I promised fireworks, hard racing and excitement at the final Ascent Cycling Series. I wrote that on grey, dreary day with thunder rumbling in the background, feeling hopeful that we would be racing. After all, it was supposed to be sunny with a 50% chance of showers for Race day, and the ground needed all the moisture the clouds were currently dumping. We'd be racing. It might be a little muddy a little damp, but we would be racing.
Well... For the first time that I can remember, Mother Nature beat out Andy. The sun never came out race morning. In fact it was pouring on and off all night. I woke up to a heavy layer of wet clouds that didn't look like they intended to go anywhere. It started raining early and kept up the intermittent rain throughout the day. After a course inspection in the morning - contrary to what he'd said about calling the race just before the 4:00 start time, the post went up. Race cancelled and we would not be using the rain date (given how much it's still been raining, the result if we'd tried to race today would have been the same.) So no fireworks, no finale, to the disappointment of every racer hoping we'd be able to toe the line.
But with mountain biking in general and racing specifically, we have to respect the trails we use daily. We all look forward to the excitement of racing, but is the damage the race would cause under the conditions yesterday worth it? No. Absolutely not. Andy made the right call, canceling the race. There is no way the trail network at Bear Creek terrace would have survived the beating of the Ascent Cycling Series with the amount of rain we have gotten in the last two days. A road race? Sure - we can ride on wet roads. But not for mountain biking. Canceling the race might not have been the popular choice for people fighting for podium positions, but it was the best for the longevity of the race series. And it was best for the racers - I've started events that shouldn't have been held. The miles I rode in that event wasn't worth the three hours cleaning my bike and the deep ruts in the trail. I appreciate Andy's willingness to make the right call for the conditions - even if it wasn't the popular call.
So the series is finished for the year, awards will be held at Ascent Cycling tomorrow. Another fun year of local racing. Next year it sounds like Andy will be back for another attempt at race 101 - and so will we. Here's to a successful year and to the promise of a full starting field for next year!