What mountain biker hasn't had devious thoughts about ripping up a golf course? Well, we got our dream today at Tall Chief golf course in Fall City. Ok, so we were on cyclocross bikes and the golf course is defunct, meaning we didn't get chased off by angry club-wielding, polo-shirt wearing dudes in golf carts, but we still got to rip it up!
Mark Twain is often quoted as saying 'golf is a good walk spoiled'. I say a golf course is green space spoiled. Today we took back the green space, courtesy of the SCX running a cyclocross race course through it. Kudos SCX!
Once the excitement of racing on a golf course has worn off, the reality sets in. Golf courses are kind of flat, without many exciting features, like say, woody sections or twisty singletrack. This could quickly turn into a mountain bikers worst nightmare, if it wasn't for one magical ingredient - rain! Lots and lots of it. Rain in the preceding weeks of the race quickly turned this green space into brown space. As in mud. Lots and lots of it. Energy sapping, spirit sucking, derailleur gunking, wheel stopping mud.
The other thing about defunct golf courses is that they are no longer pristinely manicured with uniform centimeter long cut grass. Things go a little bit wild and the wet, foot long grass ends up in clumps stuck around anything that moves on the bike - chain rings, hubs, derailleurs, you get the picture.....
So I'm feeling pretty smug during the race. I have disc brakes and therefore the build up of mud on my rims are not a deterrent to actually stopping when I want. I'm pitying my competition with rim brakes who really don't stand a chance in these conditions. Only trouble is, in my smugness, and ability to keep going, I do keep going. I'm buoyed on by the cheers to ride the mud alongside the pit that most gals are running. Duh! rookie mistake! I forget I can pit to pick up a nice clean bike and meanwhile my bike is picking up at least a pound of mud each lap. After 5 laps (or so) that's a lot of freakin' weight to carry around.
To cut an overwhelming long story short (can you tell I haven't blogged for a while and had caffeine today?) I was one of 4 gals who split from the rest of the pack. Each of us taking a turn to lead, but never tightly grouped together. We all had strengths in different areas and on different laps. A little back and forth during various laps, and I ended up in 4th (see paragraph above...... I guess the golf course had the last laugh on one dumb mountain biker!)