Truth be told I did not really want to make the 3 hour drive up to Cumming, Iowa for the race. My longest ride so far this year was only 45 miles and that was in friendly gravel grinding conditions. The area got a few inches of snow during the week. Most of it was either packed down frozen or quickly becoming a muddy energy sapping nightmare.
Bike setup and gear choice is always hard to do on days like this. I wanted to ride my Single Speed, but the bottom bracket was all frozen up on it and needed replacing. Should I bring my old MTB with disc brakes? Would I need the tire clearance? How muddy was it going to get? Would we get lucky and the temps stay cold enough to keep the ground frozen? I decided to ride the Ritchey Swiss Cross. I knew it was going to get a little muddy and wanted to test the bike in some adverse conditions. I did not dream the conditions would deteriorate so much out on course. I am glad I rocked the Komando 700 x 32 tires instead of larger tires. The added frame clearance helped.
The check point offered a chance to refuel, fill up those empty water bottles and have a beer. I want to know where the bacon is? The Dakota 50 has bacon and bear. Is that the best combination or what?
I arrived at the check point ready to call it a day. My legs were already tired, I could not see out of my glasses due to the mud and my back was starting to hurt. Carolynn said I was doing great and looked good. I personally thought I looked liked hell. I sure as heck felt like hell.
I started to eat some and drank an entire water bottle. I had drank two full bottles and was started to get some leg cramps. I cleaned out my frozen gears an and decided to keep going. I knew if I quit I would be very disappointed with myself. How much worse could it get?
I rolled out from the check point with clean shifting bike, three water bottles and a new attitude.
What does a wife do while her husband is suffering like dog? Mine goes to sample the local Moon Shine. Here I thought you were all worried about me.
Conditions really deteriorated especially on the hills where the sun shined on them. The flats were really not bad. Those bastard climbs were a different story. Trying to find the best line, one that would not cause your tires to sink down in the peanut butter mud, was very hard. Usually it was best to ride in the wet mud. If you got in sections that were drying out it collected on your wheels and you soon stopped rolling. On some of the climbs I actually thought I was going to snap a chain.
Results got posted. Some interesting results. I rolled into the first check point at 2:05. The last 2 times I participated in CIRREM I rolled that same check point in 2:05 and 2:08. This year I lost over and hour on the back side of the course. My best finish was 4:20. This year it was 5:19. Mostly due to conditions but it just shows how important conditioning is. You can fake short events but once you get past the 3 hour range fitness really stands out. Looks like I need some more saddle time.