Well I accomplisd something I never thgouht would happen in my life this past weekend, competing in a Pro XCT mountain bike race. Due to a sinus/ear infection the week prior and being on antibiotics for the race I was hardly in top form, and at this caliber of racing it definitely shows. Surprisingly at only around 20 miles, this was the hardest race I have completed to date, worse than Vision Quest on a single speed, and more painful than the Julian Death March on a fixed gear mountain bike (props still to my buddy Chas for talking me into that one)
Due to being under the weather I had trouble even keeping wheels on the parade lap, and about half way through the first lap I was starting to think of the point at which I will drop out and watch the rest of the race; would it be near a good technical section, or over with my friend Len who was nice enough to hand me water bottles during the race. Then I started thinking of everyone who had helped me get to this point and decided theres no way I could tell them that I didn’t finish, without having a valid excuse that is (fingers were crossed for broken chain) not to mention all of the trash talking that would have ensued for a DNF.
|I never unzip my shirt, thats how much I was suffering. Photo: PB Creative|
This racing is completely different, racers battle for a top 40 position just as hard as if they were racing for a top 10. You can not make one little mistake, or that is a position, decide to gear down a little for a climb to save some for the end, thats probably three spots. There is no leeway what-so-ever, its awesome. Since I didn’t have any pop I just rode as hard as I could the whole time, and if I was feeling OK pass a few people, and when I was feeling crappy let some people pass me. The course was very brutal, with the only recovery point at the start/finsih area, if you werent going up you were briefly descending a bumpy and technical section that lasted no longer than 3 seconds before you had to go up the next steep pitch.
|Still hurting going down, Photo: Jim Wolf|
In the end I managed to not get pulled from the race and out of around 60 or so starters I got a 32nd, ended up 16th in the super D and skipped the short track which led to an 18th overall for the triple crown. Not too bad for my first real race but I know I can do better and am anxiously looking forward to the next one.
Thanks go out to the same awesome people, Ellen the lovely wifey, Gordon and Laurel at the Velo Hangar, my coach T Glavin, and strength and rehab guru Bryan Hill from rehab united.