Trying to have fun racing bikes, but having a hard time succeeding.
This past weekend I learned that 7 is a very, very mean number. If 7 were the number of puppies at my house, or the number of mountain bikes in my garage I might have warm and fuzzy feelings about it, but 7 was the number of 3.8 mile laps us pro women raced in the Colorado Springs US Cup race this past weekend. Combine 7 laps (same number of laps as the men) with altitude and a little heat, and it makes for an almost 2 hour long sufferfest like none other.
Now, you probably know by now that I LOVE racing bikes, but this was maybe the first race I've done where there was no time for laughing, smiling and chatting up the spectators. This was 2 hours of punishment, whose reward was a few short descents and more laps of agony.
This was a particularly stressful part of the course, a climb I could not clean, that haunted me the night before.
The race stared with sleep deprivation the night before on account of nerves. I lay in bed thinking about how hard I would have to work to pass other racers on the fire road ascents if I got stuck behind someone on one of the many narrow, super techy, steep climbs. Fortunately the race blew apart on the first lap, so getting stuck behind anyone wasn't an issue. After a hard effort off the line to get a good position going into the singletrack I put myself a little too deep in the red, and payed for it 2 laps later, and 3, and 4... I spent the race chasing 13th place, only to fall apart on lap 7 and get passed on the final climb, landing me in 15th. There was really not much I could have done as there is absolutely NO OXYGEN in the state of Colorado (or I am extremely wimpy about elevation!), and I made sure to leave everything I had out on the course.
Some highlights from the race include; crashing on lap one on maybe the easiest section of trail, then laying on the ground wrestling with my bike for a while, getting a bee (or wasp) stuck in my skinsuit on lap 7, and having it sting me in the ribs a few times while I tried desperately to not get passed, and lots of technical features (super steep/rocky little climbs, some ruts, and some fast loose fire roads) which made for a mentally and physically challenging race.
In the end you can't really complain about spending your weekend mountain biking, as one course marshal kept pointing out each time I passed him, and the variety in courses over the 4 race series made for exciting times. I learned a bit about suffering, and had a blast hanging out with the super fast women I get to compete with/against. Oh, and I almost forgot! Even with this less than stellar performance I scored 10th place in the 4 race series, so that is something to smile about!
Now it's time to reboot, get some quality training in, and do some (read A TON of) laundry!
Oh yeah, and a huge, gigantic thank you to the super awesome folks at SRAM for spending an hour or so before the race helping me deal with some bike issues. They were so so nice, and absolutely made my day.
I couldn't have done it without you SRAM!