Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rumble in the Jungle

I’ve been back in New Jersey for weeks, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve been procrastinating about getting back out to race. I had a list of excuses, and I was all caught up in my excuses like the world revolved around me. Imagine that? In reality, we are just tiny fragments orbiting around the world, and it was time for me to take hold and jump on for the ride.

The week before Rumble in the Jungle race, I got a few good rides under my belt, and both my mind and body were beginning to feel better. I had some doubts that I could actually complete a 3 lap race, but I decided to race anyway. My thinking was that I could stop at any point, if I wanted to, and if I kept going I could either: do well, or gain some training saddle time. I really had nothing to lose by trying, and would gain nothing by not trying.

I signed up and was happy to see so many familiar faces at the race. The course was rocky, technical and wet from rain showers the night before. It was also humid, something I had not had much of in the last few months. I kind of dug the humidity. There was no doubt that there would be suffering of all types on the course, but I was relieved that it was wet because the slick conditions would most likely slow the racers down to “pixy” pace just to keep their bikes upright on the wet and now sweating rocks and roots. Other than one hot paced day lap in 24HOP, I had no intensity riding under my belt for 2015. Slow and techy was about all I had in me, ...or so I thought.

I previewed the start and knew what to expect with wet roots and rocks. I was confident that I could manage the handling part, yet I was uncertain with the race distance. I had a good start and was able to avoid being taken out by a miscue, and claim 2nd wheel. I struggled to keep contact on the first paved climb, but by the next single track I took the lead and was able to hold it to the end. I was chased some on the first lap, but I rode super clean and stayed off the front. The course did start to dry a bit and I was able to smooth things out some. …Well, as smooth as I can ride in Jungle, and I am sure some may argue that anyone can ride smooth in Jungle. It is a lumpy, jagged, rocky place.

I was very happy to finish three consistent laps, and surprised to win my race. The wet course was challenging, but I think that helped to keep my attention and keep me motivated. After 22 years of racing, a fitness course can get boring. So, a wet Jungle was a perfect first race back in NJ. I hope to be rocking more rocks soon!

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