Lisa's Mum has taken her time in arriving in Belgium, partly because she enjoys 40 degree days in Australia and partly because she needed time to come down from her post-David Bowie tribute bender. Lisa's Mum has always adored Belgium. Apart from grey being her favourite colour, Mum takes pleasure in gumboots, cowbells, and a good dollop of mayonnaise at any time of the day. This gives her a natural affinity with the Belgian environment. Belgians are not big tea-drinkers, but one cannot have everything.
Lisa's Mum's first order of business was to lay some sizeable bets on the outcomes of the various national CX championships around the world over the weekend. Despite a handsome payday in USA, It must be said that she lost substantially in Britain, and broke even only by avoiding a promised payout on Vanthournout winning a fifth consecutive under-15 Belgian title. By fortunate coincidence Vanthournout had in fact entered the elite men's race. Lisa's Mum breathed a sigh of relief that no one had though to check his ID and made a mental note to send him another series of Octonauts. That done, she turned her attention to her next task: responding to her fan letters.
Lisa's Mum would be overwhelmed by fan mail were it not for the fact that most of her fans do not write. Fortunately Lisa's Mum always takes time to mingle with her fans in person, and is often asked at such times to contribute her vast wealth of knowledge for the greater good of her people. Today one such fan asked Lisa's Mum to provide insight on that most holy variable of CX racing: mud.
It is true that Belgians have at least 24 different words for mud, in the same ways that Eskimos have many names for snow and Australians have many names for James Hird. Below are a few of the most common types:
Baby poep modder (Baby poo mud): Slippery and wet, it leaves you wondering where it all came from and how on earth such a tiny patch of land could generate so much of it. Often smelly. Never easy to clean out of kit.
Pindakaas modder (Peanut butter mud): Sticky and clingy, this stuff spreads like cement and adds at least a kilo to your bike's race weight after a lap. If so inclined, one could pause mid-race to built a small shanty town out of it.
Ghostie modder (Ghostie mud): The mud that's there when you think there's no mud. You'll be riding over a mound, minding your own business and peg down the other side only to find a few giant ruts eating into the exit of the mound. It's a good opportunity to reflect on your naivety as you collect your bike from the other side of the course.
Superfood smoothie modder (Superfood smoothie mud): Good for the skin but detrimental to morale, this mud appears healthy on the outside but rips through you and costs a bomb, mostly in replacement drivetrains. Commonly found in large quantities in urban areas.
Ziel verneitigen modder (Soul-destroying mud): The Death Eaters of the cyclocross world, this mud is so deep, thick and soupy that riding is impossible and one must run, sobbing quietly, with bike on shoulder. Can only be overcome by running quickly, or shouting Expecto Van Der Poel! while waving a magic wand.
Lisa's Mum is always glad to provide advice on all things cyclocross, racing, tea and buttered scones. Hit her up by providing a question in the comments section, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a telegram (first class only please).