Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes: Cannondale: '94 R400; Lemond Poprad '06; Specialized Epic Marathon '06; Specialized Stumpjumper '89; Redline Proline Pro Cruiser '10
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I was in that race.
Your analogy to black ice is appropriate. The course in that section was grassy, down hill and off camber. We'd had enough rain recently to keep ground conditions wet without being sloppy. So what happens is that the ground becomes greasy in consistency-- hardpack underneath with a sticky, slippery wet top compounded by grass.
Tire tread is obviously a factor, so is skill, speed, momentum, etc. That's part of what makes cyclocross so fun-- luck is the largest single determining factor.