• DLT Multisport

Mud-Slinging Mayhem

On Saturday night Steve Erickson sent me a photo of a little water puddle that would be included on Sunday morning’s course for the State Championship Cyclocross event at Burns Park. Many of the cyclocross racers point to me as  the one who really wants to see them race in the rain, mud and muck. I know the truth. They love it. I have yet to hear one complaint about a wet muddy course. They were in luck for this final race of the Arkansas Super-Prestige Cyclocross Series. Just a few hours after receiving the photo of the wimpy little puddle I heard the rain coming down, in buckets.

Flash Flood - (opposite angles of the same puddle) Top photo from ArkansasCyclocross

Flash Flood – (opposite angles of the same puddle) Top photo from ArkansasCyclocross

The puddle turned into a pond verging on being a lake. The course would be taking them through hub deep muddy water. On top of that, the entire course was wet and slippery. Although the course didn’t have any major elevation sections like last weeks race at Slaughter Pen, this race would challenge competitors with rear wheel-spinning, mud-flinging, sideways-sliding fun. Hairpin turns on relatively flat ground turned into slow bike carries or crashes. This course offered no rest. It was mud wrestling at it’s best.

Daniel Lysk and Charlie Roberts of Team Arkansas Cycling & Fitness make the crossing.

Daniel Lysk and Charlie Roberts of Team Arkansas Cycling & Fitness make the crossing.

Cliff Li of Team Spokes attempts to part the sea.

Cliff Li of Team Spokes attempts to part the sea.

The B race started at 10 am with the following categories: Men Cat 4, Women Cat 1, Women Cat 2, Women Cat 3, Women Cat 4, Masters Women 35+, Masters Women 45+, Masters Men 30-34, Masters Men 35-39, Masters Men 40-44, Masters Men 45-49, Master Men 50-54, Masters Men 55-59, Masters Men 60+, Junior Men 14 & under, Junior Men 15-18, Junior Women 14 & Under, Junior Women 15-18. A USA Cycling sanctioned event, officials Steve Shephard and Ian Hope were on hand to keep things running smoothly. The B race goes for a total of 40 minutes.

Trevor Edwards makes the climb after the water crossing.

Trevor Edwards makes the climb after the water crossing.

Racers started on pavement but were quickly thrown into a series of sharp turns and barriers at the playground near the BMX track. Once clear of that section they were off to a little more road to an area east of the BMX course and then back down the road, off into a slick grassy area and up a small hill to cross some log barriers. It seemed about half of the riders crossed these while mounted but that dwindled as the laps piled up.

Alex Bumpers of Team Arkansas Cycling & Fitness hurdles the log barriers.

Alex Bumpers of Team Arkansas Cycling & Fitness climbs the log barriers.

D.K. Williams and Andrew Hall of Team Community Bicyclist approach the barriers.

D.K. Williams and Andrew Hall of Team Community Bicyclist approach the barriers.

Tammy Hottinger of Team Spokes and Emma Drummond of Team Bell & Company fought it out through the entire series.

Tammy Hottinger of Team Spokes and Emma Drummond of Team Bell & Company fought it out through the entire series.

Now into the woods for a quick singletrack section en route to the water crossing. Many of the racers claimed that a patch of wet clay immediately after the water crossing was one of the tougher sections. A good number of the cyclists turned into runners as they ran carrying their bikes through this section and on up a short but slick hill. Next they were back into the woods until they came to a fast paved road which brought them into another lap of torment.

Josh Joyce of Team Spokes looking for the singletrack.

Josh Joyce of Team Spokes looking for the singletrack.

With so many categories racing at once, spectators can enjoy several different battles going on within each lap. Cyclocross races are a great opportunity to watch from several vantage points in one race, moving around the course to see how competitors handle various obstacles.

Steve Erickson of Team Community Bicyclist and Keegen Knapp of Team CARVE pushed each other throughout the race.

Steve Erickson of Team Community Bicyclist and Keegen Knapp of Team CARVE pushed each other throughout the race.

Next up was the open category. This race includes some of the fastest racers in the state as they go at it for 50 minutes over a course that is already pretty chewed up from the previous race. The open race is for all the marbles. A large group of tough and tenacious competitors with everyone going after 3 podium spots.

It's great to see more fans showing up to enjoy the races.

It’s great to see more fans showing up to enjoy the races.

The lead group put on quite a show with Gerald Drummond and Seth Rider fighting it out right up to the finish. Seth was leading in a sprint finish but Gerald had the better eye for the finish line. Seth made the mistake of a slightly early celebration fist pump allowing Gerald to take him by less than half a wheel.

Gerald Drummond took the inside lead to just touch out Seth Rider for the win.

Gerald Drummond took the inside lead to just touch out Seth Rider for the win.

I was able to enjoy some of the other racers  push each other to strong finishes. One of the great things about a series is that by the end racers get paired up with those with similar skills and abilities making for smaller races within the race. Cyclocross is quickly becoming my favorite spectator sport. I may even try competing next year. Why should I let them have all the fun in the mud and muck?

Some spectators got very involved including dollar bill hand-ups (gotta grab it with your teeth) contributed by Team Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, swag grabs from a clothesline in the midst of the mud donated by Chainwheel and I even hear tell that a mythical Arkansas Beer Fairy showed up deep in the woods.

Chad Cragle was very excited to ride away with some nice swag.

Chad Cragle was very excited to ride away with some nice swag.

Results! 

Series results will be posted as soon as they are available.

Enjoy the photos we put on Facebook (Part One and Part Two) and if you would like high-res versions or prints please check out our SmugMug page. We now have Awards Photos.  Also watch for the story and photos of the Footdown Championship which took place just after the cyclocross race. Good Times.

Looking forward to next year and slinging some more mud.

Looking forward to next year and slinging some more mud.

View photos at SmugMug

Comments

  1. That is some SERIOUS athleticism! Awesome!!

  2. Chad Cragle (!) says:

    I took my bike apart last night. There was mud inside the frame. I stuck a water hose in the seat tube and tried to wash it out. Then I used a hair dryer on the cold setting to dry the frame out.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Keegen Knapp, one of our friends and fellow cyclist had an idea to help us out. After the Cyclocross State Championship Race at Burns Park in North Little Rock, Keegen organized a footdown contest. In this test of skill and [...]

  2. [...] Keegen Knapp, one of our friends and fellow cyclist had an idea to help us out. After the Cyclocross State Championship Race at Burns Park in North Little Rock, Keegen organized a footdown contest. In this test of skill and [...]

  3. [...] perfectly here I’m going to take a hammer and make the square peg fit: we take pictures of cyclocross races, Andy races cyclocross, we see Andy at dinner and almost don’t recognize him out of his [...]

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