Naomi and I showed up around 11:30. Since I signed up for the race online I thought it was okay but apparently you are supposed to be there at 8:00-10:00 and stand around in the cold and wet for several hours. The obra officials were cool and still gave me a number (386) and race time (12:50). The course had changed, they were running it all the way down to the parking lot / main gate. Every one coming down was absolutely covered in mud in the pouring down rain.
I stopped by the Kona tent to say hi and fix my tire. Butch helped me out quick then Naomi and I started walking up the road. It was raining and kinda strange because we were the only ones heading up, i seriously didnt see anyone else on the road until I got to the top. Naomi split off close the half way point and i kept going. It rained the whole time, i figured out pretty quick that wearing jeans was not the best idea. As i rode past the bullet hole riddled electrical boxes I started getting a little anxious that i was going to miss my start time so I sped up a little. By the time I got to the top i was sweating pretty bad, the roads were clear of snow this time and it was quite a bit warmer than last week. when i got to the start gate it was already 12:47. Luckily they were a bit behind schedule which i expected and i had a good 15-20 minutes before my start.
The start gate was pushed over a bit to another trail head but quickly snaked back to the Hide and Seek trail. I didnt know this section and could only see where it went. Before i knew it they were sending ghost riders down and calling me up as the first to go in cat 2.
I was stoked, my feet and hands werent numb I had some new sweet gear from Sellwood Cycle so i didnt feel like a complete idiot. They counted down, 30, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, beep! and off i went. Right out the gate mud just flew straight into my eyes, it was funny how fast that happened. The rest for the first section is a blur. I was blinking and peddling rapidly, took probably like 5 corners went over some gnarly rocks and roots and finally got to the turn that drops me onto the hide and seek trail.
Within the first turn or two on hide and seek i ran right into a tree with my left shoulder which bounced me right into a large SOLID tree from where i was rejected from the trail and ejected off my bike (the Magic bike kept racing forward) and I bounced into yet a third tree where i somehow figured out my name, the date, and how i got there. I quickly jumped up grabbed my bike and cross style hopped on ( i used some cross skills several times during this decent). The trail was a sloppy mess, I was doing my best to keep up speed, not burn out, and stay on course but being blinded 70 percent of the time wasnt helping me out much.
I felt a little slower then i should have been, i didnt take a warm up run down the course so i didnt trust the banked corners to hold me. This resulted in slower cornering and more cautious overall riding, I had already crashed hard once out of no-where so that was also factoring in.
By the half way point i could feel my jeans restricting movement and making my life that much harder, through the middle “climbing” section i was winded and felt just as slow as the first race (not super stoked about that, i think i have to really look into a hover-able and peddle-able seat height) but i made it through and continued. The nice thing about the slow down was that mud wasnt going into my eyes. As soon as i got back into the fast decent BOOM! a mud explosion into my face. The rest of the course is fun and fast and there were no major mistakes, the paved banks were fun and the final decent to the finish line / main gate was pretty fast and exciting.
I crossed the line and like most races, had the urgent need to lay down or throw up. So i basically did both. Dry heaved several times to the enjoyment of some onlookers and tried to contain the river of drool / snot coming out of my face holes. A few minutes after stopping the mud started caking into dirt which made seeing extremely uncomfortable and then impossible. Blinking wasnt working , Butch saw this and offered me some water (thanks dude!) to rinse out my eyes with. After several tries (trying to rub mud out of your eyes with muddy gloves doesnt really work so well.) I blinked my way back into the light. At this point I saw Naomi coming back down the road, the leader board had me in what looked like 2nd.
Covered in mud i went to my car to change clothes. Peeled the 20 pounds of jeans and mud off my legs and changed my shirt. I ended up taking the Magic bike down to the Sandy river and threw it in to clean her up.
I went by the Kona tent and the leader board once more to check my place and grab some remaining stuff i had dropped while puking and bumping into things blindly. It looked like I had 5th place, which is not bad but i was hoping for at least a little improvement. Naomi and I had to get to work so we took off, loaded all the muddy stuff into my car and off we went.
When i finally checked the results that night, they had me in fourth place. I was pretty stoked and as i started looking at the times closer for (1) i was only 30 seconds off the lead guy and crashed and felt slow from being blinded & (2) my time was competitive in the cat ones. So yeah any way it was super fun, i felt pretty good about my place and am looking forward to next week.