Being in grad schol means i have taken DOZENS of classes. However, none of them have truly prepped me for the battles on the race course. I feel like a freshman whose hazing just wont let up. Like i am the total loser that gets picked on the ENTIRE school year. But, as they say, this too, shall pass.
FIRST OFF: The weekend painted teh backdrop for success. Nice cool weather with a hint of mist in the air. A delighful Saturday, and i even made homemade apple pie. I was on time to everything Sunday with more than enough food and beverages. JOSE OLE THOM was at BONELLI with an EZ-Up, food, water, Gu, trainers, and support. Christie and I calmly and methodically prepared for all the fun.
For those of you who dont know, as an expert 19-29 we start with pro women and expert 30-39. In my position, you would like to fend off as many of the experts as possible, and stay with at least the tail end of the pro field. The race started FAST, but that was fine! I was chasing the pros, with only one expert ahead of me for quite some time! I ended up ahead of one pro and Teri for a moment, but i knew that wouldn't last. She was pushin' the big ring up a hill climb! ACtually, it was pushing her and they were duken it out! In a few minutes she was right back out in front to lead me through the water crossing, and the mud.
At the start of the second lap, i felt excelent! I had left the heart rate monitor at home and my computer wasnt even working, so i was just in a groove.
I was climbing up by Raging Waters when i thought my left pedal was loose. No, that wasn't the pedal that was THE ENTIRE CRANK!!!!!!! I looked down in utter dismay. Foot and shoe still stuck in the pedal standing ON THE CRANK on THE GROUND! I have these SUPER COOL cranks that connect through the bottom bracket so the right crank promptly took a dive into the dirt. I started to freak out. Fortunately, this all happend RIGHT NEXT Chris Sharp from Backbone Racing! I owe this guy big time! He "showed" me how to put it back together and pushed me up the hill. I knew this wouldnt last. Most of the women had passed me by (flashbacks of chainsuck at Sagebrush) so i knew i was done. However, the only other girl in my category hadn't passed me in the 5 minutes i was hanging out, there was hope to hang onto first place.
Joking! What a joke! The cranks promplty fell off. Fortunately, it was right by the hike-a-bike where everyone was running/pushing/walking, so i kept my pace. Here is where i encountered a young man walking down the trail with a broken chain. He was done he said. I looked at him and laughed, "are you serious? I dont have any pedals man! I can NOT DNF! I see no blood and not a single BONE STICKING OUT! You are fine, got on the donkey and move it!" It worked! In about 4 minutes, we were pushing bikes side by side. Aw. During this time, i moved into 2nd place. Oh well.
This was a shockingly enjoyable adventure. The amount of comments and possitive discussion (instead of volitile banter) I shared with the men will always be remembered. I could kick my right crank in with my heel, put my left food on my frame, and pedal with my right leg up some stuff, down everything, and on the flats. This was neither glamorous nor fun, yet very effective.
As i was leaning into emotional turmoil, i thought about an excerp from a book i was reading Friday that is about to come out. Remember that movie ALIVE about the Rugby team that got stuck in the Andes? Well, the guy who walked out to get them rescued after they had eaten most of the dead, has written a recount of his experience. One line stuck out in particular: "Do not cry. Tears waste salt. You will need salt to survive." Once again, my non-huge issues put into perspective and a great rational put to use. Do not waste your energy or your reserves! You have to focuse so you can solve your problem, not wallow in it.
At the bottom of the big climb, i encountered some of my favorites. Of course i do not know their names, but i see them everywhere and we are all pals! They are the crazy Single Speed Guys so when they saw with no cranks attached, they just laughed and laughed and told me to "get 'er done!"
I kept it together until i saw the finish line through the trees. I came out onto the road and there were Christie and Teri waited with worried looks and understanding eyes. I knew i could have done it, been right in there, but it was not meant to be. As i got closer to the line, pedaling my one little leg as hard as i could, i heard Longo say "Does anyone have a crank?" This pulled those saltless tears out and they started streaming down my face, oh what might have been. Then i got over it. When you think about it, it is funny. Just all those emotions and endorphines piled in there, i just couldn't take it!
SLight reality check however. Remember back at Sea Otter when i flatted and found perspective while sitting in the dirt 100 yards up from an ambulance picking up some guys? Well as i was one-legging the last 300 yards with my right leg, a guy with a prosthetic left leg rode by me. What a coincidence, eye opener, and life lesson in such a short moment!
THE GOOD: Teri, Christie, and Meggan truly showed their "upperclassman" support and understanding. I know they have all been there, more than they would like to think about.
Also, CHRISTIE opened it up for a 3rd place finish!!!! Now thats HUGE!!!!
All in all, it was a great day. i was where i needed to be, i broke something, i had a good time, and i finished! From now on, don't forget to tighten YO BOLTS!!!!! (Thank you, mechanic, for the eloquence!)