Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

Holding on for 8 seconds and other lessons for racing in the Mud

Amanda Bye raced SOCO Castle Rock this weekend in the mud. Read on for helpful insight on CX racing in challenging conditions. 

Cyclocross State Championships is held at the same amazing race venue each year and the weather has historically been challenging. In the past, racers had to contend with rain, mud, snow and ice. This year was to be no exception. There was a foot of snow four short days before the race and then in true Colorado style the weather warmed considerably. Saturday’s race was soupy mud but come Sunday we were racing in a slog of mud that was difficult to stay upright in.

The start is uphill to a steep decline, ladies were falling left and right but the descent was not the worse part, it was all the sticky, slow moving mud that followed. I remember allowing my bike to roll as quick as it could go and holding on for dear life as it made quick jolts left and right through the mud. I felt like I was on a bucking bronco. I knew I was not the only one when later I heard that our teammate Wendy Stalnacker said to Gayle Connell “Gayle, stay on your bike!”  We were all struggling and yet this type of race also brings everyone closer together.
Here are some tips for racing in the mud (before, during and after):
Bring a plastic bag for your wet, soppy clothes. Also extra lube, a dry rag for your face and body after using warm water bottles to rinse off (trust me this is the best thing to bring).
Get a good warm up in as you will be working hard the whole race.
Since you preroad the course, wash your bike and lube your chain and pedals.
Make sure your shoe cleats are clean also.
Don’t warm up on the course with your bib straps or skinsuit down as that then gets muddy and then you have to put the wet parts on your body, unless you have another kit (which is recommended, as is additional socks and shoes)
Bring extra clothes for post race
Pedal, pedal, pedal
Look for dry grass or dirt. If those are not available and you only have the choice of sloppy, wet mud and slogging, thick mud, go for the wetter mud as it is easier to ride through.
Let your bike guide you. In other words, light on the handlebars but keep your weight balanced. Too far forward and it is easy to endo as you dig into the mud, too far back and you risk letting the front wheel sliding out.
Brake as little as possible, the mud will slow you anyway.
Smile– everyone is struggling, might as well tell your brain that you are having “fun”.
Take lots of photos.
If there is a power washer available, wash your bike. I know it is cold and all you want to do is change and go home but this is definitely worth it to not have to do it later.
Use those warm water bottles to rinse off your face and any other exposed area of skin.
Smile again as you are on the podium.
Change out of wet, cold clothes and into dry ones. Put those dirty clothes in a bag for later.
Say ‘thank you’ to the race officials and go home to shower, drink something warm and relax.

Cx Champs podium Amanda blogimage (1)CX Champs Amanda blog2