Sunny, cool enough for arm warmers, too hot for knee warmers, heavy rain on prior day
35+ B 7/11
Teammates: Michael Schaller in 35+B
Friendly rivals: Wayne in 45+B, David, Travis in B
Course ranged from pavement to rocky access road to tacky mud to clay mud. I had forgotten how bad the mud can get at Watsonville so had the really fat 42 Ritchey tires on the Litespeed and the 35 Ritchey tires on the Kelly and should have put narrower tires on the Litespeed. Oh well. The nice thing about the fat tires was that the slowly hardening mud would form ruts from prior laps so that the fatter tire rolled over these easily. When I had to switch bikes, the handling was noticeably trickier as one had to be careful to not deviate from the ruts as this required a lot of manhandling of the handlebars to maintain forward momentum, but at least the clean bike with skinny tires was about five pounds lighter. This course did not have the steeper long run up ala Surf City but it did have the run up from the creekside road. This got worse as our race went on such that if one rode all the way to the base of the run up one's tires got clogged with mud. It became better to just run from farther and farther out as the race went on, and this made an already long runup really painful. I had to swap bikes in the fourth lap so no power for the last lap. For some reason at first the chain would move from the big ring to the small ring, and then on the lap when I gave up on the bike, the chain would move from my small ring entirely off the crank which is visible in the noticeably lower surges in the recorded part of that lap. (When I cleaned my bike every place that could hold mud was mucky, the area between the chain rings and between the chainring and the crank arm and the area between the cogs in the rear and the rear derailleur pulleys were filled with mud.) This inability to pedal much was really bad because there were very few places where one would coast as the mud was so thick in places that one would stop moving if one could not pedal. On the plus side I only had minor issues with clipping in with the Candy Eggbeaters (had to step down harder to force the mud out) as others notably had to actually stop to get clipped in with other pedals. Also did not have a problem with mud buildup around the tires/frame/brakes until the lap when conditions changed so much on the runup that I rode too far in the leadup to it before I realized my mistake and had to spend 1/2 a lap just getting rid of that mud that collected in about twenty yards of riding. Cleaning both bikes and the shoes afterwards took about as long as the race, but at least they had running water for this.