Caked in mud from head to toe, Shadd Smith surveyed his blackened mountain bike on Saturday morning at Lawrence's River Trail.
``I really need to get it hosed down, to get it wet right away,'' the 26-year-old Smith said of the $2,000 prize bike that carried him to victory in the sport expert division of the soggy Sunflower Games.
As far as cleansing himself, Smith, a 1995 Kansas University graduate who lives in Overland Park and works in Lawrence, said that could wait.
``I've always been that way. I've grown up getting dirty,'' Smith said with a laugh.
He had no problem with muddy trail conditions on a wet Saturday morning, finishing the 19-mile race in 1 hour, 22 minutes, 49 seconds.
John Brown of Pittsburg was second in 1:26.27.
``There have been races where, if it's sticky mud, it can be a problem,'' Smith said. ``If it is a clay-based mud it can bind into your brakes and your tires won't even move. I've had instances where that was the case. You get off and jam your fingers in there and start going again.
``This is a sandy mud and doesn't stick as bad.''
Smith, an account executive for Carrousel Trading, breezed to victory Saturday. He took the lead three minutes in and never looked back.
``There were a few ascents that were kind of tough and demanding, but it's like rolling hills. You can keep your momentum, get up that next hill real easy,'' Smith said.
``There were probably three places where it was super slick, where if you did come around a corner, you would definitely slide out. You had to be cautious on that.''
As an accomplished mountain biker and triathlete, he has experienced all sorts of conditions during his 12-year racing career.
``I do a lot of races in Colorado. Comparatively, this is really fast. It's a little flatter and not as many climbs,'' Smith said. ``Overall, it was really fast. Sometimes it can be an endurance race if it's a long run. This is middle road.''
Endurance is one of his strengths.
``Probably years of practice and building endurance for it and a pretty good tolerance for pain,'' Smith said of his strengths. ``You've got to keep going through it, no matter what if you want to survive the race. Everything worked out for me today.''
The Smelser family of McLouth had four cyclists represented. Scott and Grant Smelser placed first and third respectively in 13 and under. Mark Smelser was third in 17 and under. Father Allen competed in the 45-up competition.
``It's the first time we raced together. I raced last year and took second. It's their first race,'' Mark Smelser said. ``It was a lot of fun today. There were some tough spots in the mud.''
Amber Mounday was the only women's competitor on Saturday. She competed in the sport expert division.
Sunflower Games official Dan Pasman said there was no way the competition was threatened by morning showers. Mountain bikers compete in soggy conditions as long as there is no lightning.
``There was a good turnout of people who had a lot of fun,'' he said. ``Hopefully it'll grow more next year. Mountain biking is really popular right now.''
More cycling was on tap today with cycling in several categories at East Hills Business Park.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is email@example.com.