A bad day on the bike is better than a good day in the office
Last Sunday I had committed to racing a mountain bike at Mount Joyce which is a mountain bike trail park to the West of Brisbane, Queensland. It was a 67km race over varied terrain.
I was out to prove a point to myself after the fiasco last year. Last year I had accidentally missed an entire trail out of the race and not realised until I had got home. By the time I got home, I had managed to come 3rd in the race but compared my Garmin to the track and noticed a bit missing. I contacted the organiser and apologised and gave the winnings back. This year I was determined to get it right!
The race started reasonably well and I was initially with the leading pack - until somebody fell off in front of me in the sand which put me off my stride and I managed to lose the group. I then had to ride alone which was hard with the wind and the deep sand in places.
The first massive hill came up which I along with the rest of the field was forced to walk up as there was no traction. Already I was wishing for my granny gear back - I currently run one cog on the front and 10 on the back which is normally fantastic! I wouldn't have got the hill no matter what gearing I had. I thought to myself and guys are doing this on a single speed? (one guy I have ridden with before tore off ahead and I watched the dust settle in his wake).
I was feeling out of sorts and I think the damn Fibromyalgia was flaring up again leaving me in some considerable pain. My bib shorts were also doing things they shouldn't be doing. I kind of wanted to stop riding already!
I got to the first bit of single track and things went from mediocre to completely pear-shaped! There were a couple of bits on the track I wasn't sure about and one group of rocks I have never ridden before. Before we even got to those rocks a guy in front of me had got off the bike and was walking over them. My brain immediately went oh crap rocks lets not ride them! I couldn't find any flow, walked down a hill I've previously ridden every other time and half the field passed me. I managed to find a break in the traffic and got back on and continued. I was seriously stressed by this point and had had enough. I got stuck behind a bit of slow traffic on some of the other single track. By the next trail, I was feeling a little better about things but knew I was miles and miles behind the other girls.
By the end of the single track, I had a choice - continue slowly on or pedal like hell and get the race over with. I must have cursed Logan's run at least 3 - 4 times. I decided for the latter. I was flying down the hills (slowing down slightly in all the sand) and hitting the hills with strength and stamina. I was beginning to feel good again.
I was alone for much of it apart from an older guy I was leapfrogging and eventually dropped on a hill but not before I had happily and loudly declared my love of hills - I think he thought I was joking (I wasn't). I then saw a group in front of me including another girl. I caught the group up somehow (thank you hills) and told her how long it had taken for me to catch her and then dropped her on the next hill.
I carried on and saw another girl I have competed against quite a bit. I caught her, passed her on the next hill, she then drafted me down the road. I forgot to turn right off the road and there was a car in the way so I nearly got run over as well. She was in front again so I worked really hard and passed her up the final pinch climb to finish in front by 7 seconds.
I ended up winning my category and coming 4th overall in the females. 3rd was 2.5min in front of me, 2nd 7.5 min in front and the winner about 15 min in front. With a couple more hills and a couple of hours longer and I'm sure I could have caught them!
Looking forward to the 8 hours in 2 weeks time - now that's my type of race and where I hopefully can excel.