Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Skier Superiority Complex

This is the idea that because I'm a skier, I can do anything. Most nordies I know have the same complex. Its never failed me, either, until sunday's mountain bike race.

Saturday I went to Pawtuckaway state park in NH for an orienteering camp. That was fun, but the mosquitos were really bad, so if you stopped jogging for an instant you were swarmed. The terrain there is all boulders and swamps, with a couple little rolling hills, and its all open woods, and its just not my favorite kind of place to orienteer. Good for training, though. So I ended up running ~18km, mostly through the woods. Only rolled my ankle once, and never got lost. These are good things. That night we camped in someone's backyard who sort of knew the college roommate of one of the orienteers' parents... they were super nice though, and their kids wanted to sleep outside too since we were all out there.

Sunday morning I met Jess Ingram (another IBC mtber) at an exit off 93, and we drove the rest of the way up to vermont. The course started with a pretty long but gradual dirt road uphill, and then the rest was singletrack, pretty rooty and rocky in places but totally rideable and really fun. I rode with warmup with Jess and she was saying encouraging things like "you'll be fine in sport, don't worry, you're riding great, etc.

So the race starts, and we go up the hill, and things are good because its uphill, and then we start riding the singletrack and things go to pieces. I never really got myself totally concentrating--the best example of this would be one section that had two bridges. I went over one, and realized I had been kind of close to the edge, and was like, "holy shit! I almost fell off the bridge! that would be bad!" and then I was still thinking that when I fell off the second bridge... by second lap, my technical skills had completely disappeared and I may have been making little whimpering noises going down the hills. My confidence was also pretty shaken from the bridge event, and then I endoed doing something stupid, and that really kind of hurt, and then I kept falling off my bike because I would start going too slowly down the hills to keep my wheels moving. It was like any time I actually got my rhythm back, I would do something like catch my handlebars on a tree, or just kind of not see a rock and slam into it and fall over. It was almost like a bad bonk in a bad dream... anyway, end of story is that I was 6th in my age class, I have never cried in a race before (that bridge thing really hurt), and I can't wait to do another race!

I hung around to watch the expert class--Linnea just moved up, and in my opinion totally kicked ass, even though as she was going through the feed zone was telling us she was totally cooked. She and Jess rode pretty close for most of the race, apparently, but there was this other woman in the expert class who really should have been racing the pro/open class, because she beat all the pros. dirty sandbagger. Anyway, both Jess and Linnea beat the little 12 year old who is amazing on a bike, but thats because Libby (the 12 year old) flatted and we're not sure she knows how to fix a flat. So yeah, fun day, and once I was removed from the pain and mental exhaustion of my race it seemed kind of fun too. I feel like the mental exhaustion of running around in the woods being chased by mosquitos for 12 hours the day before might have contributed... but whatever. Now I have a reason to do another race--revenge!

So yesterday, Anna Mcloon wanted to ride out to Wachusett to go up it to see what its like for the Fitchburg road race... Don't know why, but I agreed to do it with her. We had a nice chatting-pace going on for most of the ride; it got pretty hilly once we crossed 495, but Anna was super nice and waited at the top of the hills if I didn't feel like busting my chops to keep up. The first section of Wachusett is super steep and all out of the saddle climbing, and then you hit the entrance to Wachusett itself, and it flattens out and loops around the mountain, although there were some steep pitches in there. The first part just sucked because it was straight so you could see that the pitch didn't level out at all. I got to the top, and Anna had already gone down (in my defense, she WAS time trialing it so she could see how it felt after riding 50 miles), so I headed back down. Not great pavement and I may have burned through my brake pads, but it was still a fun descent. We hung out at the ranger station before heading back, and thank god it was mostly downhill with a tailwind the whole way, because I was cooked. Ended up being 95 miles, I wish I had my bike computer working, because I'm sure I would have done an extra five miles just to call it a century, but whatever, it was fun! Took us 6:45 from Waltham, plus about 40 minutes on my end to get to waltham and back. I wasn't tired last night, but now I might be a little tired...

Long weekend... and my body wants a rest. Which it will get, if I plan on finishing the gaps next weekend...

Here is a picture of me all smiley in my warmup...


josh said...

nice work, at least you didn't drop out (nordy mentality?)

while i've never even been on a mtb before, i think its safe to say if I fell off a bridge during my race, id prbly quit and go home crying.

you musta earned some belgium-points, no?

Alex said...

I think Belgian points require bad weather. And it was beautiful all weekend.
As for crying, I did a lot of that, but it may have been a fair bit of hyperventilating too. Once I figured out that I could move the knee that had broken my fall from the bridge, I figured I was good to go.