07 November 2011

I'm Going to Keep Talking About It

oh yeah, a couple more fun facts about the swank: there were twenty-five women (nicely done ladies).
and twenty-four out of 192 participants hailed from this county. go locals!
and the only racer who was younger than me? tristan.

Say My Name

The weather was perfect, the temperature rose, the trails were in great condition. As usual with Todd's events, the course was well-marked, the cheerful volunteers were out en masse, and there was free coffee, beer, and burgers for all. It's safe to say that at least twenty of my friends and teammates raced, and those who didn't cluttered the course, heckling, pushing, and offering all manner of aid.

So this is why people pay to do this.

Stuck on intentional repeat in my brain was the new Florence + the Machine song "Spectrum", in which Florence emphatically commands, "Say my name." That's how good I was feeling. Say my name, gravel road climb, root basket on Butter, old dudes on singlespeeds. I don't think I've ever approached a race with such confidence, excitement, joy. That effervescent spirit buoyed me through almost the whole forty miles, deserting me only during the interminable hike-a-bike on Farlow and on the shockingly painful final climb to Cove Creek.

The chips fell pretty early in the women's field--Karen Masson, local ass-kicking older lady, passed me on Daniel as I struggled with chainsuck and I never saw her again. Every spectator taunted me with her phantasmic existence: "She's only fifty seconds up, go get her!" I mistook "Karen" for the name of another super-strong endurance racer, who has given me hours of amusement with her melodramatic encounters with celiac. She uses gluten as a verb, as in, "I went to P.F. Chang's and I got glutened (ominous music)..." so I gave chase and decided that my battle cry was, "The power of wheat compels you!" This is what hours of climbing does to me. I didn't realize my mistake until the end, and was happy to see the victor eating a healthy helping of gluten-contaminated food.

I finished second, fifteen whole minutes behind Karen, but still feeling like a rock star. Everyone from the PAC had stellar races--Kym was hot on my heels and Jenna, Katie, Jordan, Jess, and Erica all had strong finishes. Most of my favorite people packed the top fifteen; props especially to T Cowie, you sneaky bastard, who would've probably won if he hadn't been so damn covert.

It was bike racing at its best, that's for sure.

04 November 2011

Crazy Running

i found myself doing a bit of crazy running today. not running something crazy, which i tend to enjoy, but crazy running, which i tend to not enjoy. you know, when you're running along on autopilot and you've worn your old shoes which you forgot get terrible traction in thick leaf cover (reason #17 why the shut-in was so damn hard) and you find that your heart is really pounding without your permission and the light is tricky on sycamore cove (the light is always tricky on sycamore cove this time of year) and you're literally (and probably figuratively too) kicking yourself because your form is so sloppy and your foot placement sucks and some weird song refrain is playing in your head and suddenly you're seeing all snakes instead of roots and the only way to end the crazy is to stop. breathe. tell your body to calm down and behave itself. walk a little. and then you proceed onward and you shake it off and after a bit you remember the mechanics of this silly sport again.

good luck to all ye denizens of the trail, for tomorrow is the shut-in. you're made of stronger stuff than i.

03 November 2011

High Country Cross

This weekend I attended the Boone CX race, which has become through the years the only one I'm willing to travel for, because it always guarantees costumes, tandemonium, free-flowing beer, unusually interesting courses, and a decent party or two the night before. This year was no exception. After dancing for hours with my dear friend Rosie the Riveter, I rolled up to the fairgrounds cranky and dehydrated with thirty minutes to spare. Pinning on two numbers, (why, NCCX? Why??) I griped and bellyached as usual, and on the start line, in some weird fit of self-flagellation, situated myself behind all twenty-three of the other chicks. Then proceeded to have a damn good time. After working my way through the field I caught up to a pretty dynamic chase group and legitimately raced the entire forty-five minutes. Every time a wave of fatigue and out-of-shapeness washed over me, it just as quickly subsided. The Deutschbike again proved itself a rad racing machine and I didn't forget to enjoy the little techy sections, although my barrier attempts are as schizoid as ever. After fighting tooth and nail to the finish, I landed in the money (barely).

And as usual, the what-ifs began: what if I took this more seriously? What if I laid off the pre-race stupidity, the swaggering bravado, the bad attitude, the refusal to rest, warm up, drink, or fuel properly? It's never been my style but racing smart could have all sorts of pay-offs. What if I'm full of unrealized potential? But the what-if train always grinds to a halt pretty quickly. My work schedule permits very little weekend racing, my priorities lie elsewhere*, I'll probably never stop having a bad attitude, and I really like to just have fun.

Picture obviously stolen from The Gruppetto Project

But just once I'd like to show up in a t-shirt and really wow 'em.

*Swank this week!!