Monday, May 5, 2014

Passing the Torch

Way, way behind schedule this year, but here is my recap for my first race of the season:

I usually have a few races and plenty of training rides under my belt by mid April, but this year was a bit different. At some point, I just gave up. I got back from Arizona in mid March, had a great few weeks on the bike, and I was poised to take charge of race training once it warmed up and the snow melted. But something unusual happened, …. spring never came. After a month of pulling on tights and winter jackets to try to go out on my road bike in 30 mile an hour winds, I folded. I decided to put my efforts into trail building and trail advocacy. With an increase in hiking activities and unknowingly riding a bike with a broken rear shock, I some how, ended up with a strained glute and an extremely sore back.

So now I was back on my trusty, old, steel, hard tail at the start line of the Jamis Bicycles H2H Spring Cleaning Race at Wawayanda State Park. Discouraged, sore and lacking race fitness, I started my race, knowing it would be a very long and slow day of riding. However, I was determined to finish the race, if I could. I proceeded to get my heart rate up on my first lap, but it was only a matter of time before I had to resign myself to just plodding along just to make it to the finish. Half way into my race I had a discouraging thought that I had just passed the point where I was on my longest ride of the year, and still had half the race to go.

I do not recall all that much about the race, except there were some gigantic mud holes and running water in spots. Many people mention rocks, but I just call that riding and really do not remember any rocks in particular. It was just a long steady ride that seemed to go on for a long time. I am happy to report that my back did not hurt during the race. Perhaps it was because everything else hurt enough that I did not notice my back. I did finish the race, and I am still amazed that I was not the last person on course to finish.

Through my 20 years of racing, I realize that I have learned to hang in there and get the job done, and by doing so, it seems to get easier each time. However, Sundays race was extremely humbling, and I do not know how many more are left in me. I certainly am not going to quit racing today, and I have much to do before Nationals. I also have a master plan: It is to pass the torch on to other women coming into the sport. It is great to see more women racing and taking charge of their lives on bikes. There is so much healthy fun out there for the taking, and I sure hope we all take and share or pay it forward in some way. Ladies- Go get some!


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