I raced my first mountain bike race tonight.
I am sure I came in last place.
But I finished.
Did I mention it was hard?
Look, I have been riding mountain bikes for the past few years, and I even placed second in my age group at the Wildflower Mountain Bike Tri a couple years back. I raced XTERRA Snow Valley a few weeks ago and placed first in my age group (okay, so I was the only one in my age group). But nothing had prepared me for this race.
The above link is the blog I wrote when I first clipped in on my mountain bike....Feb. 2012.
I've been having fun mountain biking.
Even when I crashed at XTERRA and broke the rock with my face....I had a great time on the bike.
The above link is my blog about XTERRA.
Tonight was different.
There was no swim before the bike. So there was no swim to fret about!
There was no run to follow the bike!
It was just biking.
We got to Irvine Lake, where the race takes place. early because we wanted to pre-ride some of the course. It was hot and before we were half way through the course it was time to cool off and get ready for the actual race.
Me and Jeanne
Jeanne and I were in the WB class. Women's Beginners. We should have been in the TB class - True Beginners. A lot of women in the WB class were NOT beginners. A beginner is someone who is just starting something, as in brand new. And really I am not a beginner because I have done some mountain biking and even competed in some events that include mountain biking. But I was a BEGINNER compared to the women riding at Over the Hump.
Please notice how clean we are. It didn't last long.
Here we are all lined up in our classes waiting for the gun to go off.
I was at the back.
At the very back.
I couldn't get any backer than I was.
Class by class the gun went off and at last my class - the last - went off.
All the other "beginners" promptly left Jeanne and I in the dust.
Okay, this picture is not exactly how it was, but we were at the back of the pack of EVERYONE and we did eat EVERYONE's dust. It is going to be a while before I get all the dirt out of my nose, ears and eyes.
Some parts of the ride were so dusty and sunny, I could barely see where I was going.
Jeanne and I rode our bikes on fire roads, through sandy single track, through rocky sandy single track, through flat hard pack, through rolly single track, uphill on some fire roads and downhill on some fire roads.
We pushed our bikes up some big hills.
And we pulled over and got out of the way of the pros as they lapped us and sped by - on single track and fire roads and everything in between.
I joked that we were just another obstacle for the pros to avoid.
The pro men would ride by in groups of about 10, some saying "on your left" and some saying "on your right."
Every time a group came by I would just hold my line and pray that one of them wouldn't take me out.
Either my prayers were answered or those guys have skills because I made it through two laps of the course without causing one of them to crash, or crashing because of one of them.
When Jeanne and I started out we made it our intention to finish before dark and to finish together.
The we swallowed our fears and rode out.
Tom, Robert, me and Jeanne.
We all finished...and before dark.
Only Tom crashed during the ride.
He thought the ride was going to be a picnic, but found out otherwise.
Over the Hump is on my calendar for a few races next summer.
I've already got my number.