I have a problem. I really like the Glocester Grind. It's rocky-rooty-technical, like get-off-your-bike-and-run-hard in places, and that's when it's NOT raining. It rained the night before. Holy crap this was going to be awesome! Bike racing!!
Despite a competing MTB race on the same day (do we really have to have this problem every season, guys?), we still rallied a 19-rider elite field and a disturbing lack of SCRUBS in it. Will Crissman, Jeff Landfried and I discussed the lack of scrubs on the start line, and drew the unfortunate conclusion that anytime you can't figure out who the scrubs are, that means you're one of them.
Then the race started and I never saw like, uh, half the field again. Like I was saying.
Will and I had talked about how we were going to be chill, though, and how pedaling hard to get a good position on lap one is for losers, so it was all part of the plan. We duffed around in traffic for a while and then we got to a totally unrideable mudpit/rooty/rock garden thing. Since none of us were Kevin Hines we all had to get off and start running.
As everyone knows, the race is won during the running sections in the first ten minutes so we were all bookin it like it was a cross race when I slipped on a mud-covered slanted rock and used every part of my body that wasn't my knee to body-slam my knee into said rock.
Unlike my shoe, my knee got quite excellent traction on the rock and shaved a nice layer of itself off when this happened.
Then I had those 10 seconds where you look at a mud-covered injury you've just acquired and try to figure out how bad it is.
Eventually I determined that it was merely a flesh wound I started pedaling my bike again. Ten minutes later, the pain from my legs started overshadowing the pain from my knee, and then I started racing my bike again.
I rode behind Will for a bit and harassed him verbally, because Kevin Sweeney wasn't present and I cannot do mountain bike races without annoying my teammates. Eventually I tired of this and rode off to find other people to annoy.
I found Jeff and Paul Simoes and we hung out for a bit. I passed Jeff, he said something, I looked backward to talk to him for some dumb reason and almost rode straight into a tree. I might officially be too relaxed about bike racing at this point. Focus, Colin!
Now that I'm old I should probably start warming up, because around the 40 minute mark I suddenly started to feel GOOD. So I passed Paul with my sudden old man power and started kicking asses. I could see John Foley, who is way better than me, up the trail, which was confusing. Turns out he crashed early and was pretty much crippled or something from that. Whatever.
Then out of nowhere it started FREAKIN POURING RAIN and I had to ride even faster so I could catch up to John and tell someone how RAD it was. He humored my midrace discussion of RADNESS and the course when from slippery to greasy and it was good.
Somewhere along the line I lapped Lauren Kling who I gave a ride to the race and yelled at her about how rad it was. And since she is even more excitable than me, she yelled back about radness and hanging out. So I said "yeah come on let's hang out" and then I DRILLED IT and DROPPED HER because that's how I flirt with girls. Or something.
So lap three was pretty rad, because the coefficient of friction was basically zero and you could only turn by hitting rocks. Luckily there were a lot of rocks to hit, so I kept moving pretty good and riding with Foley (!!!). He was being a party-pooper and running all the rock gardens REALLY FAST, so I would triumphantly clean an insane rock garden, and not only was he not watching how awesome I was, he was now FIVE SECONDS AHEAD and I would have to chase him down.
But somehow I kept chasing him down, which really confused me, because the closest I ever get to him in most races is the start line.
Starting lap four he set up kinda wimpy for a turn and I had the bright idea that I would take the lead and use my mad technical skills to pull away. So I dove for the inside line, and my mad technical skills didn't realize how greasy the exit was until I was already next to him. Thus I laid it down and my bike slid under him while was trying to peacefully ride his bike around a turn. He fell on top of me and then I played a game called "apologize as many times as you can in ten seconds."
My chain was off so he got a gap, and wisely decided that maybe he should ride a little harder before I caught up and crashed him with terrible line selection yet again.
The course at this point had turned from greasy to sloggy and my legs, tires and back were no longer enthusiastic about dealing with it. I limped around for one last lap while other guys broke their bikes (Timmy D, Matty O) and snuck into 7th position overall, which is somewhat non-scrubby in a field of 19 people, I would like to think.
After the race I futilely attempted to clean my wound in a stagnant body of water, and then non-futilely attempted to drink a beer that Rob Stine gave me.
Here I am telling Christine that I am already washed, dressed and boozin' while she has just finished:
Right after this photo I squeezed her tire and almost threw up. Roadies, listen to me!
[obnoxious mtb'er elitism]
If you had incredible problems handling your bike at the Grind, and you had more than 25 psi in your tires, that's your problem. If you were afraid to go below 25 psi because it's 2011 and you still put tubes in your MTB tires...that's your other problem. For reference, I had 18 front/20 rear.[end cockery]
Any day I get a top-half finish in elite AND get to dig mud out of an open wound in a puddle is a good day. Thanks, Glocester!!