WeBe Monte Vista
9/10/2013
Eric Schettler
Quite a long drive Friday.  Picked up Janik in Flag around 2pm and didn’t get to the race site until after 11pm (12pm CO).   As soon I we began to unload, I heard a tire leaking.  Great.  I picked up a huge piece of metal in the left rear.  Not a good start to the weekend but I threw the jack under it to level out my bed and went to sleep.  Got up early Saturday to register and get ready for the pre-ride.  We heard a few rumors about how deep some of the water crossings were in the registration line.  Some looked a little “mysterious” from up on the embankment but we figured it couldn’t be that bad.  

So we headed down to the pre-ride and caught our first glimpse of the silt bed just after the first water crossing.  I think the term “Tar and Feathered” is the best way to describe it.  Luckily the silt was only for 200 feet or so before the course turned up into the trees.  The wooded sections were just like "the peaks" (Flagstaff) but a little tighter and more elevation change.  It was mostly hard packed with some black rocks and a few soft corners.  After about 4 miles we popped back out into the river bed.  The next water crossing looked like it had some bigger rocks and maybe a little deeper.  It was.  I fell over in the water after finding a 2 ft hole.  Sweet.  Boots were now full of water but luckily I kept the bike running.  The next 3 water crossings weren’t much different but luckily I made it through without a problem.  However I was drenched from head to toe and what was next……….a silt bed!!!  It was short though and we headed back in to the trees for another couple miles.  Crossed the river again and came to an easy/hard split.  Hard route had 3 or 4 logs and then a double log (on top of each other) that was about 3 ft tall.  They were staggered slightly on the right side so it made a nice ramp.  Very fun section.  Twice more through the river and that was a lap.  I could have done another but I have never gotten so wet and dirty in 7 miles before so I decided that was enough and headed off to dry out my boots. 

Watching the C race start (only about 50 C riders) we quickly realized that the start was going to be everything if you wanted to stay dry at all.  It was a pretty gnarly start down in the river bed in golf ball size rocks and it was only about 100 feet for the front rows until you hit the water.  There was a split around an island making two water crossings.  One was definitely deeper than the other as we watched a few C riders get pitched off.  We then tried to hike to every crossing to get a good look and find some lines.

I rode Open A and was on the second row.  Pro2 was on the same row so there were about 12 of us.  Janik was on the next row in 250A.  I wanted a holeshot, but if not I planned to take it easy in the water and try to stay dry.  The plan went out the window as soon as the flag dropped.  I was about 5th off the line and we all just pinned it across the water.  I might as well have just closed my eyes for the next hundred feet.  It was like getting sprayed by a water truck in the face, sitting on the rear fender, wide open, and scared to let off because there were likely a few more guys right off my fender.  The silt wasn’t too bad yet but my goggles were trashed by the time we went into the trees.  I would try to wipe them but my gloves were soaked too and  it just smeared the silt around.  There wasn’t much opportunity to pass in the trees but luckily one guy went down in a split, blocked another guy and I luckily was in the other line and cruised by both of them.  The first 2 laps were pretty uneventful but I could constantly hear a couple guys running about the same pace as me not far behind.  On lap 3, Janik caught me and made the pass through one of the deep crossings in the middle of the lap.  The holes were definitely starting to grow since the strategy for most guys was wide open in first gear through the water to try and not suck any in.  The shallow ones you could skim in 2nd gear but I was scared to get too crazy on the deep ones.  I wanted to try to get Janik back even though he would have me on time anyway but I made a mistake in an alternate line and lost a position in my class after running in 3rd for almost the entire race.  Coming into the log section for the last time there were 2 guys hung up on the main line that didn’t look like they were getting free anytime soon so the only option was the left line where the logs were vertical at least 3 feet.  I surprised myself with a pretty clean run.  Finished in 4th but WeBe pulls the Overall A, B, C rider out and since the Overall A was the Open winner, the rest of us moved up and I got on the podium.  Janik won his class and was 13th OA.  I hate being wet and covered in silt but once you accepted that during the race, it was a ton of fun but we only did 3 laps.  The local Amish were the food vendor.  They made homemade ice cream at the race site…….delicious and interesting to see their funky motorized ice cream churner.  They headed home in their Chevy Suburban.  Hmmmm………..

Saturday night it started to rain but it was short lived and didn’t change the conditions much.  We watched the C’s race again Sunday and now the water crossings were truly no joke.  Possibly the deepest water I have ever crossed.  In their Ironman Mini Class (rode the full course), I don’t know how some of these kids on 85’s made it through the water.  They looked like they were submarines but I only saw one or two of them drown out and stall.  I got a better start Sunday but completely got disoriented in the thick silt and fell back to 6th or 7th.  Much dustier in the trees today I hit a rock I didn’t see and bounced off a couple trees, ripping my jersey and body armor wide open.  I thought I was still riding good but guys were all over me today.  Pro2 was moved to the 250A row today (not sure why) so they were the first to catch me but Janik was chasing the leader of his class soon after.  I let them by but could not come close to running their pace.   Today they added a new mile of rocky trail and a couple alternate lines.  I eventually settled into 5th (I think) and just rode a smooth pace and tried to save energy as today we were going to do 5 or 6 laps.  Some of the river crossings now had what seemed like 3 foot holes and I was shocked that my bike never sputtered.  The clouds had been building up all day and as the white flag came out the rain started to come down pretty quickly.  Talk about changing conditions.  The silt was now loam, the tacky was now mud, the hardpack was now ice, and my goggles were ready to come off.  I debated running my roll offs but there was so much water that I think it would have gotten underneath and been a disaster.  The downhills were super sketchy and one uphill was so bad that I had to turn around for a 2nd attempt.  I think I dropped 3 minutes on my last lap.  I rolled the dice and took the “easy” split to avoid the now wet logs hoping some guys would be hung up but it did me no good.  Janik was on fire Sunday and took an 8th OA but I was hoping for better than 5th in class and something like 29th OA.  I felt good though and was happy to not have bonked out since the elevation was about 9000 ft. 

Webe puts on a good show but I thought the turnout was a little low at about 140 BB and 30 something kids.  The biggest difference I saw between AMRA and Webe was just their overall professionalism, organization, and speedy results.  They were doing the OA podium interviews by the time I got back to the pits.

Sure was long drive home.  I made a wrong turn in Durango and cost us an extra hour.  I Got home at 2:30 this morning.  Thank goodness I took today off…….

C race pics below - Starting line, water crossing at the start (the tar), silt bed at the start (the feathers), other water crossings.

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