Finally, after 11 months, the time had come to race my bike! I was beyond nervous and excited but mostly it was just great to be back in the swing of things; pre-riding with Nina, catching up with all the bike-racer friends, staying at Shannon’s, giving Kenny grief and hanging with Leon
The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde was a great first race because the vibe is mellow and fun and with the lap format race style, I didn’t have to worry about a crazy, ballistic start. Since I was doing the third and seventh laps, I could make them both TT efforts and not have to fight for position with a bunch of crazed racer chicks, like usual. Though to say that I didn’t race like a crazed chick myself, wouldn’t be telling the whole truth…
Though I knew to keep my expectations low, I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to GO FAST! So as I headed out for my first lap, I spent the first half a lap just getting in my own way. I was trying so hard to go fast and it was such a shock to my poor body, I was blowing every corner, slamming into every rock, skidding and generally riding like a lunatic. Not good times. Finally, I got my head on straight and started riding a little smoother and it made me smile to race my bike again. I checked my time after the lap – it was almost identical to my first lap there last year – though the course was a couple of minutes faster this year with a harder packed trail and no sand – making me a couple of minutes slower. All things considered, I can’t be too bummed about that – this time last year I had been racing for two months already and probably had a bit more speed in my legs.
I was hoping to do a hard ride on Sunday in order to put two solid efforts in back to back, in preparation for TSE next week. So I followed Nina and Kenny around while they chased STRAVA segments. It wasn’t a super long ride but I was pinned up all the climbs and ready to throw in the towel after being dropped repeatedly. Ouch.
I followed that up with one more hard effort on Tuesday by jumping into a local mid-week race. This may have proved to be my undoing, however, as I followed a quick, smooth start with a floating back to dead-last six minutes into the race. Then floating all the way back through the Expert Men’s field as well.
*Sigh* Here’s to hoping the endurance and rock-riding skill is there for TSE and that my bionic elbow holds up, too! Either way, I’m foaming at the mouth to ride the rocky PA trails again – given everything through the last year, fast or slow, I’m pretty stoked to be healthy and riding my bike.