Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Peanut Butter

Cam Kirkpatrick

I don’t like peanut butter… unless it comes in a Reese’s wrapper, or maybe if it’s the chunky kind… nah, maybe not. Imagine trying to ride your bike through peanut butter. That’s what the course was like at Swanson Park last Saturday at the Psycowpath series race #2. This was a re-schedule date because the original date was rained out.
I’m working towards a peak for the next couple of weeks, so the training routine has been not so routine. Monday was an easy recovery ride followed by some light weights at the gym with tPod. Tuesday was the TNWC, I lit it up a few times, felt really good. Wednesday was 2 hours of base. Thursday and Friday were active recovery days.
So Saturday came and the weather forecast was for scattered showers. I took a look at the radar when I got up… rain… crap. So I called the series director and he said that the dude puttin’ the race on was going to the course to check it out. He called me back a little later and said that the surface was wet, and that it was dry underneath… game on. Saweet! Two boiled eggs and a cup of joe later I was on the road for Omahole. It pretty much rained all the way there up until about 20 minutes east of Omahole. I got to the course and the beginners were still out tearin’ it up. I took a look at their bikes, frames had a little mud on ‘em, but it wasn’t anything major so all looked pretty good.
I unloaded the Orbea, got suited up in the Rassy camo and headed out for a couple of recon laps. The first recon lap was a little greasy in some spots, but there really wasn’t thing accumulating on the frame. Ran into Shim and Real Deal after the first lap as they were headin’ out for a recon so I did another lap with them. The course was pretty near ideal the second time around. As we were cruising along, Shim said a buddy of his called and said there was another storm cell headin’ our way. Sure enough, the rain started falling. By the end of the recon, the trails were all pretty greasy and getting worse. I put the Orbea back in the car because I had the wrong tires for mud on it. Dug out the hard tail and rolled over to the start area.
The start was delayed about 15 minutes to allow the rain to pass and then we were off. I wanted one of the locals to lead the way into the singletrack. Shim went in first with me on his wheel. The trail was pretty slippery, but it was still rideable. Somebody behind me must have duffed it because Shim and I had a pretty good gap right away. So we continued on and increased our lead. It was pretty easy going for me, I felt really good so I told Shim to let me by. No sooner do I say that and chain suck started kickin’ in when I was in the middle ring. He was able to gap me off because I had to keep peddlin’ backwards to free up my chain. It got to the point where my chain was suckin’ up every other pedal stroke, so I dumped it into the big ring and was finally able to close up the gap to Shim.

Nice clean bike at the start

Just as I caught up to him, he had to stop and clear mud off of his bike, it was so bad that his wheels quit rolling. I passed him and motored on. I was riding really well in the mud and felt like I was increasing the gap between myself and the rest of the field. I crossed the start / finish line with a pretty sizable lead, not sure how big it was, but I was pretty motivated. Hit the singletrack on the second lap and I couldn’t believe how much worse the trails had gotten. It was like riding through really thick peanut butter. Shortly after I hit the singletrack, I could see the mud startin’ to accumulate all over my stead. It was so bad at one point, I was going down a hill and I had to stand up and out the power down just to keep it rollin’. MIB eventually caught and passed me. Shortly after that Sam I Am was on my wheel. It got to the point where I had to stop and clear the mud of my bike. The wheels quit rollin’ and when I got off to push my bike, they would slide along on the mud, so yeah, it pretty much sucked. As I was standing on the side of the trail clearing the mud, I got passed by a bunch of other peeps. Real Deal even stopped by to clear some adobe off his bike, so we hung out and shot the shite while we were at it. I had to stop a few more times to clean the bike off and thought to myself, ‘crap, so much for this race’. I had to finish however, because they don’t allow us to drop any races for the series overall.

Hike-a-bike up a hill

Cleaning the peanut butter off

I finally finished the second lap and started on the third (of five). The trail was a little better and close to 100% rideable. Still had a lot of mud collecting on the bike, but I could bunny hop it and slam it back down while riding, kind of helped knock some of the adobe off. I had no idea what place I was in at this point, didn’t really care. I just needed to finish. I saw WWJ up the trail so that motivated me to push a little harder.

