Mar 15th Matt and Maureen headed to The Cool Mtb Race in Cool Ca. Cool is a race that promises 3 things, mud, rain, and pain; and it always seems to deliver. It is cyclocross meets rocks, meets sweet singletrack. Like a good law and order episode for bikes, these are their stories. Ding ding.
The Cool mountain bike race holds a special place in my heart. This race back in 2001 was the first time I threw my leg over a bike for a cross country event. This year, 2009, this same race holds another special place, the first time I would throw my leg over a bike as a professional cross country racer. As promised this race was perfect. There was a crowd, mud, lots of racers, rain, and no shortage of pain. The cool race consists of 3 ten mile laps featuring two stream crossings that will eat your bottom bracket for breakfast. This event is many racers opening race for the season, and this was no exception. Everyone was antsy to sprint for the single track hole shot, and their chance for cool glory. Maureen and I were no different. When the gun went off, all I could do was hang on. My heartrate had not been this high for almost six months, and it hurt. I was pegged at 190+ bpm for the entire first lap. As I started my second lap I lost sight of the lead group. (RATS!) My body began to tell me subtly to slow down; starting in my left quad, moving to my right, I started to feel that twinge that only happens before you cramp. I promptly drank my entire water bottle, and kept on pushing. Third lap was the same story, started cramping ¼ of the way through my third lap. This time the cramps would not hold off till the end of the lap. Instead they would come back with three miles to go to the finish. I was out of water, and starting to cramp. By this time I had spent half a lap passing beginner racers, some of which were toting huge camelbacks, and full bottles in preparation of a full day of battle. I began to pass riders by asking if they had any water to spare. The third guy I asked replied “#$!! Yea, Gu20 work?” I was back in business, and began charging to the finish. I was sitting sixth place, and promptly passed 5th and 4th place, third quickly came into sight. I dropped a gear and picked up the pace. Charging hard to the finish I missed second and third by thirty seconds.