First race of 2012: Sylvan Island

I always start the first race of the year sick. I wonder if it's really not an illness but a severe allergy that hits me right at that time. Anyway, I was up in the air regarding racing Sylvan Island. My wrist is still fucked up and I was sick. I also remember hating the drive last year and with a 2:20 start time I knew we'd get home late.
The forecast wasn't looking too good for race time. I didn't want to deal with those types of conditions but at the same time sometimes those races are the most memorable and fun to write about. All my drivetrain parts need to be changed anyway, so what the hell right? I also knew, though he'd never admit it, John REALLY wanted to go.
With all the rain we got overnight on Sunday I knew we wouldn't be riding trails anyway, though a nice road ride to multi also sounded nice. But who am I kidding? I rarely miss out on an opportunity to ride trails- especially tight techie trails with minimal open and climbing.
Sylvan Island received about an inch of rain overnight. I expected the trails to have a lot of standing water, but to our surprise the trails were only a bit slick, but mostly tacky. A little too tacky, but that's way better than a soupy mess.
There were six of us starting in the women's expert/open race. I think three were local and threes of us weren't. It was time to go. I tried to get on Robin's wheel even though I know it was futile, but at least it gave me the motivation to get to the singletrack fast. I knew my first lap was going to be the sloppiest and most painful but at the same time I knew it was going to be my fastest which sometimes makes the difference for me in a long race when it comes down to the end as I tend to lollygag mid-race. I really need to work on focusing. Though I will say that is one of the hard parts of racing with the lack of women. It's rare that I'm ever with competitors so you tend to almost forget that you are competing.
Anyway, back to my first lap. It hurt. I went from second to third right away. I ate it hard going into one of the singletrack sections on my first lap. It took me a few to get my bearings right, and luckily I talked my way through not losing any confidence over it. Unfortunately 4th place caught me shortly after. She was never that far away and I hoped that once I settled, which was coming soon, my next lap would feel so much better and consistent.
I was right. My HR settled and I was more confident in the singletrack. 3rd place was less than 30 seconds away. I went into my 3rd lap feeling super confident... maybe too confident as I went OTB for the second time IN THE SAME FUCKING SPOT. Only this time I hit my head and was actually airborne a lot longer. After I hit, I assessed that I didn't seem to be hurt. My wrist took a huge portion of it (my poor left wrist probably wants a divorce). My helmet was full of mud and over my eyes. My glasses were dangling off of my face. I could feel my right thigh by my hip throbbing. I had mud down my shirt, my whole left side was covered and it was all down the tape on my wrist. I got back on and actually didn't feel bad. It took me a bit longer this time to gain my confidence back. But now I was irritated with myself. I was sure 3rd place was more than 30 seconds up at this point and who the hell knows where 5th place was. So I headed into the 4th lap with the wrong attitude.
Here's where I made my biggest mistake. Last year we only did 4 laps because the lead expert men passed us and they pulled us. So I figured this year would be the same as well, the lead expert men passed me on my 4th lap. Not to mention I did hear thunder. So I was barely riding. Feeling sorry for myself. I was out of water, my head was throbbing, my left hand wasn't working and I was muddy and itchy. I wasn't racing. I saw John, yelled hi and then shortly after he asked if he could get by. So I got off my bike and let him by. Got back on and shortly after that saw Gina in the woods behind me. Seeing a competitor got me back into race mode and I picked up the pace. But I still thought I was done. And then they waved me on for the 5th lap.
Fuck. I have no water. I hadn't eaten... I got over poor me really fast as I headed into the singletrack and rode faster and pretty flawless. It made me realize just how stupid my 4th lap was. Newb. It started to rain but I actually thought my tires were hooking up better with it being slightly slick instead of tacky where my treads seemed to fill up a bit. I was also having issue with the black rock and the black dirt- I have no depth perception so it was really hard seeing those in the turns. Jury is still out on whether those are the tires I'm going to run this season.
I'm really glad I went. I really liked the course; in my opinion much better than last year.
No results or pics are posted up yet. I didn't load the race into Strava yet either. I just wanted to get this up while I still remembered.