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Or is it just ‘mud’ prefixed with some localised adjectives? I ask because at the cold and wet USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, being held this weekend in Kansas, Junior Men winner Luke Keough (CL Noonan) of Sandwich, Mass. said:
“I raced out in Portland two weeks ago and I thought that was the worst mud you could find. This stuff just put it to shame - it just sucked you in, it was slippery and sticky all at the same time.”
In ‘Cyclo Cross’, the much-reprinted CX bible, author Simon Burney writes:
“Just as Eskimos have a hundred different words for snow, so ‘cross cyclists should have a varied vocabulary to describe the different tyres of mud they encounter.”
But do they? Loamy, claggy, sticky, slippy, gloopy. They all end in ‘y’. Not quite perfect descriptors, then. And, of course, ‘Eskimos’ - more accurately, Inuit - do not have an unusually high number of words for snow.
A popular belief exists that the Inuit have an unusually large number of words for snow. This is not accurate, and results from a misunderstanding of the nature of polysynthetic languages. In fact, The Inuit have only a few base roots for snow: ‘qanniq-’ (’qanik-’ in some dialects), which is used most often like the verb to snow, and ‘aput’, which means snow as a substance. The Inuit language can form very long words by adding more and more descriptive affixes to words. Those affixes may modify the syntactic and semantic properties of the base word, or may add qualifiers to it in much the same way that English uses adjectives or prepositional phrases to qualify nouns (eg. “falling snow”, “blowing snow”, “snow on the ground”, “snow drift”, etc.)
FROM PRESS RELEASE:
Despite taking onboard a course barrier stake and some tape on the first lap, Shannon Gibson clung desperately to leader Cris Rothfuss in the Masters Women 40-44 category.
Incredibly staying upright through the greasy mud, Gibson plucked the tape from her wheels and ejected it - and the stake - with a javelin-like throw to the side.
Gibson, a former ballet dancer, matter-of-factly compared the incident to a recital.
“If your costume falls off in the middle of a performance, you just keep dancing,” she said.