Written by Sarah Brown Monday, 15 October 2018 00:00
My second year at Circumburke was much different than last year’s experience in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Last year we enjoyed warm temperatures and a very dry course. This year we suffered through cold temperatures, wind, rain, hail, and some of the muddiest conditions I’ve ever seen.
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to improve my performance over last year considering the conditions. I started with the expert division and found myself warming up nicely on the initial 3 to 4 miles of climbing. There were a lot of sections of trails that were so muddy that most riders couldn’t make it through without dismounting and trudging through the mud on foot. In places where the trail was not as muddy, it was just plain slippery. I didn’t think I would make it through the race without crashing but somehow I did.
At the halfway point I was disappointed with my time and thinking I was going to finish slower than I wanted. This race is only 27 miles, which is shorter than most races I do. I found myself getting tired quicker than I should have just because it was so much work to pedal through all that mud.
The second half of the race did go much quicker than the first. The last few climbs hurt, but the final descent felt awesome. I finished in 3:53, a full 6 minutes faster than last year. I was soaked, cold, and achy from being tense on the slippery terrain. My placement improved from 26th last year to 9th this year. Here’s hoping for a warm, dry day next year.
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