Race Report: Rumble at 18 Road

Oh Rumble at 18 Road… thanks for proving to me for the second year in a row that you’re just not the race for me…

The positives:

  • I had the fitness this year.  I was 3rd overall among all ages of Cat 2 women at the 5 mile mark
  • I handle wet rocks with ease
  • I handle greasy mud with ease
  • My legs showed up and did everything I asked them to

The negatives:

  • The entire 18 Road area turns into a thick peanut butter clay when wet
  • Said peanut butter clay does not play nicely with rear derailleurs
  • I sent my rear derailleur into the spokes at the 5 mile mark… you know, when I was in a podium spot
  • I didn’t finish 😦

Haha, oh man… what a day.  It rained all night and it was still raining in the morning, problem #1!  Pre-ride on Friday was hot (80 degrees) and bone dry.  I managed to tie my race time last year with my pre-ride time which included stopping because I couldn’t breathe and giving a go or two on a techy feature, so that was promising. The two-track felt like a cow pasture and was in horrible condition, and I began doubting the idea to bring the Fate, but I was stuck with it.  Come race day… I was too busy chatting and got to my start with 10 seconds to spare.  Starting from the back row I swiftly moved up to the front area, and noticed it was my climbing fitness that helped with this.  The two track heading out was pretty greasy, but not too bad, it wasn’t really gumming up the bikes.  It wasn’t until the Prime Cut single track that the peanut butter started to come out and play.  The rocks were slippery, but I used this to my advantage to distance myself.  My bike started to make all sorts of sounds, but it wasn’t until the end of Prime Cut when we all hit a field of peanut butter that things got so gummed up the derailleur said “I’m out of here” and curled up into a little ball in my spokes.  I’m pretty sure I said a choice word, but like so many others that I passed, I turned around and starting pushing my bike back down the trail (it was wayyyy too heavy to try to carry).  It was weird.  Like… I was pissed that I couldn’t finish the race because I was doing well, but what happened happened and I accepted that.  I’ve never had a mechanical during a race, so I suppose it was a matter of time.  Luckily after a few miles I ran into my friend Pete and we headed to a gravel rode to hitched a ride back to the start.  2 others in my age group didn’t finish, and the finishers took 90 minutes to 2 hours… it’s normally a 55-60 minute race!  Funny enough, USAC isn’t listing the DNF’s, so it looks like not too many people came out to race.  Man, I don’t even get my DNF for Trying.

Year 2 at Rumble at 18 Road, and though I was actually racing well unlike last year, I’m getting a little discouraged about this race! It’s hard, because there’s very little USAC racing to choose from in this region, and I’m not a baller that can go to California or Texas or where ever for those sanctioned races.  Luckily I heard some good news about the push to bring national level racing and courses to Wyoming, so I’m hopeful that it’ll be easier to race USAC when I’m a Cat 1.  Luckily I think USAC takes pity on us in this area and considers non-sanctioned results when requesting an upgrade… because one out of my two local chances was gone with my derailleur!

Worse than any cyclocross race I’ve been in… and can’t say I’ve ever had to hitchhike back to my car during a race before…

White on kits for mountain biking is a little ridiculous!

Hi, I’m a scary expensive part and I’m sick of working because mud is gross, so I curled up in a little ball and took a spoke with me!

The rain and lack of bike also meant I couldn’t stick around and ride a bit more at Kokopelli like I had planned 😦  Luckily Mellissa and Pete were awesome enough to loan me their hotel shower (ok ok, I demanded it :P) after we washed the bikes at the car wash, and then we headed out for some Hot Tomato.  And that was that… Now I get to be jealous of all my buddies that raced at a dry Ridgeline Rampage today down in Castle Rock…

Anthony got sent photos of my derailleur (which I think I “fixed,” aka it means I got my wheel moving again), and he thinks just the cage needs replaced.  The hanger is actually still intact.  And of course I need a new spoke, and who knows what else… the bike is very grouchy at the moment!

Good news is Gowdy is nearly all dry, so Grinder training can begin (and the Epic is the ride of choice for that anyway)!  In Two weeks I plan on doing RME Battle the Bear, and GASP!  I might go tubeless to avoid those goat heads, so here’s to hoping I have a good race in two weeks and break more PRs and that the Fate is all nice and happy again!

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