Friday, May 6, 2016

Marauders of the Muck

I like to consider myself a fairly decent rider in the mud (even though I secretly don't like it).  After all, the place where we train is called "MudMart".  No training could have prepared us for the morass we were now encountering.  The ground, apparently up to twelve inches down, is the consistency of Jello topped with baby shit, only more slippery.

I may be in fourth or fortieth position, none of it really matters, because there is so much gook in my eyes I can't even find the damn course.  I follow the sound of the bikes, sliding and paddling like a baby giraffe on ice.  My stand up riding style is simply not going to work in these "conditions".  I plunk my ass down on the seat and wonder how long it will take them to discover my remains.  Fifteen minutes into the race I realize three things:

  1. Going fast is out the window
  2. Survival is now the only thing that matters
  3. I want my mommy 
I am also in second place.  The winner of the last round takes a header into a creek.  I check to make sure he isn't drowning and continue on.  I can barely keep the rider in front of me on the KTM in sight, he just seems to have a better handle on this greasy hell than I do.  Or does he?  Soon he falls down and I pass.  He catches me, I find a wonderfully placed neutral when shifting and forward momentum stops, but gravity does not.  Faceplant directly to the muck.  I remount and skate my way after.  He comes upon a stuck rider, can't stop, rear ends him and falls over.  I putter on by.

These are the Blue Ridge Mountains and the course winds its way up and down, with lots of off-camber mid-hill turns and such.  Normally this would make for an excellent ride, but now nothing more than pure misery.  The track is littered with stuck riders, some slumped over their steaming machines, spent after only thirty minutes, mired in the middle of hill-climbs, stuck in swamps at the bottom of valleys.  The final hill before timing and scoring is a disaster.  It's a big one and the first few bikes through have already torn it to bits.  Picking a fresh line, I slip the clutch and bounce my ass up and down on the seat to find the traction needed to surmount this thing.  I make it and pass under the scoring machine.  I'm in first place.  For how long?

Pretty country, until you are buried to your armpits in mud with an overheating motorcycle and 30 other dipshits trying to get by.  

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