Everyone looked so serious. Here I am thinking I’m one of them. Ha ha ha. Clearly I’m a wanna be.
I’ve never beaten myself up more in my life then I did today. Cross country mountain biking they call it. The marathon xc race in the BC Cup. I’m amongst Olympians in the beginning.
I recognized it to be a good day when I left my son’s buddy’s house on my way to the race and there on the front doorstep was a penny. “Pick it up and for the rest of the day you’ll have good luck….” I suppose. Then aren’t you meant to pass it on?
Anyway I took it as a good sign for the day. Put myself in a positive frame of mind. It was coolish outside but at least it wasn’t raining.
I kinda wished I hadn’t decided to do the Wild Rose Cleanse this week though. My carb loading consisted of rice cakes, almonds and an apple. Satisfied the gut in the beginning. I reflected on my son’s father’s comments when we had left the house (my son’s racing downhill tomorrow). “You’re not supposed to exercise when you’re on that though.”
I’m at the North Shore Bike Festival in Vancouver. Waiting for the race to start. I ask Olympian and BC Bike Race Marketing Director, Andreas Hestler for some advise. I tell him I’m nervous.
“Once you pedal out the nerves just relax and enjoy it,” he says. Something like that anyway.
I got a chuckle at the start when I stacked myself in the middle of the pack and some guy pegs me with an explanation that the Citizen Racers go at the back. How’d he know I wasn’t a Cycling BC licensed rider? Did I have 'C' on my forehead?
The organizer rounds up the tape markers in preparation for the start. This turned out to be the easiest part of the day. He whispered to all of us that it was a Lamond start (like I know what that is – NOT) and we’d be running that way. Sounds ridiculous I think to myself. Not a chance. No way. He’s kidding.
See the Flikr link for some race start and course action:
Nope he wasn’t. The good thing when I did my sprint across the field to hoist my bike up and carry on was that there at the front of the pack was Andreas’ bike. Me thinks to myself maybe I could get ahead of the Olympian... hee hee…
Then the fun begins. I’d heard a few people talking about how everyone involved in the race has kept the course start a secret. Chuckle, chuckle. What for?
Sure enough we start by running, picking up our bikes and then riding the BMX track! WOOT WOOT!
After that the fun really begins.
I forget to unlock my lock-out at the first single track muddy, rooty, rocky climb. By the time I notice I’m glad. It’s the start of the downhill. No wonder I was sucking at climbing. My excuse and I’m sticking to it!
I really have been training. Riding anywhere from 9-13 hours a week. Clearly, not enough.
Some parts of the climbs I had to shake my head. They really ride up this? I was Queen of Hike-a-Bike at times!
I spent time adjusting my seat position, which was good. Took a few tumbles. Mostly jammin’ or slipping. Rode some stuff I didn’t think I could. Till about three quarters of the way and I had a funny feeling in my front wheel. Good thing I stopped to inspect. Quick release was released. Oops. Happy it was before all the downhill. And smiling cause it was after the infamous Severed Dick.
I had heard a lot about this ride. Extreme. Whatever. Just a few big drops is all. About the same as the rest of the course in my opinion.
It was all challenging.
I have to say though that I was extremely grateful for all the happy, encouraging and smiling volunteers along the way. Before the race started another Citizen rider claimed he was just going to be happy to finish the race. Didn’t matter where he placed, as long as he did it. I turned around to him with my arms in the air “Hey, I’m the tailgater!”
“You are, are you?” he replies. “Then you’re bear bait!”
Oh lovely I think to myself.
Unfortunately that resonated with me for the entire four hours and almost 38 minutes I took to ride the course. Yep, I finished alive and last. The tailgater. But not the bear bait!
Note: At an after party at Andreas' house I meet the person who won the race. He did it in one hour and 53 minutes (1:53). I claim the tailgater spot and he tells me the name for the person finishing last is Lantern Rouge