This past weekend's Jinglecross Sunday race featured a muddy course from the 2-4 inches of fresh snow that fell Saturday evening.
When I drew the curtain back on Sunday morning, I smiled over the winter landscape and smugly thought, 'Fear not, I am prepared, for I have a brand-new Clement PDX mud tire waiting just for this occasion.' And then a moment later, I remembered that the tire was sitting on my work bench back home, some 200 miles away. Crap!
Apparently, mud tires work best when they're mounted on the wheels of the bike you intend to ride in the mud.
Executing the plan is one of the intricacies of cyclocross. Often, the difference between a good result and a mediocre one is in the fine details of preparation. Like, remembering to bring mud tires for a wet sloppy mess.
For those who've raced cyclocross for a few seasons (like me), dialling in the equipment to the condition is a trial by error method. It typically takes me a handful of times before I get it right, if ever.
Behold, Barry's proven five-step method to dialling-in cyclocross equipment:
1) FAILURE from first time experience without upgraded equipment
2) FAILURE from stubbornly refusing to purchasing upgrade
3) FAILURE from purchasing the upgrade, but forgetting to bring it
4) FAILURE from racing the upgrade improperly (lack of experience)
5) GOTO STEP 3
Success may eventually come, but don't count on it. Suck it up and deal with it. It's called cyclocross.
I'm serious. I've been going through these five steps with mud-spikes for my shoes. The same can be said about having the proper gloves for the occasion. Or how about eye-protection: like having a set of clear lens for dusty night racing? Or heck, how many times have I missed a call-up due to failing to pre-register, or missing the pre-registration deadline by two minutes, or missing the call-ups because the starting chute was not where I thought it was? Oh, and let's not forget this dandy: dropping a swim cap in the transition zone of a triath -- vrrrrrrrp -- wait, what? My apologies, we will not have any triathlon discussions here.
Anyway, experience is everything, and failure is the best teacher.
This weekend's thaw and potential rain/snow mix could make for muddy courses at the Nebraska State cyclocross championships. Hopefully, I can be a step 4 failure this time around.
One day, I just might get it right. Then again, I probably won't. Man, I love this sport.
Thanks for reading. Happy Friday.
|Muddy Conditions at day three Jinglecross 2014, photo credits:McColgan Photography|