The good night sleep eventually came but it was delayed by a vicious thunder and lightning storm that ripped through from 11 to midnight. I love a good storm so other than being kept up late I enjoyed the bright flashes, startling claps and rolling rumbles.
It rained heavily in the early morning hours then continued on and off until noon. The dusty section of course in front of the camper turned to slop. I unloaded bikes and set up tents while Joe fixed the sink handle I broke off last time we were in the camper.
The van was in an awkward spot now that we could see the terrain the daylight. I underestimate how soft the ground was with the rain and promptly buried the van right on the edge of the course. It was marginally dangerous for the racers but without help from a dozer or 4×4 quad, it wasn’t going anywhere. We hoped for drying conditions and planned to tackle it later in the day.
I swapped some tires and checked a few things on the bike then Joe and I rode mountain bikes over to say hey to Shane and Co. Paul Whibley was there. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to him before today but we chatted about NZ and where he was from. My wife Mary’s home town is about an hour from where Paul calls home.
It’s a long loop this week at Big Buck. As it sat today there were 12 marked miles but all of the previous races have had an added section that’s new to everyone. We learned about the new sections on the start line. Depending on how much they add the total distance of the loop could be long. But the trail looks wide and fast so the average speeds will be high.
We found a few problem spots on our mountain bike reconnaissance lap. One problem is a hill that might have been a challenge if we had never raced Steele Creek (where the hills were minutes-long, slick and rutted). The hill here will take some concentration but it won’t be a race ender. After the hill is a creek crossing that’s followed directly but a narrow, uphill chute. The creek banks will be a mess by the second lap. Guaranteed there will be 12 deep ruts to choose from by lap two. Then you have to get up that narrow chute and hope that no one is in your way. We’ll check out this section in our race watching Sunday morning.
I nearly forgot that we found a creek jump today too. The ramp was badly rutted by the quads that raced today so I hope they do some maintenance on the jump before we race it tomorrow. Clearing the creek won’t be that bad but if the face of the jump is as beat tomorrow as it was today, it’s going to be a challenge late in the race. There is an alternative line but it’s the long way around and it goes through the creek. The far side of the creek will have that same rutted bank of the other creek crossing. I plan to do the jump.
We had our traditional chicken and pasta dinner tonight but we mixed up dessert by riding over to the mobile soft-serve ice cream store.
It’s cooled off tonight and the winds have kicked up. Perhaps only 55 degrees tomorrow. That works for me.