My first adventure of 2008!
I woke up at 6:50 this morning. Yes, thats what I consider early for a weekend. Maybe I have a little bit of college hours left in me after all these years. I was getting up to mountain bike. In a race no less!
I showed up at Papago park ready to go. Signed the documents, payed the $30 fee and headed out on a couple of prerun laps. After two laps I learned that I don't have the ability to do warm up laps. I just really like passing people whether they know their racing me or not! haha!
I watched the pros and it struck me, as it always does, that mountain bikes "look" slow. Most likely because I'm more used to seeing dirt bikes which are startlingly fast.
Don't let that fool you. Piloting a 25 or so pound bike which kicks and bucks with every golfball sized rock you hit is a hoot. You're on your toes with legs bent the whole time trying to anticipate each jolt. There is no way to expect each one so you just hold tight, let the suspension (in my case my legs) soak up the bumps as they come.
After watching the pros I did all of the last minute bike prep items.
I had a chance to ride the course the weekend before so I sat around looking like a weirdo with my eyes closed picturing the course and running a lap. I did two "mind laps." No, it didn't tire me out to much. :)
A shot of the empty start/finish line.
My buddies Brandt and Mike came by the race. Mike was checking it out for a possible future race career and Brandt was saddling up for his first race.
(this was only my second so I'm no pro)
Danica was the photog and pit crew. I decided not to carry anything ,but a water bottle and a clifshot gue pack. In a 40 minute race I figured a flat means its over. If I needed anything Danica was there with it and Mike was there to ceremoniously mock me. :)
I took a Clifshot and road over to the start line. Brrrr. It was somewhere in the fifties and every second at the start line was sapping energy, real or imagined.
Brandt on the right and I a row up on the left. Its a mass start and the placement is first come first serve.
And we're off. My "strategy" ,although I don't act like I know anything about strategy besides pedal lots and do it fast, was to get out front in the beginning.
I figure if I could get out front that I would be able to race my own race whether I pass or get passed. If I was stuck behind big groups it would frustrate me and give me one more thing to worry about. It took a lap to get out into some clean air. My lungs were burning from the cold air.
I had gotten lucky. The general course I road a week before was almost right on. I let my mind go to auto pilot and just pedalled away. Every now and again I'd pick off another rider. After a short time I realized I was lapping folks. It was my third lap. That was a great moral boost.
The race is supposed to be 30 minutes plus a lap. I figured that meant about 4 laps total since each lap took me about 10 minutes in practice. Somewhere on my 5th lap I realized I was going to have to ride more than planned since I was riding faster. The pain was immense and I was coughing up stuff as my cold lodged itself in.
I longed for the sound of cow bell...
Why? Oh, because that signals the last lap. No white flag here folks, just the magical sound of a cow bell signaling the last lap and end of pain.
Brandt huffing along. He did great.
Thank goodness for cow bell. The last lap was great. I finally let myself stop racing my own race and decided I needed to make sure no mistakes were made this close to the phi... finish. I had no idea where I was except that I was up front somewhere. There were no other riders in sight or I would have made a hearty attempt to catch him.
Ahh that beautiful word: Phinnisch... Huh,
Mountain bikers are a strange strange group. I feel at home with them.
Brandt rounded the finish or phinnisch line at 4 laps.
Because of my self loathing torture I was able to squeeze in 6 mortifying laps. Okay, now I'm being dramatic. It was fun and I got 4th!! Woohoo!
The pain was intense, but as I sit here in bed about 5 hours after getting home coughing and taking every cold drug I can find I can only think; LIFE is good. What a day!
I'm going to bed now... At 6:40pm yes I am... :)
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