Month of Mud @ Bavington by mj

Sunday I decided to stay closer to home (me? yup!) and check out Pittsburgh’s local Month of Mud (m.o.m.) (and only local mtb race series) time trial race out at the Bavington trails.  This is actually Bavington State Game Lands / Hillman State Park.  For some reason we (yinzers) all call this place Bavington even though we call all our other local parks by their park name, meaning why dont we call these trails Hillman trails?  Hmmmmm?  I guess thats just one of those unanswerable questions.. like why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?  Wow, I’m stumped!

So I roll into Bavington around 9am.  I knew I didnt have to get there too early with the time trial scene, one minute intervals between riders, and racing after at least all the expert men I would still had some time to kill.  The weather was just gorgeous out so it was a perfect day to hang out with biker buds and wait for your name to be called and get going.

I eventually here my name and 5, 4, 3, 2, … overall it went really well.  I la-huuve (thats me singing “love” if you didnt catch that) the Bavington trails.. except for the poison ivy!  (Yeah, I got itchy bumps today.  Blurg!) I think I had a pretty strong pace (for me) through the whole ride.  The time trial scene leaves me (is it just me?) more prone to accidentally scale back with no one around and eventually realize.. crap, I can totally ride faster than this.  But I’m happy to report that didnt happen.  I also felt I did pretty well through all the tight turns.  I’m always trying to improve on keeping off my brakes and glide through most turns instead of accidentally stopping to hard and having to get the momentum back up.  And I definitely had the advantage of just stopping out there last weekend and getting reaquainted with the trails.  Not that I was killing it out there, but I know it helped me anyway.

At one point I did get a cramp high up in my ribs, which usually only makes an appearance when I attempt running.  (I guess thats why I called it my “running cramp” and another reason why I dont care for that sport).  I think I was just pushing it a little too much for too long at that point.  With only 8-9 miles to go its hard not to think “its ONLY 8 or 9 miles” like its nothing, but once my heart rate is maxed out and I’m full throttle for however long (too long!) I quickly realize “its still 8 or 9 miles, knucklehead.. bring it back a notch.. OR DIE!”   So I scaled back and survived the remaining milage alive and well.  My cassette tried to eat up a twig right around the same time, so I paused to release the twig back to the wild and try to alleviate the crampage.  It did the trick as once I got back on the bike and rolling again we were both a little happier.   

I approached the well known demon drop and my nerves spiked a bit.  The first roller right BEFORE the demon drop.. where the 15 arrows and yellow tape lines started (well done racer organizer people!) is where I biffed it last week.  There are some roots and a stump that you need to wheel through.  Totally do-able, but when your brain turns all retard on you, you just cant guarantee what you might accomplish, so I make sure to focus on the clean line and no problamo!!  Cleared it like a champ!

On to more fun trails, the hikeabike was rough.. the remaining few miles had a lot of fun rolling hills.. as most of the trails are out there.  Gary Bywaters (coolest official on the east coast) was awaiting my arrival and I finished 4th girl overall.  I’m not sure what he clocked me in at , but my gps was right around the 54 minute range.  I am happy with that.   Such a small race when I have been dabbling in the longer endurance scene this summer, but jam packed full of fun and good friends. 

Big props and thanks to Chris Huffman, Matt Tinkey, Tom Bell, Ty, Gary Bywaters and any other superb people that helped to organize the race.  Its truly wonderful to have this series in our back yard.  Small compared to our neighbors, but full of much love.  🙂


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