I think I have raced at Bonelli for about 5 years...always different course, conditions, and competition. My favorite course was one that took us by one of the Ragging Waters slides, and you could almost feel the splash of the water and you could definately see the whites of the eyes of the kids as the screamed down the tube! That year my cranks fell off, so I ran two laps. I'm pretty stubborn, I don't quit easy. Probably pretty stupid if you think about it.
I headed to Bonelli Park to race the State XC champs this past weekend for a few reasons. I like to ride my bike, I like to see my friends, and I like to punish myself. Ok, i didn't mean to punish myself, it just happened. It seems that the season took it's toll on my about 3 days prior to the race, rendering me done and done. But I knew the course was going to be a fun one a lots of people to catch up with. I was bummed to not join Brian and the juniors and other teammates at the CBR State Crit Champs, where he won the elite 1/2/3 overall, but knew it was the right decision.
The energy was electric and high fives and hugs from so many great friends well-worth the entry fee! To see Patty, all the registration staff, Sharon, get a massive bear-hug from the newly-healed Justin and to catch up with Heather and Jason, and Allison both off amazing exeriences at Breck Epic and World's was totally rad! Along with Vanessa and the whole Backbone crew, running into Alexis and Essense, all was good. A huge thank you to all the racers and friends that were so gracious to me, it made me really happy to have such a warm welcome back to the dirt, although Roger kept yelling "roadie" at me. Awkward.
I was pumped to start on pavement, my new friend, and hammer for all I had for a few pedal strokes. Allison wrote in her blog something to the effect of the first 7 minutes were the best. Good stuff because that's the only time we were together, and I crashed hard with a fantastic Endo at 6:37....nice wake up call Roadie....I spent the rest of the race talking to friends (literally), giving water to a dehydrated racer, getting another racer to sit on my wheel so I could pull them out to the finish because they were bonking, pretty much anything that could keep me from actually racing. Because if I revved it up and smashed it, I probably wouldn't have made it home from Smelly, let alone work to on Monday. Oh when I did rev it up, the pace didn't change much at all.
I loved the switchy single track through the woods where I saw Tonya Bray taking photos and other friends cheering and heckling us along with Lisa Crowe who made the wiser decision of the two of us and just came to cheer. I just threw a fist pump, hit some jumps and kept having a blast on the fun course.
My favorite part was getting a neutral feed from Elle Williams, a little lady I had the privilage to ride with in July when I did a ladies clinic up at a Rim Nordic race. She is all but 11 years old I think and was so excited to hand me off a cup of water! Now THATS what its all about!
Funny things happened out there too. Too many to recount, but i did set up a very ghetto feed for myself on a concrete can for bbq coals. It was just out of arms reach so I had to stop each lap to get the feed. I would ride by all the kids, talk to them about their race, then clip out and switch bottles all while the same lady sat about a foot away and just stared at me. For 5 laps. So odd.
I never have my own photos, so I steal them from facebook:
Heidi Bowen is super rad, I have traveled and raced with her for probably 5 years now! And yes that is dirt on my head and no I am not going bald. Thanks.
Dean Swank, one classy guy! Always positive, happy and helpful! And an amazing athlete! His lady Laura took these pictures for us!
When in doubt, I bust out some cool socks. thanks for the pics Laura!