Last week's 1st race of the winter series was a cold snowy affair. This race on the beach promised a different environment with warmer temps and mud/water instead of snow. I got to the race with plenty of time and did a warm-up on the beach and single track with the WTAC folks. We encountered plenty of water hazards and knew this was going to be a messy race. I made a last minute decision after the warm-up to ditch my heavy Cascadias and use the light MT00s which would hopefully drain better.
|We're off! - Photo by Jana Walker|
It had been cold milling about before the warm-up but afterwards I felt pretty good and despite the wind I opted for the shorts/singlet combo with a hat & gloves. Galoob led us down to the starting line and after a few instructions we were off. We first ran down to the far end of the beach - the beach was awash in stones which made me question my choice of footwear. But I survived this section without any missteps and soon we had made the turnaround and were back in the sandy section.
I could see Ryan Woolley off ahead in the lead, following by Bob Jackman, FiveK, another turtle and then Jonny and Justin. There were a couple other guys and then myself behind Nate & Jeff. The three of us passed the other two and I found myself behind Jeff as we left the beach. We splashed through a couple big pools and then hit the short road section. Then we entered the Black Point trail network which winds away from the beach before turning back. It sounded like we had put some distance over our competition and I really wanted to stay with Jeff since we'd disappear from their sights on the twisty paths.
|About to hit the singlepond...er track - Photo by Scott Mason|
The initial portion of trail was finely crushed gravel which made for easy running. Just as we turned back toward the beach it became dirt. Or should I say mud. And I also noticed that one of my shoes had come untied. Curses! I was afraid it would pull off in one of the mud bogs and tried to avoid the deep stuff as best I could. Jeff began to put some distance on me as I became more selective in my lines. There's one downhill jaunt where I glanced back and saw Nate not too far behind. I tried to keep the pace up as I didn't want him near me when we hit the beach.
|Chasing the Gazelle to the Finish - Photo by Jana Walker|
Right before you return to the beach there's a wild section that runs through the stone ruins of a house. Now it was filled with mud and water. Scott Mason was there snapping pictures - I'm sure he got some good ones. We had to jump across some big rocks and then we were back on the beach where the cross wind hit me immediately. I felt like I was moving so slowly. I tried to push it to the finish as best I could. I knew I wasn't going to catch Jeff but I was afraid Nate was on my tail. I didn't dare look back.
In the end Nate was farther back than I thought and I crossed the line only three seconds behind Jeff. WTAC had another strong team performance and we got a box full of Berkshire Brewing bombers as a prize. I'm pleased that I was able to stay with Jeff for most of the race and I'm happy with my shoe decision (even though one of 'em came untied!)
|Huge team turnout! - Photo by Jana Walker|