13 chain drops and only 2 working gears made the Washougal 6hr MTB race a bit of challenge. Though my temper tantrum was quite dramatic a good solid time out got me back in the game. It was hot too. 85 degrees at the end of the day. The course was not what I expected. To me it felt like MTB short track racing on steroids. Lots of short steep ascents. The descents weren't long enough to get a good flow and most ended with a hairpin turn. Tons of elements. It had it all, single track, logs to jump, slippery rocks to climb and lovely rutted motor cross track. I took some good falls but nothing horrible. I have a few bruises, a handlebar jab mark on my chest and sunburned arms.
I went into the day ready to test myself. I wanted to see how hard I could go and what might be exposed. A sore butt? Racked up legs? Fatigued arms? The one element I wasn't expecting is mechanical issues. I don't really know much about how to fix my bike. Little by little I am learning which is good. I am like a kid in a candy store when people are working on their bike. Hovering over them asking a ton of annoying questions. Although I dropped a few F-Bombs and had moments that make Barbie look mature I got some great experience. By lap 3 (18+) miles I had put my chain on 13 times. On any shift up my chain would jump off. I now know how to put my chain on!
With the terrain I could have used more gears for sure but since I didn't have them my choice was to quit or deal. I wanted to quit but chose to deal. I always wondered what it would be like to ride a single speed and I got a taste of it. Good news is I was able to ride 4 more laps with the 2 gears and no chain drops. Took my bike in today and the derailer is bent. It's brand new. Cyclepath is awesome. They are going to replace it and bend the one I have back so I can use it as a spare. They walked me through all the issues and I can now see exactly what's going on. Lots of great practice. In Leadville anything can happen so now I know I can work with it, though not at all ideal, doable. Todd Janssen who calmly fixed his punctured tire minutes before the race started was
amazingly calm. I would like to channel that. With all of his adventure racing experience he's a wealth of knowledge. He said, "I can pretty much McIver anything on this bike" when referring to how he handles repairs. That's pretty cool. To have that kind of confidence. The knowledge that you can fix it enough to get you moving again is where I would like to be. With each race and each experience I am gaining just bit more confidence.
My bike handling skills got a serious upgrade on Saturday. With each lap every obstacle got more routine. Jump over a log, sure why not? Point your bike down the rocky hill and fly, okay! Skid around the corner and fall, no big deal. Bill took some serious falls on Saturday. Endoed again but rolled a couple of times along with it. He was battered. Micheal met his share of gravel as well. I think Todd was the only one of us who stayed upright! I was pretty thrashed after the ride. I rode in a high heart rate all day. Pushing myself as much as I could. I was beat for Sunday's long run. Fortunately Micheal was in no rush so in a fogged state I got it done.
I am riding the line of exhaustion right now. The last 2 days have been sort of a blur. I am paying close attention to indicators and trying to eat well and sleep as much as I can. It's busy at home. Alex is finishing up his Freshman year and his Europe trip is right on heals of his last day of school. All the Colorado plans are done and we have everything all lined up. It's coming fast and I am getting increasingly excited.
In a conversation with someone the other day we were talking about Leadwoman events. They wanted to know how I felt about it and if I was concerned. I am most certainly concerned. They looked at me in a comforting manner. Assuring me that I need not be afraid of failing. Failing is okay. I was sort of taken back. I felt like I should be sitting on shrinks couch but yet I have no fear of failing. Failing is not my issue. I have learned and thrived more from my failings as we all do. I don't like it but that's not my issue. What I don't like is bursting my own bubble. My internal feeling and drive that I can do anything I set my mind to. The notion I can put forth the effort and work necessary no matter how hard and achieve my goal. I don't like having my bubble burst. That's what I worry about. I fear becoming complacent with my dreams. Accepting I am not able to dream and accomplish. Not making the cutoff at the Leadville 100 MTB will burst my dream bubble. If I do make the cutoff at MTB race my bubble is still intact and that's what I really want. Nothing catastrophic will happen if it gets burst but I won't lie it's not going to be easy to brush off. The conversation went on and they are still sure it's the same as fear of failing but it's not. For me, it's much different.