What a Mess-tival!

Jurgen poses for possibly one of the best cyclocross pictures of all time.

This Sunday I felt the sweet call of the tweed, but the call of the mud was louder. Missing the first cross race of the season just didn’t seem right, even if it was to dress in my finest petticoat. What also didn’t seem right was the number of people who voiced their disappointment when I didn’t show up to race in a petticoat. Weirdos.

Mudfest, as you have gathered from the reports and photos shared thus far on the interwebs, was a spectacular season opener. Talk about a good start – there had to have been close to 50 people in the B race alone. I was about 40 people back.

Under sunny skies and temperatures in the high twenties, it seemed decidedly un-cyclocrossy – until I saw the torturous and slippery course designed by diabolical cross-tacticians Ian, Hal and Tomek. It was an unholy marriage of white knuckle turns on sketchy looseness to ball-breaking grassy straightaways, with some technical bits thrown in to make sure lots of people would fall down. And, of course, the mud pit. It was awesome. Here, Tomek proudly inspects his handiwork in action.

While not terribly graceful at times, I did manage to stay upright on the turns and technical bits, only pausing briefly to make intimate acquaintance with the tall grass on one particularly heinous curve.

Not unlike the first day of school, everyone was out in their finest finery. JP looked ravishing in his knee socks, an unexpected and flirty match to The Sweetest Kit in the World. Even the Dark Lord was sporting a new aero-haircut, specifically designed to reduce air friction.

I almost caught G doing something awesome. Almost.

The people of St. Adolphe were exceptional hosts, ensuring everyone was sufficiently fed and watered after their race. They even supplied a big water truck to hose down the muddy racers and their children. Man, those kids (mine included) were relentless in their heckling – mercilessly berating racers who chose the gentlemen’s barrier leap over the oozing mud pit. Clearly they are not the laundry doers in their families.

Resident paparazzo Stefan joined in on the fun, suffering for his art in the form of dehydration, burrs and a blown tire on his wheelchair. Thankfully, like any blue-blooded cyclocross fan, Stefan is a sucker for punishment. He took some really great photos again. Have a look at the whole sweet mess of them here. And if that doesn’t satisfy your lust for mud, Karlee G. took a break from kicking ass to come out and watch her Dad race and take some great pictures too. Mike P. opted out of washing Jane’s bike and decided to shoot some pics instead. And you really have to check out the video. We are an extremely well-documented bunch.

You’ll also notice the Dark Cross propaganda department has been very busy.

My kids came out and took some pictures too – like Mom bombing down a hill like a lunatic on her bike:

And Mom trying not to run over rubber duckies with her bike:

Silly Mom.

And holy hell it was hot! Considering the relative short duration and typically cold, wet conditions of a cyclocross race, water bottles (and their cages) are generally considered an unnecessary hinderance. In fact, if you carry a water bottle in a cross race, it better be full of beer. Forty-some-odd waterless minutes of extreme effort in the heat was enough to make me see mirages in the delirium of the final laps.

With the nervousness and anxiety of the first race out of the way, I am looking forward with great enthusiasm to the next one – the much anticipated DarkCross. To say it’s going to be great would be an understatement of epic proportions.

MudFest results are here.