PIR’s Pro Paddock course is brutal. Mud is the order of the day, and not that fine, thin, spray all over you but otherwise not an issue mud we had last weekend at Barton Park. This is PIR Glue. It’s thick, sticky, slippery, slow mud. The kind of mud you can’t sprint in, you can’t corner fast in, you can’t run in, you can’t pass in, you can’t even hold a consistent line in. It sucks your wheels and pulls your tires all over the place, gets stuck in your brakes, in your cranks, in your cleats, in your teeth… Real cross mud!
Unfortunately, since we’ve had such a beautifully dry and pleasant Fall cross season here in the Northwest, we haven’t had much chance to practice our mud skills. That means it kicked our asses. I couldn’t figure out whether my tire pressure was too high, too low, or if I had two flats. Only the pavement sections could assure me that there was nothing wrong with my bike, aside from the extra 15 pounds of mud I was carrying.
Races like this one really frustrate me. Although it was really fun, and I always enjoy 45 minutes of torture and heckling, I also really like to go fast and pass people. I don’t think I ever got anywhere close to speeds that anyone would mistake for fast. I missed every dollar and beer preme offered, and spent plenty of time sliding around on that one off-camber mud run-up corner that I really should have been riding, but I was trying to salvage some semblance of my pride and not get lapped by everyone.
It’s kind of crazy to race a course with only one barrier section and no stairs, and still have each lap take almost 10 minutes. My favorite part was the mud roller section! Turning a tight single-track corner off of gravel into ankle-deep glue-mud, running up a 20’ hill and launching into the saddle down the backside of the hill into rollers full watery, light mud, and exiting into an off-camber, bumpy, grassy then gravelly then muddy s-turn was pretty fun!
The line for the hoses after the race was legendary. It was a pretty epic way to cap off the Crusade series, but I don’t want to stop racing! I can’t wait for Winter Cross in Washougal followed by the USGP Deschutes Brewery Cup next month!