we encountered the mud bog. There were people and bikes everywhere, trying to figure out how to lug there 25 lb mtn bike that quickly became a 50 lb bike covered in thick goo, wheels wouldnt roll, there wasnt any shifting going on. It was an unreal scene. We just laughed and said the F word alot. It made me feel better. We crawled our way out litterally, some parts we were able to ride, some parts we had to walk, we eventually rolled up on a volunteer who happened to be on the phone with the race promoter. He said they were pullin the plug. They were going to start pulling everyone off the course due to treacherous conditions, some even were treated with hypothermia.
We opted to continue down the road that eventually led us back to the start of the dirt and on to the main road back to the finish. Not sure how we ended up there but we did. We were cold, dirty and shivering. People were huddled around a propane heater, some with blankets, I even spotted a dude with a space blanket on. Shivering uncontrollably. Low 40's and pissing rain are not great conditions for a long mtn bike race. It truly was Epic, and Grit to say the least. I have never participated in a Cross race but have watched them. Those were perfet cross conditions. 50 minute race full speed and done. Instead we spent 4+ hours in it we were done just in a different way.
After all is said and done, I felt pretty good during the race. Only one spot of bother was on the climb to Stucki and I think that had more to do with the cold than anything else. It was a great day and a ton of fun. If it weren't for my riding buddies, I would feel entirely different. We all made an effort to try to stay together the best we could. I couldn't imagine spending that much time in those conditions by myself, that would have been torture. Instead, we had good friends, and one hell of an adventure that we will never forget. Some rides are epic because of a distance that you rode, some rides are epic for the things you overcame. This ride was epic on many counts, weather, trail conditions, bike conditions etc. One hell of a ride.
Thanks for the photo Mrs. White!
DT looks cold! Brrrrrr
Huddling around the heater. I don't think the heater was working. I saw flame but it was still cold.
The fellas, all were able to muster a smile. Thanks again Annie. 
You can check out Jdubs write up here.

Can't wait to go down next year. It can't possibly rain like that 2 years in a row can it?

Thanks fellas!

Oh, I almost forgot! The worst thing that was a result of riding in the rain for 5 hours in the cold? My right nipple got worked. In an effort to get some comments, I am going to prostitute my right nipple. For those of you that are afraid, stop here. My right nipple got rubbed completely raw. Everytime I shower it hurts. I have to shower with my hand over my nipple. Stupid little thing. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Derron said...

Ooh, not sexy! Definitely NSFW! Not the brand of nipples I like looking at (much too hairy)! Do you wear a good baselayer when you ride? That can really help prevent that. Great write up!