Bike Rack Racing team member Tyler’s take on one of the first mountain bike races of the season, the Michaux Off Road Weekend on March 22, 2015:
I think I was the first to race in our new kit last weekend, and I got it plenty dirty (like this guy): I did the Michaux Off Road Weekend (site of Iron Cross, same organizers), which was a 6.6 mile lap which you try to ride the most times in 4 hours. To be blunt, I was in over my head: This course was very technical, with tons of steep climbing and off-camber descending on rocks and roots (map and elevation) – also, conditions shifted rapidly as the day warmed. Here we go:
– Lap 1: Ice. Michaux got 5 inches of snow on Friday, which mostly melted then froze. So, we had terrifying sliding corners, sharp turns and fast descending with my butt off the back of the seat over the rear wheel (it’s a good thing). I got dropped on the downhills, and caught up on the uphills – obviously a roadie playing with mountain bikers. On the roots and rocks, I realized I had the wrong bike (29er hard-tail) – particularly when my front wheel stopped and I went over the bars onto my hip. Only bruises, thankfully (some of them to my pride :).
– Lap 2: Slush. Knowing that I was in trouble, I decided to take it easy – though nobody told my braking fingers. They let it loose on a steep descent and I was certain I would be peeled off one of the boulders. Miraculously I stayed on my line and the resulting adrenaline rush powered me up the hills. Still, I slid out on the technical downhills onto my butt – you can see where this ridiculousness is going.
– Lap 3: Mud. We had some thawing, the most direct impact was that all of the ice was now mud. In some places, 6 inches of mud for a half-mile ascent. Turns out muddy tires don’t grip so well, so I spent more time on my butt (though mercifully most of it at slow speed on the technical descents).