It has been absolutely beautiful in Corvallis the past few weeks. The trails are dry and fast, the sun has been shining, birds chirping. People were starting to think spring had no showers!
But, that had to come to an end. Why? Because the Mudslinger XC Race is this weekend, and it has to live up to its name.
I didn't do the pre-ride this year, but have been out and about - finding little bits of mud to get accustomed to riding in the slick. I'm not real excited about the "Root Down" section of trail - last year I walked it during the Mudslinger because it is steep, and when muddy - it's scary. I rode it well during the TOE 50, but it was dry then. Other than that section, I'm pretty psyched for the race.
My goal (which I set last year after finishing the Mudslinger) is to get on the podium for the Clydesdale category. If last year's times are any indication, I've got to finish 22 minutes faster at around 2:45. Given that I had a mechanical that stole 7 minutes and kind of sapped my resolve to race super fast, I think it's totally achievable.
A first place might be within reach, but the guy who finished first last year is a really strong rider, and I did have nearly 6 weeks off, so my training isn't quite where I wanted it to be. Nonetheless, I'm ready to give it my best shot.
If you're curious what it's like out there in the woods, there are a couple of videos worth watching. The first is really well produced and shows the beauty of the riding in Blodgett. It's from the TOE race from last year.
Test of Endurance from Mike Ripley on Vimeo.
The second is Mike Ripley's introduction to the Mudslinger, and shows some action from the viewpoint of the rider. Like most videos shot from this angle, you have no good gauge of how steep or flat any particular section of trail is. So, imagine it real scary, or not:
And, while I'm putting videos in, check out this video of the High Cascades 100, the race I'm aiming to finish in the end of July. You can also read one guy's realistic account of it here.
Watch more video of 2012 High Cascades 100 NUE #6 on thom.cyclingdirt.org
Let the racing begin!