So, MRC Cross happened down in Wrentham on Sunday. It was "INSANE" according to Jeff Z, I would agree.
(Best part of this post is the post race recap)
First, let me state that I decided to do the race THAT Morning. That's right, it wasn't a situation that I had pre-registered and I was like, "I paid, I'm racing," which happens on a occasion. Nope, I woke up at 8, got a call from Jeff Z and knowing the forecast was in the Low 40's, high winds and heavy rain, still decided to go do the race. OH YEAH, it's on!
So, we get to the race and register. By this point it was still relatively manageable, rain, upper forties and there was a crowd. Takes little bit, but we set up the tent and hang in the car to stay warm. But then a few minutes later a woman and some dude just walk under our tent and start pinning numbers or something.... Jeff and I look at each other and are like "Is this chick seriously under our tent without at least asking us if they can use it?" So we get out, say hi and then they ask us, of course we say yes, but it was still pretty weird and awkward.
Then we spent a while talking to Wheelworks Master's Bad-ass John who was doing his third race of the weekend (after winning the Mansfield Masters 2/3/4 and 4th in the regular 2/3/4 the day before). He later goes on to get 3rd in the Masters 1/2/3 race. Dude is a machine.
Finally, I change, ride a couple laps of the course and learn that basically, the 3 uphill sections in the field are totally muddy and need to be run (one has barriers), also the long wooded section of the course has 6 inch deep puddles with rocks at the bottom that you can't see, and all the grass switchbacks are totally rutted out and muddy. Oh, and now the temperature has started to drop and the winds have picked up. Awesome, I hate running.
Go to the start, see like 25-30 dudes who have also decided that it would be a good idea to race in this non-sense and get the whistle. Had a bad start, what did I care, it was the P/1/2/3 race and I was doing it for no apparent reason. Anyways, I try to sit on Colin's wheel with no success, and I see somebody on a 29'er single speed, (the only better bike choice would have been a rigid 29er with gears). Anyways, I stay the main group for the first lap and then slowly fall off. Find myself in a chase group and fall off that as well.
A few laps later I see 5 to go and I'm thinking holy shit. But by this point I'm 30 seconds behind the guy in front of me and 30 seconds ahead of the guy behind me, so I just ride my race. I spend the most of the race in this limbo and at 4 to go get lapped by a Keough (now 3 to go), then 2 minutes later lapped by BW and Dylan McNicholas, whatever, I'm not too worried about it.ing. And just after that things become really miserable.
I lose all feeling in my fingers, and shifting on SRAM Rival becomes a complete nightmare, and it's pretty much a miracle that I can shift at all anyway because of the 9 pounds of wet grass and mud that has accumulated on my bike. But I see the 2 laps to go and think "Fuck it, I'm almost done. Just two more laps with 8 more dismounts and 6 more run-ups."
During this period I actually pass a Landry's rider and think I'm not doing that bad. Then I do the final agonizing lap and make it to the finish at a blistering 3MPH. The official says,
"Can you believe you paid for this? Now go warm up, the results will be posted online tomorrow. Looks like you did pretty well," Me,
Now here's where the day get's interesting. Since I've stopped racing my body essentially shuts down as I stand under the tent. So first I take off the top of my skinsuit and my base layer and I immediately begin to layer my upper body with:
2) Hooded Sweatshrt
3) Fleece Cycling Jersey
4) Softshell Fleece Jacket
5) Snowboarding Jacket
After that I spend a solid 5-10 minutes shivering uncontrollably, and wincing from the pain in my hands. Highlight though is just before get I my dexterity back and can take off my shoes it starts snowing. A few minutes later I take off my leg warmers, and my skinsuit and finally put on pants and shoes and jump in the car with the heat full blast. I spend the next 30 minutes sitting there as waves of chills come through me and I stuff my face with Pizza and a sandwich. And eventually I get the feeling back in my toes and then it's time to pack up the car.
Jeff and I then get around to taking down the tent which has an inch or so of snow on top and loading up the bikes and our gear before getting on the road. We were the last people out of the parking lot. The race had ended an hour and a half earlier.
On Wednesday I get to see the results, 11th of 17 finishers, I'm guessing 15 people or more did the logical thing and dropped out.
I'm so glad I raced.