Even though the route on the second day trends downhill, there are some sections of the trail that defy belief that anyone could ride up or down them. Not far down the path from the moguls, there is a steep drop into a deep ravine. Of the three women ahead of me, two of them wiped out and then three men came booming down the track and smashed into them and they all fell over as though they were a string of dominoes. One guy was thrown from his bike and plummeted into a stand of young trees and wet bushes and it was only by "The grace of God" that no one was seriously injured.
Just a way down the course as you round a curve, there was a sight that caused all of us to stop in amazed dismay. The route up ahead was so vertical that it gave the illusion of being a wall made of mud. I could hear groans behind me as weary and soaked cyclists came upon the sight. There was nothing for it but to hoist our bikes onto our shoulders and start climbing. The trick to making it up the sheer incline was to make like you were cross country skiing and use the edges of your cycling shoes to cut into the muck and grunt your way to the top.
After another brief stop at the next checkpoint it was a long slog through the mire to the finish line in Hinton. Twice, just before completing the tour, I lost all braking power and I had no choice but hang on and hope that I could successfully scream down the greasy slopes and not wipe out and either injure myself or damage "Furry Lewis" and have to take a flaggin' wagon to the finish line. After eighty five soggy clicks, that would suck!
Joel, one of the organizers, drove up on the wet double track and stopped to ask me to guesstimate how many riders were behind me on the route. Making a quick judgement, I told him that there were thirty riders behind me. Compared to last year when Jackie and I came in last, moving up thirty spots was an improvement. Especially considering that this year was the Greasefest!