This morning was beautiful!! Blue skies, temp only in the 60's, no humidity! Hubby can't race due to Patella tendinitis, out for another 3 weeks. So I'm racing today, he's support. My bikes loaded, riding clothes packed, food packed and ready to go. Poor dogs are sad, they aren't going. The power went out this morning and we were concerned about the sump pump not being on, the water table is high here right now with all of the rain and we live next to a river!! Thank goodness the power came back on, all is good and we head out.
Nice drive up, get unloaded, dressed, pre-ride. Talk to Chris, his comment is, "if you think you need to get off the bike, do". I'm told over and over, it's VERY muddy, very muddy!! Slippery, muddy, did they say muddy?? We were suppose to do 3 laps, it was cut down to 2. Yes, that tells me it's not great riding conditions. Oh, those poor riders that did the endurance race yesterday!
We line up, there aren't many women today in Cat 2. Good start, Emily (She's 18) is in the lead, then Pam. I am right behind Pam. I'm trying to get into a nice climbing gear, it keeps skipping, all of the sudden my chain is jammed between the largest cog and back wheel! Crap, get off, muscle the chain out with the tool that hubby gave to me! I'm in the woods, it's dark, can't see anything without glasses. Catch back up to Pam, get riding again. Shit, chain jams again! Everyone passes me. My team mate Ramona checks on me, nothing she can do. I hike my bike to the ski slope where I can see. Flip the bike over, get the chain out. Looking at the derailleur I see the screw on the low setting is hanging out. Oh, yes, it falls out onto the ground, in the mud and rocks! You know what comes out of my mouth, nothing nice at this point!
I actually find the screw!!! Get it back in place, play around with it and it seems like the bike is shifting okay. I remount my bike and start riding. I'm upset and want to quit. I tell myself I'll just see how it goes. So I make it around and down and up and see another rider in front of me, a male but still another rider!! I can catch him and I see Ramona up on a climb!! I follow the male rider and get to the water station and realize I DIDN'T take the right trail!! Shit! Now I have to turn around and back track and try to find where I screwed up! I will not cut the course!
I do find where I made the wrong turn, make it back to the water station, actually stop and drink a glass of water. I decide at that point I will just do one lap and take a DNF. The back half of the course is pretty fun! I complete my first lap, there's Jill, Helen, Chris and Eddie all cheering for me! Do you think I can stop now?? The bikes shifting okay, I can't let them down!! So I keep going!!
Hubby is yelling something at me as I'm starting a climb I look back and yes, I CRASH!! Duh!! Oh well! I get up and keep going. Get up the climb, my goal at this point to enjoy the ride and ride as many of the technical parts I can. Amazingly I catch my team mate, who is encouraging me to keep going! Love you Ramona!! Then I pass another woman! Hot digity dog! I just keep pedaling along, it's beautiful in the woods, the smells are amazing, so intense with the recent rain. The mud is sticky but it's manageable. I see Pam starting a climb as I'm decending, I'm yelling at her, "good job, keep going!!".
I get to mile marker 4 miles! Only 2.62 miles left, WOW how did that happen? Now it's pretty much downhill. I work my way through the technical parts and finish out the race! I end up in 4th place in the 35+ AG today, not too bad with everything that happened! Showered and changed then we watched the Cat 1's and Pro's finish out the day.
What an awesome day! I learn so much about myself during my races, even when I have every reason not to continue I know I can keep going even if it's just one pedal stroke at a time. I know others who love to ride their bikes and can't and would give anything too. So if I quit, I'm letting them down, I can't do that! I feel this carries over to my daily life.
I have so many things to be thankful for, my wonderful husband who cheers and supports me, my family and friends that are there for me, and at this point in my life my health that I can go ride a mountain bike up mountains!