Splatter Painting

September 11, 2007 · Print This Article

By Angela Brown
Columbia, Tennessee

I raced on Sunday (my first Sport class mtb race), which turned out to be the muddiest race I’ve completed thus far. The Lock 4 Challenge II was held at Lock 4 Park in Gallatin, TN, on Sunday, September 9. Rain was falling when I left the house, but I had missed the first race in this series because of a twisted ankle, and I wasn’t about to miss the second because of Mother Nature.

I arrived to a steady rain. Rumor has it that the place turns into a mudpit when wet. This was only my fourth time on the trail. All three of my previous rides had been in the drought conditions. Sketchy, dry dirt is a challenge in and of itself, so really I don’t care either way. Different conditions, different challenges. I proceeded to the sign up table and listed my new racing category: Sport. Already I felt better!

Right during our warm-up and line up time of 9am, the sky opened up and soaked us all in a steady downpour. At least it was a warm rain. Water dripped off my helmet, soaked my socks, and fogged my glasses to the point of no use. When I made fists with my gloves, it was like wringing out a damp dishrag.

With four Sport women lined up to go, the Sport class guys took off ahead of us and chopped up the trail into a soupy mud. I took the first section of the trail through mud that was thick enough, in some areas, to lose a shoe in if you were hiking it.

It continued to rain through part of my first lap, making some sections of the trail very, very interesting. There are parts that will send you down a hill and into the lake if you’re not careful. I attacked those cyclocross-style, dismounting and carrying my bike through, then getting back on. My only scratches of the day were from doing this, so I’m not convinced this was a good idea.

Then, I felt myself going down and slowed enough to land softly into some shrubs…face first. My face was covered in leaves. I hope it made some kind of pretty pattern. The turtles came out to play and I dodged at least three on the trail.

The second lap, the water had either receded some, or drained, because things went much better and faster. In my last three miles, the expert guys started catching me (their race started later) so I knew I had to get this thing over with. I stood up to crank it out for the uphill finish.

For my first Sport race, I took 2nd place on the 17.5 mile total course in 2:07. And I slept like a baby Sunday night!

I went for a dip in the lake at Lock 4 afterwards with some friends….fully clothed to wash the mud off of everything. I even had mud in my teeth, and slung it in my eye at one point. You haven lived until you’ve attempted an eyewash while moving on a bike, lemme tell ya…..



Thanks for reading!

This fabulous post was written by one of our awesome bella volunteers ~ To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.


Got something to say?