Sea Otter was muddy again this year...
According to the Sea Otter website, the race was supposed to start at 11:40 a.m.
According to the printed schedule at Sea Otter it started at... 11:00.
As I parked and got changed it started to rain a little.
I started my warm up at 10:40, thinking I would have an hour warm up. After 5-10 min of warming up a friend came over and told me the race started at 11:00. He and I went to find out what the real starting time was.
As we approached the timing tent (10:53), we heard the sounds of mayhem. Right outside the tent were a couple of officials and a couple racers arguing over when they should start the race. At about 10:56 the official who seemed to be in charge decided that the race would start at 11:00. I ran to use the restroom!
As I was exiting the restroom I heard the announcer (the legendary Larry Longo) say over the PA that the Semi Pro mens ST race would start at (drumroll......) 11:45.
Right then the skies REALLY opened up and it started to pour rain, with the wind whipping it almost horizontally across the ground.
I took refuge at the Subaru-Gary Fisher team trailer, where Jon and Matt helped me set up a trainer like I was one of the "real" pros on the team. It wasn't the first or last time they would help me at Sea Otter this year.
I warmed up out of the rain for as long as possible and then headed over to the Starting line for the race... only to find that it had been pushed back until 12:15.
I went back to the Subaru/Fisher trailer to get out of the rain, and while I was there Jon talked to one of the race organizers and found out that the race had been moved to 2:45 p.m.
I went to go eat at the hospitality tent...
and had something they called a "Cappucino" to warm up. If you've never tried one before, you gotta do it. It's fantastic.
After my "Cappucino" it was back to the hotel room to warm up with a hot shower and dry clothes, and then STRAIGHT back to the race venue to start warming up (again).
After my warm up I pre-rode the incredibly muddy (although not as bad as last year) course, and went to the line with my now filthy bike. And my now filthy white shoes.
And the race actually started!
If you could look closely at my chain you would see something happening, in the very first seconds of the race, called "chain-suck", where the chain gets stuck between the chainrings and the frame.
After the first bad chain-suck my chain was bent, which led to... more chain suck!
Eventually, after I was far, far, behind the last rider in the group, it became clear that if I was in my middle or small rings I would DEFINITELY get chain-suck.
I blame the mud!
Oh, here I am big ringing it...
Hmm... big ringing it some more.
And here you can see Jason Lowetz trying in vain to clean my drivetrain, while I am... big ringing it.
I managed to (slowly) ride most of the course in my my big ring, only getting off and running up 2 of the steep sections that I couldn't ride up in that hard of a gear.
I (slowly) moved through the field until I was in 11th place, only to be pulled for no apparent reason, while in no danger of getting lapped ?!?!?!?!?!.
I didn't mind though, I was just happy to be done racing. Tired too.
JB's race went pretty much exactly the same way mine did...
only probably faster, and I don't think he had to get off his bike just because he was stuck in the big ring.