Climbing a greasy hill

Still climbing a greasy hill

By the 4th lap, the conditions were much better and I could finally start to carry a little speed. I eventually caught and passed WWJ and ended up finishing in 4th place. Schlake ended up winning the race with Real Deal about 10 seconds back. Sam I Am was another minute or so behind. I think I finished about 10 minutes behind Schlake. I was pretty surprised that I was that close. I’m sure that I spent the better part of 30 minutes on the side of the trail cleaning all of the crap off my bike. I’m sure everybody else had to stop at some point, so we were all in the same boat. My finish time was a little over 2 hours and I had expended a lot of energy slogging through the mud. Wasn’t quite sure how this was going to effect me for the IMBCS race the following day. I didn’t stick around for the awards, I needed to high tail it home. Figured it would take a few hours to clean all of the do-do off both of my bikes.

Nice dirty bike at the finish, thank god I'm done

So I woke up Sunday morning, took a look at the radar, WTF?! More freakin’ rain hovering all over the Webster City area. I wasn’t about to get myself into the same predicament as yesterday. I went into the garage and grabbed a wheelset that were laced up with some 1.5’s. These are great mud tires, they’re skinny enough that I don’t have to worry about mud accumulating around my brakes and chain stay. I also grabbed a can of cooking spray to coat the frame, kind of keeps the mud from grabbin’ on. I decided not to bring the Orbea this time because the course at Kendall Young has a water crossing followed by a lot of sand. Ridin’ through that kind of crap will cut the life of your drive train in half. Stuff’s too expensive to trash in the sand, so I loaded up the Goose and the S-Works for a back up.
I got into Webster City a couple of hours before race time and took a look at the beginners bikes. They once again looked pretty good, not much in the way of mud accumulation. Cool. So I camo’d up and unloaded the Goose. As I was getting ready, the skies opened up once again. Didn’t make much sense to get pissed as there wasn’t much I could do about it. So I sat in the car and waited it out.
The rain stopped about 30 minutes before the start, so I hopped on the Goose for a quick recon of the course. The mud was pretty bad in some spots and I still had some pretty wide tires on the bike. So I bailed on the recon ride, headed back to the car and laced her up with the 1.5’s. I also busted out the Pam and sprayed the frame down. We lined up for the start and Thad cut us loose. I lead throughout the first half of a lap, but I could tell that it wasn’t going to be my day. I’d attempt to push the pace and my legs didn’t want any part of it. They simply wouldn’t respond. About midway through the first lap, Nate ‘Cline with a C’ passed by me on a greasy hill that we had to run up. I stayed with him for the remainder of lap one, after that he gradually gapped me off and I hovered at about 50 seconds for the remainder of the race. As the race progressed the trail conditions did get better, but I simply didn’t have the legs to do any damage that day. Nate ‘Cline with a C’ ended up winning, I came in 2nd by about 50 seconds. Nooner rolled in 3rd about 5 minutes behind me, Maharry was a few seconds behind Nooner. Bisonova was another minute back in 5th. Nice job fellas. So yeah, it was a pretty tough day. My legs were pretty much cooked from the previous days efforts. To Nate ‘Cline with a C’s credit, he rode a good race in some difficult conditions. A win is a win, no matter what your competitors circumstances are. That’s racin’!
So all in all, it was a good weekend all things considered. I rode well in the mud, when I could ride. I felt great and had good legs on Saturday. If it weren’t for bike issues, I really feel that I would have been in the mix for the win on Saturday. I did manage to salvage 4th place points and I think I’m still in the lead for the series overall for Psycowpath. I feel even better about salvaging 2nd place on Sunday. I was pretty happy with my result considering how I felt. Most importantly, I was ridin’ my bike and if I can do that then life is good… very good indeed!

Next up is the NORBA State Championships at Seven Oaks this coming Sunday (July 2). Lookin’ forward to tearin’ it up on one of my favorite courses. Hope to see you all there!

Thanks for reading,


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