At the National XC Round held at Thredbo last weekend I was pretty keen to cash in on all the climbing I’d been doing in New Zealand, have a ball on the track around the golf course, and generally aim to build on my experience from the last round to put together a better, stronger race.  Unfortunately everywhere we traveled this weekend had more or less flooded, and the golf course track had been removed in favour of some trails through the grass on the other side of the hill that quickly turned into a boggy mudfest.

I went for a slide on said boggy mud practicing the course on Saturday – one of those crashes where one leg stays up the hill, and the other leg slides down it still attached to the bike – which bruised my knee in about five places.  Clipping in and pedaling sent an amazing pain through my knee and up my thigh and, at the time, practicing the rest of the track felt like one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (although in hindsight it wasn’t, I was just feeling miserable).

Come race morning, as I watched the rain from warmth of the tent, silently adding up the potential cost of bike repairs after a greasy race, I was pretty grateful not to have to ride in the conditions – although spectating was great fun and it did look like a lot of people were still laughing and making the best of it once they were out there.  For more photos of the fun had in the mud, check out the gallery on cyclingnews.com.

**Update** When I still couldn’t put pressure on the pedals the following Wednesday, I learned that I hit my kneecap hard enough to bruise the bone underneath it.  The good news is that 2 weeks of rest from riding coincided with 2 weeks of perfect weather for swimming, snorkeling and frolicking at the beach.

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