The following is a glossary of terms used in the DSG 09 Race Report:
1.glud \ˈgləd\ Mud with a sticky, slippery, clay-like consistency. Globs onto everything and weighs stuff down. Glues itself to your body and your bike. Very slippery and squishy to ride over.
2. crud \ˈcrəd\ Mud similar to glud, but slightly dryer and more prone to packing up on your tires. Usually contains grass which it cleverly deploys into your derailleur. Somehow even heavier than glud.
3. gloop \ˈglüp\ Mud that is runny and wet, like diarrhea. Lighter in color than glud or crud, gloop is light enough to fly in the air and coat your face.
The race started in the Le Mans style, meaning we had to run for about 50 yards to our bikes. About 2 minutes before the gun was fired, a thunderstorm started. We ran through heavy rains to get to our bikes, and Aaron and I had great starting position. I couldn’t see where the rest of FM was. We both aggressively passed people along the first stretch of single-track, knowing instinctively that the trail was going to get wrecked in the wake of the first riders. It was single file into the forest, and gloop was flying off the wheel in front of me, spattering my face. I abandoned the glasses about 3 minutes in, so as to experience the gloop-spattering more directly. Riders ahead were not even attempting many of the climbs, so I climbed around them (10 pedal strokes yielded about 5 feet of progress). Some climbs could not be ridden. Below my feet the glud was beginning to form, and without spikes it was very tough going. I had a lot of fun on this lap: slipping and sliding, soaked and smeared, we raced together with thunder and lightning cracking nearby. I watched a handful of racers take a bail-out trail about 2 miles in, complaining of dangerous lighting. Right, go stand under your canopy, it should be safe there…
I finished my first lap in 1.5 hrs, sending Nico out and rushing back to our tent so I could diagnose my severely impaired vision. Gloop was packed into my eyes and I felt like I had cataracts – a condition I never recovered from the entire race. I put on a dry kit, ate some sushi, refilled my bottle, and rushed back to the start.
Aaron was already waiting patiently for his brobot, Austin Crenshaw. The rain had stopped, the sun was out, and as we could see from the racers slowly trickling in, the dreaded glud was forming.
Crud and Glud glomm'd onto the front wheel.
Racers were coming off the wrong side of the trail, apparently abandoning their efforts. Those who chose to complete their laps pushed or carried their bikes across the finish line, glud packed onto their bikes in horrendous formations. Nicoletti finished his lap after 2 hours of riding, ahead of Austin Crenshaw, and the huge grin on his face meant no need to hold congress: its time to head back out.
What followed was what I would call “an ordeal”. Very little of the trail was ridable any more. Racers were streaming off the trail, some trying to convince me not to go out. I saw abandoned bikes on the trail, caked in glud. I attempted to ride some sections, but mostly carried my bike, now weighing over 50 lbs. Jeremiah Bishop called it Vietnam on wheels. I wasn't really on my wheels... There were several chances to bail out – fire roads that went down the mountain straight back to the field. I knew that logic and reason could soon get the better of me, so I turned them off and lurched on like a zombie.
This isn't me, but the guy on the left is demonstrating my technique.
After what must have been 3 hours of hiking, pushing, dragging, and lugging, I came to a small ravine with a rider apparently stuck at the bottom. I summoned all of my energy and ran down, in, and somehow, using my momentum, up the other side. I reached back and grabbed the other rider’s bike and pulled him out with it. We both continued on, no energy to discuss the absurdity. The last remaining stretch of trail was all crud – you couldn’t push your bike 6 feet before it became so packed with crud that it wouldn’t move. I probably spent an hour and a half on the last mile.
Emily out on the trail. She clearly enjoys this kind of shit.
I rode across the finish line with a lap time of 4.5 hrs, which incredibly put us in second place in the standings. I didn’t have the heart to tell Nicoletti not to go back out there – he just looked so damn excited. He abandoned his mission after 3 hours of slogging, when he learned that no one was chasing him and there was no one to chase.
We ended up in 2nd place in our category with just 3 laps completed. The Brobots Aaron and Crenshaw secured 3rd place, also with 3 laps. Congratulations to the Starbrite Carwash duo, who somehow completed 4 laps.
All photos found here: http://www.cyclingdirt.org/photos/album_assoc/207328
and here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ldunwoody/DirtSweatAndGears?feat=directlink#