I got to the race in Duluth and saw a bunch of really muddy, miserable looking Sport racers. My wife and I immediately talked about turning around and going home (in a way I'm glad I didn't). The parking lot was a mudfest. I needed to throw the Jeep in 4WD to navigate. There were quite a few racers milling around the ski chalet. Talking to them, I got the feeling I was in for a really weird race.
So I paid up and went for it. Off the line, I moved to the front and led up the hill. My legs felt great. I was ready to rip even after the hill. The mud came right after the crest of the hill. I started dismounting frequently while in the woods. Lots of people with better setups and better running ability passed me. At the end of the day, I finished 17th overall, 6th again in my age group. Nils Boberg finished 36 minutes in front of me. Good for you, dude! He is really fast, and must have had an ideal setup. The expert group was won by Jack Hinkens, almost an hour ahead of me on the exact same course. I would have brought up the rear in that group.
In the future, if I'm going to race in the mud, I'm going to do it with mud tires on an old wheelset. As it is, I learned about mud and I nabbed some series points bringing me into 3rd place in a very competitive group.
Photo courtesy of Dana Schoppe.