Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rasputitsa 2015

The 'titsa!

Loosely translated Russian for 'mud season'.  This race/ride has had a lot of chatter behind it in the cross community and Eric talked me into it for this year.  I'm glad he did, I'm really digging these early season adventure rides.  Interesting, challenging, everything I like about mountain biking but on the road!  Mountain bikers take note!

our meal ticket was a Livestrong-esque bracelet that said Never Give Up in English AND French

Since its inception a few years ago they move the course around a bit but they always try to incorporate as much dirt/gravel as they can as well as a section they call Siberia or as I've seen in print Cyberia.  This section is usually barely rideable if at all and can be quite long depending on the course.

My streak of impeccable VT event weather sort of came to an end yesterday.  It certainly could have been MUCH worse but it wasn't the kind of day you wanted to stop and take pictures.  It was more of a we better keep moving cause its real cold and it might start snowing harder soon kind of day.  But those can be fun too!  Roads were in better shape than I was anticipating as well which was nice.  There had been a lot of chatter online in the days prior with some grim reports of slush and deep mud.

I would say conditions ended up being a bit worse than the Maple ride but still very manageable.  Some descents were pretty squirrely and there was some serious washboard in sections.  Lots of water bottles getting rattled out of cages all over the place.  I'm glad I decided to bring my mountain bike.  I would have been really nervous about crashing on some of those descents and blowing my stitches out.  Probably wouldn't have but mentally it was much nicer to be on the MTB.

This year Cyberia was a looooong section of 'road' that was basically an unmaintained mountain pass to get us back on the Burke side of Victory State Forest.  The whole thing was about a 3-4mi climb gaining just over 1,000ft.  The first mile or so was dirt road but then that changed over to snow machine trail that might have been rideable had it been colder but as it was it was about 1-3in of soft mashed potato snow on top of a harder ice crust.  i.e. not rideable even on an MTB.  This section of snow machine trail was about 2.8 miles. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

I would say it was a torturous trail of tears but it really wasn't.  Most folks were just trudging along, chatting, trying to ride here and there and failing.  It was long, and took a long time but it was cool terrain.  At the top of the pass they had an aid station with volunteers wearing rubber unicorn heads and handing out donuts so it was all good.  We then got to descend for about a mile or so on the same trail which was fun.  Very glad I had my MTB at this point.  Lots of folks had to walk it but I was able to ride most of it.

I got real cold descending off the mountain once we got back to the road.  Once we got down into the valley it was a roll'y dirt road back up north to Burke.  Legs and lungs still felt ok but hands and feet were uncomfortable and I was getting ready to just be done.  The 1K to go sign was a very welcome site.  I had hung back with Eric and we crossed together mid-pack for 211 and 212th, I think he beat me by 2 thousandths of a second.  We were 1.5hrs behind the winner.

Post race meal was amazing.  Production value of the event was great.  Great support, well marked.  Another early season event I would highly recommend to anyone that likes bikes of any kind.

hands down best post race meal I've ever had. POUTINE!