April 23, 2017: Falling Creek Camp, Tuxedo NC
It’s not every day you get lucky enough to race in your own backyard! This Sunday the 4th Southern Classic Series race was hosted at Falling Creek, my family’s summer camp. The weather had been poor all week, so the all day rain Sunday was no surprise. It made for some wild conditions though. I think it was one of my top three muddiest races I’ve ever been in – definitely worth it! The Cat 1/Pro women started at 1:30, and slogged through the mud and rain for an hour and a half. The course wove through the cabin area, along the back trails, and up to the old apple orchard. I had a slow start and was into the woods 5th, but made some attacks when the trail widened and moved up to first before we got to the orchard. I rode hard up the hill to gain some distance from my competitors, and then it was all about trying to stay on my bike through the mud. The mud was the worst in the open fields. Every lap the corners got looser, so by the final lap I was running most of the switchbacks like a cyclocross race. The mud got so caked into my shifters and brakes that neither was working properly by the end. It made every corner more exciting having to slide around the mud. I won the race, and probably won first place for muddiest finisher too. I even got my favorite flavor Allys Bar in my goodie bag from the podium! Though the conditions were challenging, it was one of the more memorable races I’ve done.