Monday, June 11, 2012
EnduroRama is not the typical Cross country race that I am accustomed to racing. It is a laid back fun format, with intense technical sections designed for speed junkie trail riders and cross country racers looking for a few thrills. The result is a fusion of cultures coming together for a common goal: technical riding, fast and fun and plenty time in between for some social interaction.
Each rider must complete 5 individual technical time trail sections found along a 12 mile ride. The timed sections are mostly downhill, while the transfer sections are more uphill to get to the tops of each stage. The event is also supposed to be more about technical ride challenge than just fitness, although I never doubted that the rider that would take home a crown on this day was going to have some major fitness.
EnduroRama is also a fund raiser for the Allamuchy chapter of Jersey Off Road Bicycle Assoc. (JORBA). Jorba organizes most the volunteer trail building and trail maintenance for mountain biking in New Jersey. This event was quite fitting as Allamuchy is the first park in New Jersey to have a legally built by Jorba, sustainable, advanced, skills trail: “Lumpy Bumpy”. If you have been on this trail, I’m sure you have released your personal expression of giggles, laughs, screams, and even blood and tears. Oh yeah, the trail is that good!
crowns waiting for a King and Queen
Zanfel poison ivy remover, a perfect swag bag gift
racers awaiting stage 1
We all received our little timing chip on a string and headed out to the first stage. The timing was self serve: we had to swipe in and and out, which was cool. It allowed for some freedom as the day went on. I took my time riding to stage 1 as I knew things would get backed up, and indeed they did. I had a 40 minute wait in line to my start, so my warm up climb was out the window now. This aspect of the event did not sit well with me being a XC geek that always warms up. I had a chance to talk with some down hillers in line and I realized that they were all experienced at the waiting part, and that my issues were just personal.
I had a perceived bad first stage, with miscues, slipping and sliding on wet rocks, stomach cramps, dead legs and feeling like I was having a heart attack. I never get nervous before a race, but for some reason I was a bit anxious before this event because of some the extreme terrain. I have been suffering from borderline hypertension (a hereditary thing), and this race may have compounded this situation as my blood pressure was a record high on Saturday. This in itself may have been making me even more anxious. So at the end of my first stage, I was uncertain if I should even continue.
Patty, Alex and I talked after the stage, and we decided to step things down a notch, to limit our risks and just continue and enjoy the riding. This was a great idea, and I have to thank Patty for convincing me to continue. We all came through and finished wearing smiles. I enjoyed myself, feeling better with each stage. Rollie, the trail I feared the most was a blast. I even claimed the bragging rights on Lumpy. I am very proud of the handful of women who challenged themselves to get to the finish line. This race was no walk in the park.
The riders I interacted with on course all seemed to be having a good time, and the vibe of the whole day was great!
When I got home, AARP magazine arrived and wouldn't you know it, there was an article on taking risks and going outside one's comfort zone for good health. Apparently risk taking diminishes after 50 for most, and tedium can lead to other unhealthy habits. The opening line for the article was: "Whatever scares you, do it now.". Hmmm, Looks like I already have that one in the bag. Maybe next year I will try to get some more from the over 50 crowd to sign up.
Art catching some rest waiting for results
All hail the King and Queen of EnduroRama!
Monday, June 4, 2012
So nearly a month has past since my last blog post. The laurel blooms have come and gone. New Giro shoes and gloves have come (write up to follow), and even a snake has shed it's skin to start a new phase of life. Yes, I have been racing, riding and trail building, but sometimes I struggle to find new ideas to write about, and frankly, I question if what I put up here is indeed worthwhile for others to read. I want to think that by sharing race tales and experiences, we are able to be inspired by each other to chase goals in life. Yet, each year I grow a year older, and my races seem a little less fast, a little less special and some doubts linger in my head.
During these few days of doubt, which also coincided with a few days of rain, I hopped on my road bike to get in a quick road ride in between rain showers. I was feeling quite uninspired and had no plan, other than to get outside for an hour. I stopped at the first red light and a van pulled up along side of me. I heard someone knocking on the window. I looked up, as I figured it was someone I knew, but it was no one I could recognize. It was a van filled with women, and one woman was knocking on the window and giving me a thumbs up. I had no idea what this was about, but I wanted to think that someone was in a car and admiring the fact that I was on a bike. Just then the door opens, and I start thinking "oh no, what now?" My eyes met with the eyes of a very large black woman, and she said "you look great girl!"
At that moment, I realized that not only do words mentor, but just a simple action of riding a bike can inspire another person. Regardless of age, shape or intellect, the spirit that guides our actions can inspire others. This is the reason I started blogging and still blog today.