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Since moving to Germany, I have been out of the race scene and my mountain biking has slowed down to a nice leisure pace.  This leisure pace has taken me riding all over Europe and it’s been an incredible experience.  Even though mountain bike marathons are not my style, I couldn’t resist a MTB race in my own backyard!  I went conservative by signing up for the middle distance of 41km which is about 25mi.  It rained Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning right at race start.  The trails were a muddy mess.  In German style, the beginning of the trail was uphill.  With only a mile into the race as I was pedal mashing up a muddy climb, I was already contemplating just riding the 3km straight to my apartment.  One mile into the race and I was already covered head to toe in mud.   I had to take my glasses off but soon regretted that because mud was flying into my eyes.  I could already hear the grind of the mud against my bike transmission with every pedal stroke.  Riders were already scattering on either sides of the trails due to mechanical problems.  I made a mental note to keep shifting to a minimum.  At that moment, I just wanted to commit to finishing the race without any expensive repairs to my bike.  Descending became a practice in controlled sliding and avoiding other riders.  I became rather good at it.  Once the field became spread out, I fell into a nice rhythm that I figured I could maintain for the duration of the course.   It was also nice to see my friends Randall and Graeme at the top of the climbs waiting for me.  Right before we hit the half way mark, the trail turned into this sloppy slimy muddy hill that no one had traction on.  We had to walk and my strained hamstring (a 2 month old injury that only bothers me when running or walking) was not very happy about it.  That walk made my leg muscles tight and it was difficult to cycle the lactic acid out of them.  After a short little climb back on the saddle, there was a rest stop with electrolytes and bananas!  Just what my lactic acid heavy legs needed!  A nice lady even came over with a water bottle to spray off my mud clogged rear derailleur.   I love it when things fall into place like that.  At moments like this, I feel blessed which I know I am.  I said a small little prayer of thanks, inhale a few bananas, sucked down my sport drink, put the water bottle away as a souvenir, and put my glasses back on.  Now, I was ready to tackle the second half of the course.  We were rewarded with a mile long descent.  Towards the end of that descent, Graeme loses traction and skids out in front of me.  In an attempt to avoid him, I made the mistake of braking too hard and skid out too.  I managed to get out of that fall with just a banged up knee and a sore nipple from being scrapped on the ground.  The rest of the course were filled with rolling hills followed by a single track hill climb for our last mile.  Many of the trails I had ridden a million times before but just not in these conditions.  It amazes me how unique trails that I rode all the time became.  All I can say is that I survived and had heaps of fun.  I finished injury free and with zero mechanical problems.  It turned out to be a great bonding experience for my friends and I that rode that day.  Several of my other friends rode various distances.  At the end, we were all equally filthy.  We posed for pictures, drank beer, ate bratwurst and crepes.  When I got home, I had to undress in the yard,  wash my bike twice, remove about a pound of mud out of my cassette, and take a nap.  Sadly that was my first and last race in Germany.  I will be back in the U.S.A. in a mere two months.  My next race will be back in Texas in August.

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About dpangster

The Earth is my playground and my goal is to explore its entirety. This is my adventure blog. If I could, I would spend all day outside. My lifestyle revolves around living healthy and being fit.

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