let's just get this over with and start with the end... I went up to PA to race at the Spring Mountain AMBC and ended up DNFing because of a mechanical on the 3rd of 3 laps...
as of early this morning there'd been 4 inches of rain and flooded creeks and rivers, but the race was still on. managed to get up on time in spite of losing an hour to daylight savings time and hit the road for a quick drive from philly, where i'd been visiting friends to spring mountain ski resort in schwenksville. got up there with plenty of time to get ready, so i checked in and spent the next couple of hours getting ready and huddling in my car against the cold.
tris, mike, and jon - three fifths of my team for big bear - showed up as i was starting to warm up in preparation for the start. lined up for the start, and managed to stave off the cold while we waited for the start. the race started with a loop through the parking lot and then hit the singletrack in 2nd place... instant mud, which pretty much summed up the course... mud with rocks, mud with roots, mud with rocks and roots, peanut buttery mud, wet mud, plus the cold wet puddles, and the snow.
the lap started with a twisty and rocky singletrack climb that was intermittently rideable, with a couple of rock gardens thrown in for good measure. then we're dumped back onto the ski run and climb up for a hundred yards or so, i tried to ride when everyone else in the group got off and ran. i ended up spinning my wheels while everyone ran past me.
back into the woods and more singletrack climbing, on and off the bike and we start down the back of the hill for a little while and then back up to the top. from there we started back down in earnest crossing back and forth the ski slopes on the remains of the winter's snow and into the woods on a couple of watershed-ish downhills... more snow, more woods, then a short flat section and we pop out onto a road for a couple hundred yards and one last climb, starting out on the road and ending on singletrack.
then we swing back through the start finish and hit more boggy grass/mud to start the 2nd lap... rode more and walked less on the 2nd lap and i could still see a couple of riders in my start group ahead of me, including jon, but i'd lost sight of them by the time i started my 3rd lap. spent more of this lap walking on the first climb. then near the top my cranks froze and realized that i had a problem... figured it was chain suck from the mud, so i tried to back pedal, but there was no improvement so i jumped off and saw the problem... the chain had dropped off the cassette and was jammed between the spokes and the cassette. tried to free it, but it was wedged in so deep that i couldn't free it.
i was on a pace to finish in around 2:35 - which would have put me in 2nd (out of 3 in my class) - but i ended my day with a walk down the ski slope to the lodge. i think it was my bike taking revenge for kicking it out of the car and onto the roof in the rain on friday night so that i could put my new bike inside the car. we've decided to try and reconcile and i started by freeing the chain and giving it a good post-race wash instead of just loading it up on the car.
jon ended up 2nd in sport 35-39 and tris won her class.