July 4, Independence Day for the US of A.
Eszter and I were standing there together, listening to people talk about nerves,and what people were nervous about. I said, “I’m just nervous my legs won’t feel good.” and there it was – I doomed myself.
We got to start in a parade, which was fun and there were tons of people lining the streets. Once the neutral roll out ended, it was on. My plan was to start easy. I didn’t try to push and watched the field ride away from me. Instead of my legs feeling light and easy, they felt totally loaded down before I even started pushing. I just hoped they would start feeling better soon. Of course, more waves of guys blew by me up the hill. I kept eating, drinking, and hoping for them to ease up and let me race. No can do… I wasn’t breathing hard, my legs were just dead – kind of like in the short track a few weeks ago.
I found myself getting passed by more and more people, and having no power at all. The week before, I felt awesome (and I even felt strong during warm up). I was riding almost everything in my middle ring (mostly b/c my granny wasn’t working). On Saturday, I was off the bike and walking up climbs I powered up just 6 days before. I felt increasingly more upset and was still not feeling better, no matter what I did. I was also worried I was digging myself a hole for the next race. I am no quitter and only drop out if I am extremely sick or injured. However, not quitting a few races in the past had been catastrophic. My stubbornness not to quit when I felt bad resulted in overtraining and anemia. I already had to swallow my pride and except my result would be sub-par, but should I quit? Would I be dooming myself for the next race by forcing through? My thoughts were interrupted at the high point of the course where I saw Carney on the side of the trail with a flat tire. I stopped, pulled off the trail, and started talking to him. Turns out his tube was a dud (ohhh been there), so I gave him my tube. He was also out of CO2, so I gave him my CO2. What the hell, I didn’t even know if I was going to continue. I talked to him a little bit and said I was sad that I physically was unable to race. I saw another group coming, so I decided to jump back on the bike.
I got back down to the start/finish and decided I could not quit. Yuki and Junko were pitting (thanks!!!) and we searched through my drop bag for the extra tube and pump I threw in my bag. I hopped back on and putzed away for lap 2. I wanted to turn around on Boreas Pass Road and go back. I also saw the clouds moving in. It began to sprinkle. I just hoped the lightning would stay away.
Around mile 35, something happen. A switch turned on and my legs suddenly felt light and full of vigor. I was hoping for this…it happened in the Whiskey 50 too (you’ll see I felt so bad I wanted to stop in that race t00!) after about 3 hours of feeling like poo. I tried to make up as much time as I had wasted a) standing around and b) not riding fast during lap 1. So…LESSON! Even if you think you might quit, don’t give up, don’t stop, don’t stand there and chat to your friend. I flew through the rest of the lap and passed a ton of people. It was awesome! I unfortuantely ran out of trail and the race ended, leaving me in 12th place. Very disappointing, but leaves a demon to conquer for next year! 50 miles, 11,000′ of elevation gain total. I had fun once I came around, I just wish I had been able to race at the start. Character building experience for sure. Funny thing, b/c in previous years results, my time would practically have landed me on the podium, even with all the mayhem that sucked my speed away. This year, things were quite different. Oh well!
Thanks sooo much to everyone who was cheering. The support helped more than you know, and guys in the race – thanks for the camaraderie and encouragement. Especially thanks to Jeff for telling me the morning of,”Don’t give up!” That played in my head. Melissa Thomas also came by me (she and Kerry Barnholt were doing a team!), and she gave me some good words too. Great job to everyone in the race!!!!! Just finishing that beast deserves a pat on the back and some cookies.
The next day, Dejay Birtch and I went to heckle the dudes at the Breck Epic Prologue.
Yes, Dejay is in his man panties. Now you can see how loud and obnoxious I can be as a spectator…good thing I’m a racer. It was fun to watch…and believe it or not, we were NOT drinking. My throat hurt after from screaming!
I seriously wish I was racing the Breck Epic. Maybe next year…. I had to come back to work (boooo), but luckily I was very efficient last week and will be able to get back up to Breck on Thursday and ride the Breck Epic stage Thurs and Fri.
Next race will be Boulder Short Track on Wed (BRAAAHHHPP) followed by the Breck 100 one week from Saturday. If it takes me 3 hours to finally feel good on the bike, at least I’ll have like 7 or 8 more hours of racing to go. 🙂