Monday, August 1, 2011
I’m not a big fan of competing in sports. My job is stressful enough so the last thing I need to do on the weekend is stress more. But still on occasion I’m convinced to compete. The most recent example was the urban criterium mountain bike race in Lakeland Florida.
The race involves riding up a parking garage, down said parking garage, down stairs, around part of a lake with a hill, down more stairs, some tight turns and then you do it all again for several laps for a total-hard core-pushing it workout of close to 50 minutes. I’ve actually wanted to do this race for a while since it sounded so cool being able to bike down steps in the middle of town and not be kicked out by the security guards.
So I carbed up with the largest pasta meal ever and headed out on the short road trip with ‘Super Estonia Girl’ and my biking and utility buddy ‘Knobber’. Both of them decided not to race so essentially they were my pit crew. They helped tune up my bike, take pictures, cheer me on and more as you will read later. I felt like I was at Tour De France with all their support.
I was nervous. I always get that way before a race and hence the reason I don’t like to race often. My friend ‘Goldi’ was also nervous and we seemed to feed off each other and make it worse. Thankfully the nervousness goes away the moment the race starts and my competitive nature kicks in. I took off fast and was in first place for women the first lap. I couldn’t believe this as I hadn’t trained and I thought I would do much worse. Then I was passed going up the parking garage and figured she would disappear and that I’d definitely gone out too fast and furious. But she didn’t sprint off and I was able to stay close behind.
Between huffing and puffing my engineering mind kicked in and I realized she had more endurance but possibly less technical skills. So my plan was to make time on the downhill and try to find a good place to pass on the last lap. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as I hoped and going as fast as I could on skinny and high pressure race tires turned out to be a bad idea. I skidded out on the lowest level of the parking garage. I quickly got up and jumped on my bike to continue my race. My brakes were rubbing so my dreams of first were gone and I was just hoping I could hold on to second or third.
Luckily the breaks stopped rubbing when I used my mad engineering skills (I kicked them) and I managed to hold on for second place. The adrenaline was still pumping and I didn’t really feel any pain even though my whole right side was dirty, bruised and battered including a huge strawberry on my hip/butt. Goldi was nice enough to shout out “cute girl needs help with her butt”. Sadly there were no takers on this tidbit of information but my awesome pit crew was there for me with peroxide and bandages for my injuries. I did somehow manage to make it fun by asking if the huge welt made my butt look big. When we put the peroxide on and it turned white everyone went “oooohhhh”. So I said it sounded just like Fourth of July fireworks again.
In the end there were four women on the podium ranging in age from around 15 to 50 something. I thought it was way cool to have such a wide age range which included us ‘established’ women and the next generation too.
Even though I’m currently still nursing my wounds, I still had fun and hope to do it again next year. I’m not a big fan of competition but I guess doing it from time to time can be exciting and gives me something to look forward to. But next year I will just train harder so I can do better on the up hills instead of trying to make up time in the down hills and leaving half my skin on the parking garage first floor.
Cat “I’m All Right Now” Cathy