I got my butt kicked! Monday night a group of us headed to the Short Track Races for another lesson in mountain biking. I decided to move up to the woman's sport division because they get to ride for 30 minutes instead of 20. Figuring I needed more of a workout this seemed like a great idea.
Kris and I arrived late. Between traffic and flat tires on her bike we were scrambling to get there, sign up and have enough time to preview the course. By the time all of that happened there was NO time to ride the course before the beginners and juniors started. I had no idea they changed the course every week. A total surprise! Kris did get about 5 minutes to ride and reported back. She said, "Oh my, this course is hard". There were other words about hills and hairpin turns, gravel traps and technical moguls. I was glazed over and very nervous. With my type A personality I need information so I can control my environment but that did not happen. I was able to just go with it so I consider that letting my hair down. We watched Trisha and Darin over in the technical mogul area and that just plain freaked me out. Riders were having to get off their bike a lot and anticipate the corners, hills and the required gears for climbing them. I felt so far out of my element but tried to take it in stride. I tried to express my fear to Kris but she just sort of looked at me and said, "You'll will be fine".
It was our turn to line up and since I jumped up to the more experienced division my lack of proper racing pedals were really noticeable. I might have been only 1 of 3 girls without an outfit.....the biking outfit. I just can't bring myself to wear those jerseys, they completely lack in the fashion department. :) While signing up in the frenzy I didn't realize they have the sport class separated by open and master woman. I signed up for the open division. Since I am a mature mama I should have taken advantage of that but it was to late. On the "GO" these riders were off for the first steep climb and before we got 10 feet out the start gate a girl clipped the back of Kris's tire and went down hard! I asked if she was okay but she got right back up and surged by me. This course was simply OUT OF CONTROL! Once we crested the first hill in which I easily rode up...bad shoes and all....I came to screeching halt. NO WAY am I going down the steep gravel descent so I stalled....bad idea. I got yelled at for not moving even though there was a ton of room to go around me. I finally went and it wasn't pretty. I rode, not on the seat but the frame of my bike screaming whoaaaaaa the whole way. My bike was skidding and swerving but I made the hairpin turn at the bottom and right into a rut I rode. This course has ruts about 8 inches wide and 5 inches deep so the idea (I think) is to stay in the rut because if you don't you need to be able to jump your bike out of it or you will fall over. After several hills, rollers and rutted areas it's was off to the mogul course. I am calling it the mogul course and am not sure what the bike term is. My years of downhill racing made me think of this because that's exactly what it reminded me of. It was up and over narrow deep rollers then up and around trees with serious sharp turns. Again this week I did well here. I am definitely more comfortable on this type of terrain vs. the giant hills where you can catch air and plummet down.
During this race I was caught by the sport men who start after us. They are fast and serious. That was a new fright. I wanted to get out of their way but I also felt the need to stay up right especially in the rutted areas. I must have said, "Sorry" 50 times.....it's so ridiculous. The term, "Fake it until you make it" comes to mind when I think about my mountain biking. No one says sorry out there. I am not going to say sorry one time next week.
The race lasted 30 minutes but I only got to ride for 26:11 because the lead woman finished before I got another lap completed. I heard the bell and was about 1 minute behind getting to ride another loop. I got in 4 loops and the lead girls got in 5 I think. How do I know I got to race for exactly 26:11 minutes????? Because I wore my HR monitor just to see what kind of workout I got. To my complete surprise my average HR for the ride was 175!!!!!!! OMG!! That is 4 beats above my threshold line so that is a serious workout. Funny thing is I didn't feel like I was breathing that hard or working that hard. Amazing how fear will adjust your outlook. I was working very hard and didn't give a second thought because my mind was busy focusing on other things. So.......I got one hell of an anaerobic workout gotta love that. Darin rocked placing nicely among the men. Trisha has no fear, is a natural on her bike and I actually think she likes the intensity. Kris was all business, did an amazing job getting one more lap than I and finished with more blood. :0 I think we will all be back for more.
Tuesday was a scheduled track workout. I headed off for my warm up which lasted about 30 minutes then it was 4X1000 meters. I head off for the first one and it was so sad. I had nothing! My legs would not move fast and it was hard. I cool down and head for another. NOTHING! I had to abort the mission. First time this year! So, the question is.....did the bike race have anything to do with it? I haven't decided if my MENTAL knowledge of how hard I worked on Monday night had more to do with my lack luster performance than my actual body. I am sure there was some residual effects from the race but I wonder how much of it was mental. I guess I will have to do more studies......
I love riding my bike and can't wait to get better on it. It's going to take a lot of practice but I am patient and excited for the challenge. I am however a big chicken.....maybe that's why they call my Rooster???