The Tour de Groundhog

Last night after dinner my dad told me I was crazy for planning to do a bike race today. Of course, at the time it was 34˚ and raining. Luckily the weather was a little bit better for the Tour de Groundhog today. In fact, the weather started out a little too good, as I had to shed several layers once I started warming up.

I noticed on the drive over to Springfield that there was a lot of standing water/ice on the ground from some recent flooding. It wasn’t until I started warming up that I realized what this would mean for the race: mud, and lots of it.

I did the masters 30+ race (which is interesting given that I am 29, but apparently they use your age at the end of the calendar year…). There were only 7 people in the race, so it wasn’t too crowed. After about 10 meters the course immediately turned into the woods and from there it was a battle of wills more than an athletic competition. A good 30-40% of the course was unridable. So there was lots of dismounting and running/walking with the bike. About 2 times each lap my tires would literally stop spinning, so I would have to stop and pull a handful of mud out of both my front and rear brakes in order to be able to ride again.

The course map

It certainly was an adventure. I did get lapped by the winner, but that wasn’t totally unexpected. I ended up 5th of the 7 people in the masters race, which was good enough to win some socks and water bottles (two things of which I own copious quantities, but still never enough). Just to give you an idea how bad the conditions were, I travelled less than 3 miles in 33 minutes of racing. This is a slower pace than I averaged running for 28.4 miles at the Riddle Run ultramarathon 3 weeks ago. Perhaps my dad knew what he was talking about.

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