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Mudfest 2012, a.k.a. Rome Winter Cyclocross

Kelly and I rolled up to David Heath's farm in Rome, GA on the morning of December 30th, wondering the frozen ground would evolve as the day went on. It had rained quite a bit in the week before the race, and then a good freeze set in the afternoon before, hitting 29 degrees by late afternoon. But, as you see below, the temperatures were on their way up so we had no idea what was in store for us. Her race was at 10 and mine was at 10:45... and that 45 minutes made a big difference.

As it turned out, we saw the full spectrum of The Mud Index that day. As the rock-hard turf softened up, some parts became less slick and others got more slimy, the grassy parts became less bumpy and grabbed the tires nicely, while the exposed clay sections got more challenging as the layer of peanut butter over ice got thicker and thicker. The farm has also been used for motocross racing, and had an awesome whoopdie-do section with two sets of doubles with a puddle in between. For most of the day, the fastest way through the section after the barriers shown in this picture was to drill right down the middle where the slop was kind of soupy instead of getting bound up in the goopy gunk on the edges. But, the later it got the more the tires churned it all together into a mushy mess the consistency of cookie batter but not as tasty.

All in all it was an awesome race and the first one where I felt my Carver was really dialed in. I ran a 41x20 which worked out perfect, as I was able to pedal the whole course without really spinning out and there were only two places on the course where I had to really grind. I was riding Challenge Grifo 32's which were pretty slippery and really didn't shed mud very well so I couldn't turn as fast as I would have liked. Kelly loved her Maxxis Mud Wrestler 33s which treated her pretty good as she won her race! I held my own amongst the guys with gears and felt satisfied about it. As always the great folks of Rome were fun and hospitable and put on a damn good race!