First Race Ever! (Short Track)
After almost 7 weeks off the bike due to viral illness, bad sinus infection, and allergies not allowing sinuses to clear, I had a weekend of fun on my bike! Saturday was a short 20 mile jaunt up Rocky Butte, Sunday was a 33 mile loop from NoPo, out Lombard to 205 to Springwater, across Sellwood, up cemetery, down Terwilliger, east side Esplanade, then home. And today was my first ever bike race even though I have been riding my bike relatively seriously since I was 10 years old (mostly long road rides)!
I raced beginner MTB Short Track at PIR on my new mountain bike. After a very informational loop with Elaine as our pre-ride instructor, I was feeling quite nervous about all the mud and soft ground. But from what Kronda and everyone else told me, racing is easier than pre-riding. I ran into Zan while waiting and asked her if she was racing Cat 2. She said, "no way, I am racing beginner!" I thought I was going to be the only Sorella in the beginner category, so it was really awesome to know Zan would be out there with me.
While waiting at the start line, Kronda took pictures of Zan and me while we commented to each other on how we should have signs on our backs saying "Stay back 500 yards", "Total amateur", "Roadie having an identity crisis!" etc, laughing hysterically. After the men's beginner, we were off. I stayed somewhat middle to back of the beginner women, which is mostly where I wanted to be for my first race. There was at least one women I had seen on the pre-ride, that I definitely wanted to get in front of, and I managed that. The start was a nice easy flat gravel road, and then into the trees, along the backside of the course with a switchback, and then into the infield motocross section which was full of mud. The mud was sticky, soft, and rutted. I was weaving all over the place in that stuff and I just kept telling myself the entire ride, "stay loose", "look ahead", "look where you want to go". Oh, and up the hills, it was "boobs to the tubes" and "keep peddling". Yes, I am a very cerebral person.
The first lap was not as bad as I had feared. Not too many people passed me, but I hate to say it, a few kids got me at some point. Zan and I passed each other a few times throughout the entire race. We cheered each other on when we saw one another, and she in particular was cheering me on when I would manage to pass her on the very steep infield hills. Somehow, I managed to make all of the hills unless there were people stopped right in my way. I was very impressed that I was able to do this, as I feel that I physically am not that strong. But in racing, it is easier to find the muscles to do things you did not think you could.
The second lap was my best, stayed on my bike the whole time, as I recall, and pushed myself a bit, and even passed a few people including two men! Granted, they were huffing and puffing and struggling a lot. ;) But then as I reached the finish line, I heard, "one more lap", and I was sort of counting on only having to do two! So, I mentally prepared, and told myself "only one more", then I broke it down in my head into two sections--the grassy part, and the infield. That made it seem more manageable. But my lungs were definitely feeling it. Oh, and my legs too.
On the third lap, I went back and forth with this kid, which was a bit annoying, but ok. Then I also had more of the men lapping me, some of them passing closer than I'd like, but that is racing. I finished strong, passing the kid and at least one women very near the end.
I have no idea what place I actually got, but don't care. Oh, I did beat Zan. ;) But Zan is also recovering from some pretty bad bronchitis and I am sure this is the only reason I was able to beat her. Thanks Zan for all your cheering! Oh, and thanks to all the other Sorellas out there cheering--I heard you and it helped! My goals were to stay upright and to finish, and I accomplished both and didn't finish last.
After the race, my lungs were suffering greatly, I downed a bottle of water, ate some PB&J, and watched Kronda and the other Sorellas race Cat 2. After Kronda recovered from her race, we went over the cheer on the end of the women's road race. It was a really fun evening. And to top it off, Kronda, Zan, Courtney (new Sorella--welcome and nice to meet you!), and I all went to have burritos at Boulevard Burritos.
Next Short Track....who knows. I am not sure what my goals will be. I'll have to think on that. But I'll be back for more.