You are hereshorttrack
So yesterday was likely my last bike race ever. I hate to say it, but I am fragile. I often get in unfortunate situations and just have some unfortunate luck, as much as I try to ignore that fact and to have a positive attitude.
Seems like every week, 90 minutes before race time, I find myself laying on the couch, feeling exhausted and wondering how I will possibly bring myself to get up, much less race.
But I paid for the whole series of racing already, so I always drag myself up, ride the 10 minutes to PIR, spend more time making bathroom trips than warming up, and then toe the line, going on faith that I will somehow make it through the race.
Miraculously, every week, I make it through the race.
This week, I was the first to line up. The second was Shawn, a woman in the single speed category who was very happy to see me, as she has apparently been using me as a 'rabbit' for at least two race seasons!
"Well, I'm not feeling too peppy, but I'll do my best," I told her.
The announcers for this week must be trainees, because after a few minutes, over the lineup of guys in front of us, I heard the cutest little toddler voice say, "Welcome to short track." When it was time for us to be sent off, a girl of about 8 or 9 yelled "Go!" enthusiastically into the microphone. Start 'em young, I say.
I had what was probably my best start ever, racing off the line and taking the first turn behind Mielle Blomberg of Team S&M, who won the last race. She was soon rocketing away, and I shouted to her "Go get that beer!" as she pulled away. (There was a beer or coffee prime for the winner of the first lap).
It was a good day to have a great start, as I heard what sounded like a pretty bad pile up behind me going into the second turn and just hoped Jess wasn't caught up in it.
Before a few more turns had gone by, all the fast girls started passing me, putting the universe back into it's proper order. That included teammate Michelle Kunec, who I *used* to be able to catch last year, until she went all crazy hardcore mountain biker chick on me. She complimented me on my start as she went by. I also survived getting passed by Tuuli The Menace(TM), which I have so nicknamed her after she bulldozed a few teammates last week trying to pass in tight corners.
I settled into a good rythym and somewhere in lap two, I heard Shawn behind me. I knew it was her because she would call out, "Rabbit...." trying to get me to go faster. When that didn't work, she finally passed, and said, "Come on let's go." We went back and forth the rest of the race and it was fun to have her around. As we went through the twisty, hilly section in the trees, a friend of hers who was watching said hello. "Oh you dyed your hair!" said Shawn.
"No, I just cut it."
"Oh well it looks great!"
"No chatting in the race!" I yelled back, just to give her a hard time.
A couple of rivals went in lap two, but they pulled away so fast, that it was clear I would have to hurt myself beyond the bounds of having fun to catch them, so I let them go. Basically my main goal was to not be caught by Loraine, a former team mate now riding for Guiness Cycling. Don't ask me why, my ego just wouldn't allow it. Every twisty section, I could look back and see her sitting about 15 seconds back and it was great motivation to keep pushing.
I never know how many laps I have to go which makes it hard to pace myself. The first race I did the lap counter said 2 to go, but then when I came around again, we were done, and I let a rider nip me at the line.
This week I again saw the 2 to go sign and treated it as such, and was able to hold off Loraine.
After the requisite hacking and desperate lunging for my water bottle, I found Jess to see how her race went. I had seen her early in the race, looking good on the woops section (rolling hills). Unfortunately, she had a random crash in a corner in lap two which took our her derailleur hanger and ended her race. Sweetheart that she is, she watched the rest of my race without cheering, not wanting me to worry that she was hurt. She also let me know that I finished ahead of Jan Moss, one of the strongest riders on our team, but a relatively new mountain biker. So since I will likely never type these words again, let's just note for the record that I FINISHED AHEAD OF JAN MOSS. :- )
Another week, another miracle of getting off the couch and having a fairly successful race, ie. I finished strong and kept the rubber down. Hoping for better luck for Jess next week!