Monday, August 8, 2011

Hodges Dam Race Report

I wish I could swim better.  After racing through what felt like waist deep mud puddles, trails them could have been running streams, and strong rains for 2.5 hours, I am not so sure I was pedaling as much as I was swimming.

I like hodges dam, I raced it for the first time last year, and loved the punchy climbs and quick turns which are mixed in with the roots and rocks.  It is a good course for me, and last year I placed 2nd, and as I was the first Massachusetts resident to cross the line, I was the Pro Open Massachusetts State Champion in 2010, and I was looking to extend this into 2011.

The race was filled with plenty of great racers, and with overnight rain continuing to the start of the race, I knew it was going to be interesting.  Last year at this race, it was extremely dusty, so although this was going to be totally different, its certainly in the cards for New England mountain bike racing.  As the whistle blew to start racing everyone took off, I was able to jump into about 5th position or so, and as we went through the first round of shallow puddles I had to keep my eyes closed, a mixture of dirt, mud, water, and who knows what else was pouring into my face.  When we made it to the single track, the full extent of the rain appeared, and we were blasting through deep puddles.  The riders in front of my were blowing water about shoulder height as I was trying to ride in their wake.  Things started to get better as it opened up a bit, but still my eyes were constantly getting covered with dirt and water I was kicking up, and most of the time I had about one eye closed and the other half shut.  As we came around the first lap (of five) I was sitting in about 5th place, and kept pushing on through the streams that were once trails.

As the laps wore on my bike was getting pretty worked.  On the fourth lap I noticed that my rear brake stopped working, and to make matters worse it actually completely shut on my rotor, and when I got off my bike to spin my wheel it only managed to rotate about a quarter turn.  So with chain suck and a stuck rear wheel my lap times got slower, which was okay, but then the front brake went too, so at this point it was just about finishing.

I came across the line in 6th place, not where I wanted to be, but thats okay, I still managed to have fun.  I wish I could have continued to be the Mass. state champion, but I will be back next year for sure.  

To date, I believe this is the wettest race I have done, I have raced in deeper mud and worse conditions, but this had the deepest puddles, and the least amount of dry ground!

Speaking of dust, this is what I looked like after last years race!