Monday, July 11, 2011

fairly Fair Hill

My first mountain bike race, or really, bike race, was three years ago at Fair Hill.  I got 2nd in the beginner category.  It was the start of an addition to racing.  To not making decisions about which trail to pick, just which gear to be in and how hard to go.  To going so hard I forget conversations at the finish line.

Yesterday, I was putting myself back together after a stomach thing derailed my training a bit in June.  Yeah, I'm at a new race weight and trying to stay there, but I didn't get stronger to get lighter and have been feeling sluggish for the month or so since then.

Racing 50 miles.  I went out too hard.  I needed to know where my high end legs are right now more than I needed to race as consistently as I could for 50 miles.  It felt good.  Life has been complicated lately, and for the first time in a while it was just me, on the bike.  Focused.  Not thinking about my dog, my career, my recent distaste for training on the road...

Smooth, cornering well, shifting well, climbing well.  I didn't remember Fair Hill having that much climbing.  Had a little posse of guys with me for a while, then just one who made every pass with me for a long time.  It was good - he was keeping me honest without stressing me out about having someone on my wheel.

That was for about 2 hours.  Then I faded a bit.  Still felt good, but my stomach and I were not agreeing about how long I was going to spend on the bike.  I won, but it got me back after the race when there were bunches of tasty crabs sitting right in front of me to eat that looked appetizing...

Rode the hill that some others walked about 4 miles from the end of the lap.  Ran into a tree with my shoulder and handlebars.  Hit another with just my hip.  Crashed about 3 miles from the finish into a sticker bush on the side of the trail.  Drank nearly all of both my 70oz camelbacks.

Put most of what I had out there.  I saw another woman about 5 miles from the finish.  She attacked on a hill.  I didn't have much zip left in my legs and she was outta sight for most of that stretch.  In the end, she beat me by 30 seconds.  I wound up 5th.  Teammate JT took 2nd in the women's, and Bernie crushed the other singlespeeders to win.  Great to see people that are training hard getting results.

Yesterday, I was racing against the clock.  On one of my best days on the bike all year last season, I finished the 50 miler in 5:45.  Yesterday, I snuck in just under 5:30.  and it wasn't my best day on the bike.  It was solid - definitely not the worst.  I'll take it.

What a difference three years can make.  Next up: 40 miles at Michaux.  Yeah, I'm going back for more. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Well done Becky! Whole lotta work, with a few ouches thrown in for spice.