After collecting my mug, I procrastinated moving from my comfy finish-line chair by chatting with the race director (at least I hope that was him who sat down next to me because if not, I had a long discussion with a random man about how I liked the course despite the bad gear choice). As soon as I could move, my main object was mud removal- from the bike, from my body, from my clothes. I settled for dipping my legs in the water and splashing around, which really just moved the mud around on my body. Truth be told, I didn't really care if I was completely clean- I just needed to be clean enough to convince someone to let me book a hotel room for the night.
Cleaning the bike enough to put it back in the car proved to be more challenging, at least in my zombie-like state. I learned there was a hose in a campground a mile away, but I was too lame to ride there. After a half-hearted attempt to pay someone to ride my bike there and clean it, and a stern warning from another rider that it would be terrible for my bearings to toss by bike in the river, I settled for rinsing Chili down with a water bottle and river water. When she was clean enough to travel, I drove her to the hose for a more thorough bath. (In hindsight that was all probably a lot more work than just riding the mile to the hose....)
Since I still had daylight and no hotel room, I decided to start the trek homeward. When a sheriff in a small town a couple hours later went out of his way to inform me of an impending storm, I drove to the nearest place with a nice hotel and called it a night. Yes, I see the irony in waiting until AFTER I was covered in mud to finally stay in a nice hotel, but then I probably wouldn't have splurged even then had I not still been worried about diseases from the hotel the night before. Of course the entire room was white so I tried not to touch anything until after my shower, at which point I then had to clean the entire bathroom. Thankfully, I passed out quickly with no interruptions from fire alarms and no nightmares about cockroaches. (Unfortunately no Rossi dreams either.)
The 900 miles left to drive on Sunday actually went by fast. I've always said I learn more from my rough races than the easy ones, and the 13 hours in the car was my time to process the whole experience. Obviously, there was lingering frustration with myself. It's always tough to stomach a rough race when you realize it was made difficult primarily by your own silly choices like the wrong gear, too much tire pressure and a backpack the size of yourself. (No wonder some guy asked if I had a hair dryer in there.)
I have no idea why I found it necessary to carry the instructions for my hydration pack for 100 miles. That said, let's just say, my ride home included a little introspection about choices. (And perhaps some acceptance of the fact that I should actually listen to Big E when he talks to me about tire pressure.) However, in the end, I also learned that I can tough it out for a lot more miles than I thought possible. The way I see it- if I can suffer through 100 miles with those bad choices, the next 100 ought to be easy...