Today was not a good race for me. Not as cold as yesterday, but the mud was more abundant because of some overnight rain and because of some re-routing of the course through some of the muddy sections of the grounds.
My legs still felt heavy. Not so rubberish as yesterday, just heavy. There was one steep run up that made me just feel old and out of shape. It seems obvious that my single speed commuting is at least partially to blame. But as to how much, I am not sure. My bike handling skills were not sharp in the mud. On the grass I was fine for the most part, but for some reason I just wasn't feeling it on that part of the course.
On the first lap there was the usual cluster of guys wrecking. I piled up on a guy in front of me and I could not get untangle for what seemed like 30 seconds. Then when I did I saw my handlebar was off center significantly. So I hopped in front of the bike and manhandled it so that it was pretty close. But having them go off center was a little worrying since it seemed very possible it could happen again in some of that thick mud.
At some point during the second lap in that same section I busted the barrel adjuster on my rear derailleur. So my shifting basically went to hell at that point. I had a hard time keeping it in any specific gear. I would have to shift around until I found something reasonable that wouldn't skip. Frustrating.
The third and final lap was better the whole way around. It was pretty clean except for one minor dab and I managed to catch two guys while losing a place to a third guy. I was gaining on another guy and had it been a longer race I would have caught him. That doesn't mean I wanted a longer race. I was ready to be done. I finished 44th out of 81. A couple of guys beat me that had no business beating me. And I can't blame it all on mechanical or on rubba/lead legs.
Am I really in worse shape? I didn't think so, but maybe. I have gained a few pounds (low 190's right now) but I have been riding more miles the past 6 weeks...meh, who knows. Despite the small weight gain when my legs are fresh I think they are stronger. At least I think so. I don't have any way to quantify it. It is a little too late now to be worrying about it. Next week is the end of the season and I am hoping for a good Master C race there. I am also still planning on racing in the Singlespeed race an hour after my race, but that is more for fun than for any expectation of doing well.
I hate weekends like this. Neither race was a great and no matter how good the excuses are for my performance I am still frustrated. And when I get frustrated or fed up enough I can often turn it in to a leap in performance. The last leap was after then half Ironman distance Triathlon. I turned that into a loss of 17 or pounds. 5 of which I have gained back unfortunately. But I am fairly peeved and that is a good sign for me, a bad sign for Packfodder Jim next year. But it is early yet so who knows. Right now I feel humbled.