This was my first entry for the Husky and I was a little tentative about the event following the reported 2011 mudfest and other issues. However, I was pleasantly surprised and the event centre facilties worked well, track marking was good and lots of friendly volunteers out on the trail. The single track sections were the highlight of the race and I would like to ride them some more. That then brings us to the mud. I am simply not a mudlark and struggled to keep up the pace and keep the attitude positive.
Started on the rear of the first wave and it was a steady start only. Burnt some nervous energy really wanting to move faster than the traffic. The legs were feeling pretty good and I was picking up places but then losing ground at the bogs. On balance all good but then I had a couple of tumbles into the soup. I had new shoes and cleats and clipping in and out with the mud soon become difficult, not being able to unclip a foot to steady through the bogs and having a few more clip stacks.
Got onto the single track and soon forgot about the issues. The sniggle was in great condition and was flowing along nicely riding in tandem with PS. That troublesome cleat was getting very loose and next thing I was lying on the trail on a rocky climb unable to disentangle from the bike. I had lost a cleat bolt, got a couple of sticks wound into the chainwheel, and drivetrain in desperate need of a wipe down. Fortunately I had a spare cleat in the toolkit and lost a good 10 minutes getting sorted.
Once I got going again I felt alright for the break and seemed to be passing lots of folks but never really found another wheel to ride with. Bloody cleat was loose again and rode the next section of single track with only one foot clipped and I was sweating on the second feedstation stop as a good opportunity to fix it.....shame the stop was 5 km further than the program had indicated.
Anyhow got the shoe off, tightened the cleat, had a snack and on the way again. Still feeling pretty strong even though I was behind on food intake and a little frustrated that I could not seem to get a good pace and rhythm going. Seemed to be riding mostly on my own now and more of the same script with the again loose cleat prompting a couple more tumbles on the single track and the third feed station seeming to far away to tighten it up again.
Finished a fair way short of my target time and was pretty dissapointed. Going to put some threadlock on those cleat bolts and remember what good fun that single track was !