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Donida Farms Cross

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

It was either a combination of the bronchitis and/or pneumonia or the dreaded bird flu as I was coughing up things yet unnamed. I took my cough medicine, which included Dayquil (for the cough and aches) and Benedryl (for the nasal leakage).

ImageAfter this new pre-race ritual, I decided to preview the course. The course started out flat for the first 1/2 mile through a horse pasture and then immediately turned up to a steep ¼-mile uphill run/slip through some of the thickest mud I'd ever seen. The course then turned immediately downhill and into a 180-degree turn into another 50 meter run up. After that it went out onto some barriers and some flat switchbacks and then finally dumped us out onto the actual horse race track, which proved to be quite the challenging terrain. I'd define it as a sand and silt conglomeration that stuck to your wheels like childhood paste. Right before the finish was a giant mud hole filled with water, which made it great for the spectators, but cold for us riders.

The 0930 race kicked off to beautiful skies and the juniors were flying. They completed their race around 1015ish and we were called up to the start line. At the start line I looked to the west and saw a cloud that resembled a 400-acre fire, but was actually a nasty rain cloud. Sure enough, once the gun went off, it started to downpour. I figured this was sure going to help the cold and the dead legs that I had from lack of training due to the cold.

The first mile was great, I was feeling good on the flats and after the first run up, riding in around 10th place. We got to the barriers, no problems there and then onto the racetrack where it all fell apart. My chest started to hurt as though I had been punched and my legs just started to feel like dead pieces of wood. As I was gasping for air while making the 1/2 lap around the horse track, I looked down to see how my new Panaracer Cinder X tires were doing on shedding the silt/sand, amazing was the only word I could find to describe it, my tires were pretty clean.

For the rest of the race I just tried to maintain a good pace and hang on as best I could. With each lap my chest hurt worse, and at times I debated on pulling out, but somehow I found the legs to keep going. I finished the race and managed to beat a few people in the process so I was quite pleased considering.

As horrible as this experience sounded, it was actually one of the best courses I've ridden and look forward to tackling it at full force next year. The mud pit at the end provided me with some entertainment as I tried to see if I could bunny hop it each lap, but alas, it was too big. All in all a great learning experience on how to ride sick as well as realizing that when you start to feel sick, go to the damn doctor.

Did I mention that after our race ended around 1115ish, the sun came out and the rain went away. Guess this wasn't my day!

Joel Liefke
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