Man, that was a cool course on sunday (MNSCS #9 at Lester Park in Duluth). I am not sure it is better than Spirit Mt, but it definitely ranks up there.
My race? Oh, it was pretty much a culmination of some bad luck that I hadn't had in a while. It started about a week earlier with the onset of a head cold. Thursday and Friday were rough achy days. My wife encouraged me to stay home on Sunday, but she knew what my answer to that would be.
Yes, of course the race was muddy...thick clay filled mud. I think nasty conditions can just be assumed for 90% of the races this year. But the Bontrager XR2s strapped to the Fuel made navigation easy and after as strong lead out by Mr Chequamegon himself, Doug Swanson, I found myself riding very comfortably with SamO and Erik Tonkin. I was under very little pressure and wasn't going to let either one of them slip away until bad luck started. My LCR friend Jim turned his bike sideways in front of me on one of the slippery ski trail downhills just as SamO snuck by. I took his tire in my chest and have an imprint of his tread on my arm, but it actually doesn't really hurt today. I got up and quickly chased back up to Sam and Erik...just in time to hear pssssttttt. Yup, a puncture through the tread. I was following close and took a hard hit on a rock that I might normally avoid. After fiddling with CO2 and the inability of Stans to seal the hole 5 min, I decided to run with my bike to the next feed/tech zone for some help (I need to start running anyway if I am going to do some 'cross =).Running practice capture by Jay...I think we were both laughing at my misfortunre as I went by.
There, I got a pump, a tube from a friendly racer, and even a pliers because my tubeless valve was stuck. The fix took a LONG time, but I HATE to DNF. I was determined to finish, which I did.
My takeaway is that my fitness is relatively high for this time of year, and if I can stay healthy, it should bode well for me up at Maplelag, St. Cloud and into 'cross season.
For now, the bike is a 30 lb disaster of clay filled mud, the bike (at least one of them) needs a small chainring put back on it, I need to kick this cold, and I need to get those lights fired up for 24 Hours of Salsa/Afton this weekend! Luckily, I have a my mechanic, Tegan, pumped up about helping with this stuff....
Update: So, I wanted to inspect my rim before posted this, but my Bonti XXX lite carbon mtbk rim still appears to be fine despite the flat on Sunday. The tire is shot. I thought this might be interesting to some folks, as I too was once a skeptic about the use of carbon rims on mtbks.
The fact that the rims is intact is pretty amazing considering how hard I must have hit that rock (was only running 20 PSI for grip reasons). The flat both bruised/cut the bead area and punctured through the tread area of a fairly "safe" 580 gram tire. So a rock smacked right through the tread, through the sidewall, and down to the rim. Any aluminum rim would have been dented and probably ruined.