I'm not a late in the day racer, I was loitering around my hotel room going bonkers stewing in my own juices waiting for a 3:30 start time. Prior to lunch I figured I might as well suit up and spin out the legs for a bit. I headed North on a nice winding road that lead out to an Oregon State Campground ( Tumalo ) that Jen and I camped at over a decade ago. While we were living in California, we loaded up a camper truck and drove the length of the California and Oregon coast initially trying to get to Victoria, B.C. until nonstop rain had us looking at maps in Portland. We picked Bend, knowing absolutely nothing about it other than we knew it'd be drier than the coast. We ended up spending 5 days here and became very taken with the area so when CX Nats came here it wasn't a difficult decision to return for both years.
After some leftover pizza for lunch and a valid effort at taking a nap,(too amped) I finally rounded up all my gear and headed out to the track and was able to take a nice long warm up ride for at least an hour. By start time, the winds were kicking up and temps were dropping quickly.The track was completely saturated from overnight rains and other than pavement, there wasn't a firm spot on the course. We were lined up in a very gentlemanly manner and the whistle blew shortly thereafter. I was stoked to get through the first left-hander without incident when suddenly there were bikes and bodies everywhere at the first mud pit. I was able to avoid the drama but lost some places by dismounting and running around the wreck. The first 2 laps were a blur, it was super difficult moving forward because of traffic and limited lines in the murky sections. any feeling in my fingers and toes were gone. Braking and shifting became stabs at levers, not well executed movements. In the murkiest of sections I spotted ( more like heard )Boulderites Dan Farrell, Keller, and Pete Webber making sure I wasn't languishing or whiling away my time. At 3 to go , I could hear that Don Myrah ( former honchy MTB pro and ex-Olympian racer) was coming and coming fast. At 2 to go, I buried myself trying to stay ahead of Myrah so he couldn't deny me of my last lap. It was close, way close but I made it and was so stoked rolling out for my proper last lap. I was able to make some last few position gains and rolled through in 48th position (120? starters I think ).
This years course, while not a radically different layout than last year, couldn't have ridden any different, I kind of missed last years glacial qualities of the course. This years infield fly-over looked easy enough but with the power sapping grass before and after it seemed more like an annoyance. All in all, a solid race to finish off the season, no complaints at all, no (major)crashes, flats, illness, loss of motivation..all season.
Now, my bike, gear, hotel room,and rental car are completely destroyed, there is mud EVERYWHERE and it's so tempting just to cram it in a box, bag and leave it for another day but I've got my worked cut out for me tomorrow to clean up the bike,pack it up and ship it back to CO. First though, I'm putting on my pitting outfit and helping out the Boulder boys tomorrow morning in the 35+ race.
Hopefully I'll find some images to post here soon, stay tuned for more and thanks for coming by.