Friday, May 17, 2013

Weeping Willow Mountain Bike Race

It happend!

I did my very first mountain bike race last weekend on a borrowed bike and no real idea on what I was doing.  It wasn't supposed to turn out this way but  I had signed up long ago with the vision I'd have my new bike in my possession way before this race.
  I decided rather last minute that I would head to Ipswich after initially nixing the idea as the race approached, If I could somehow make it work.  Either using my cross bike or borrowing a mountain bike that would fit me, I would do it.  "It,"  everyone kept telling me, was an "easy" course  and I'd have no problems on it.
Eh..not so much for me anyway.

I considered just riding my cyclocross bike but I 
borrowed a mountain bike last minute instead.
 A nice cushy dual suspension Specialized Epic that actually fit me pretty well.  However, I wasn't used to it and in particular, the shifting. Let's just chalk it up as a confusing mess for me.

 I was a total spaz cross chaining and clicking buttons like I had OCD while warming up. Eventually I made some sense out of it by trying to remember - Sliver shifter-BIGGER ring on the left. 
Silver shifter-EASIER gears on the right and managed to settle in during the warm up. 

 Lucky for me, my friend and Hup teammate, Kerry Combs came to the race early just to give me my accelerated course on mountain biking 101. I totally trust her and if she had said, "Don't do this race today" I would have nixed it. Kerry is a avid  mountain bike racer. She's been in the sport since 1993. Just some of the racing she has done include: Wilderness 101, Lumberjack 100 and Shenandoah 100. 100k Mohican, 12 Hour and 6 Hour solo races in (WV, CA, GA, NH, MA, VA, and Canada) I am  very lucky to have her as a mentor in my new venture in mountain biking. 
Hugs to you Kerry.

 The trails at the race were a bit slippery from morning rain and I was super tense at first . I just tried to chill and listen and follow behind Kerry in hopes I wouldn't be dragged out of the woods staring up at the sky in a prone position come race time.  

When the race started, I wasn't the least bit nervous for some reason.
The eight other veteran, (I think that's what they called us) women in my group were really nice and we all chatted waiting to line up.

When they let us go,  adrenaline took over and anything I was timid on (most everything) with Kerry on the warm up, went right out the door.  

Lessons learned:
1..Teetering along at  2mph over roots with stiff arms lands you
on your A$$.
2. Committing to doing something and then choking partially through lands you on your a$$

3. Worrying about what is behind you instead of what you are doing in front of you, lands you, you
guessed it, on your a$$.
4. If you don't have any momentum going up a steep incline,  It matters nothing that youare pedaling in an ez gear to get up it,  Boom! There you will find yourself once again, on your a$$.

All in all, I managed to stay upright a good portion of the way  but not without exiting the woods white knuckled  from my death grip on my handle bars and at the finish sporting a leaf and dirt motif.  I'm sure I was a spectacle in the woods especially when I would
grab on to small trees like safety bars installed in bathtubs for seniors to get through some twisty narrow
junk on some of the trails trying to stay upright. It was super fun though and I'm stoked to  try and get better at it.

Soon I will have my new bike and I hear the awesome Bee Keepers over at Seven Cycles/Honey are STOKED to
design and paint up something new and a little bit out of the ordinary.
I can't wait to see it. But one thing is certain, when I look down at my pretty 
new bike it will remind me of this: 

 I'm trying something new and albeit, somewhat difficult for me. It's for fun
 and it's purpose is
 to keep me fit while I find my way back into cyclocross with an ACL tear far behind and forgotten.

Thanks for stopping by!