suffering... what i did on the start/finish climb.

i didn't care about this race. it was almost lost in 24-9 thoughts. if it were further away i'm almost certain i would've nixed it. mixed feelings about the course in emails, blogs and message boards didn't help things.
but it is close and we had nothing to do, well nothing better to do anyway, so we headed on up.
talking to people about the race just said blow yourself up at the start (as if i've ever done anything else) but what i think they wanted to say was no, really blow yourself up at the start to get to the singletrack. i had a great start, i always have a great beginning of the start and then when it just keeps going my lack of fitness rears its ugly head. not on this course. the start was perfect for me. climb to get the heartrate up and pedal flat on a descent that required a little bit of handling skills and then pretty much into the singletrack to recover.
don said go and i saw a girl from the left take off. shit. i didn't react really but then i saw regina go and i turned it on. i shifted to a harder gear and mashed on. after cresting i turned on the big ring and just pedaled as hard and as fast as i could knowing if i could hold it i'd be in the singletrack in second (pre-race i considered top 5 into the narrow stuff good). i entered the singletrack in second right behind the girl from the left. i had no idea how far back anyone was behind me. all i knew was i needed to get some time on those girls as most of them are more fit than i am. i make up for my lack of fitness with my singletrack riding. i stayed on the girl's tire in front of me. my goal was to push her through the singletrack as fast as possible. either she'd make a mistake, let me by or once we got out she'd gap me. either way i could ride my own race (hopefully). i stayed on her wheel all the way to the end up the first part of the switchback. she pulled over gasping for air and i started pushing up hill in the lead. this was unfamiliar territory. i still had no desire to look back. i know this is blasphemy but winning a race is awesome but it really wasn't my goal. don't get me wrong, i rode my hardest but i was prepared to be passed. if someone passed me i wouldn't have been heartbroken, i'd do my best to get the lead back but i wouldn't have ruined my race.
i caught the clydes on the climbs. i tried to pass by going off trail to no avail. the first time i almost slid down and the second time i hit a bump. both of these things had my heartrate skyrocketed so i settled in behind.
after cresting the climb i recovered going down and pedaled into the next section of singletrack only to run into a wall of riders. i still (yes still) am surprised that some of the people can't ride singletrack. i considered this fairly simple singletrack- taken at speed it might be more challenging and maybe the speeds they were going were too slow to even give them a chance, but anyway, i was stuck. some guys let me by, some told me when i could pass and other times i just had to wait. precious time being lost. my only consilation was the other girls had to get by them too.
while riding the intestine singletrack i could see a whole gaggle of girls in a train hot on my tail. i rode through the start finish still in first. i almost wished i had a heartrate monitor just to see how hard my heart was beating. i couldn't even take my hands off the bar to get a water bottle. luckily i never drank anything from the first lap (uh-oh).
on the second lap i could hear moriah on my wheel on the switchback climb. she passed in the two way gravel. she was always just ahead of me.
i really wasn't concerned, i was riding my hardest. regina was hot on my tail and i knew she'd pass me on the start/climb hill. i knew i had to pass her so i could grab some time on her in the open fast section and hopefully the singletrack.
i caught moriah in kevin's heaven. we were then stuck behind more clydes and slower sport guys. most let us by. i didn't know where regina was but i knew she was knocking right around a corner somewhere.
on the third lap out in the field singletrack i unluckily lost moriah catching more of the class that started before us. it happens, i may have gained on someone for that exact reason. i only really complain about it if it stops me from having fun and i have to say i had a really fun race!
i finished second on the day and was pretty stoked. my goal was top 5 but thought i'd end up like 4th or 6th or something.
john didn't have such a good time. i've never seen him suffer that bad before. he even stopped for water (after already having gone through a few bottles)... this from a guy who barely drinks two bottles through an entire race. hopefully the bad day is out of his system and 24-9 makes up for it.

which reminds me, i have a lot of list making and packing to do.

*pics from mg


julie said...

woo hoo! Way to go, Rachael!

Anonymous said...

Awesome job Rachael, you were rocking!


Christine said...

Sometimes when you least expect it, great things result! Way to rock Rachael!

Good luck to you gals at 24/9!

devin said...

Sounds like a good day ,,, I skipped to far to race on a trash heap...
good luck next weekend.

MTB Vegan said...

you did awesome this weekend! it was great racing with you and I tired my hardest to keep up with you. Have fun at 24-9!

Tom K said...

Nice job

Sara said...

Nice race Rachael! Did John get his hair cut?

spicyride said...

only in my fantasies. it's in a ponytail.