But first, a little on “Race Performance Anxiety.” Think of this as the Big Momma version of “Stage Fright.” It comes with a gamut of physical symptoms, not the least of which are the above-mentioned stomach troubles. My least favorite is the one that feels like an asthma attack. This usually happens during the race and you can feel your throat constrict. You cannot get any air in, or any air out. Panic ensues.
Again, why bother?
1. I love to ride — by myself, with friends, with strangers, in strange places and in some more familiar.
2. I love my team. There is no better feeling than to ride on a team, experience the camaraderie. In Colorado, we call this “Awesome,” but it leans a little more towards the Spectacular.
3. What I can achieve by overcoming my fears and racing adds strength to my life. Think Bionic Woman.
4. My team says it needs me — even my small contributions bring rewards.
5. I adore the crowd.
6. I love what it feels like when I get to the finish. Again, “Awesome.”
…I’m certain there’s 7-10 but let’s skip to the race.
Race Day: E-Rock Crit in Castle Rock. Women’s category 3. Racing: me (CB) and Rachel Scott. Rachel’s gunning for 2 points so she can “cat-up.” I barely hold on to Rachel’s wheel on a regular day, but I’m here to help in any way I can.
If the field isn’t large enough, no points are awarded. So I am already in the goods by simply showing up as pack fodder.
We line up. First turn is about 200 meters from the start. I don’t have an outside line position and I refuse to line-up 3 back. I take the inside spot, and on the line, and I put it in the 53/11. And I wait for the whistle.
Ref calls, “90 seconds!” (I force my breathing to be regular.)
Ref …“30 seconds!” (My hands are shaking, sweating and I grip my bars.)
“15 seconds,” he says in a level tone.
I’m not the most powerful rider, so my game plan is to get to the corners in the front so I can drift back on the straightaways. I also want to string the race out as much as I can. Not sure if I am entirely successful here, but that’s the plan.
In the 5th lap — a prime. I’m sometimes an all or nothing kind of gal, and I am certainly a sucker for a prime. But despite my plan, I get stuck at the back. I move up fast in the first stretch and come out in third position through the fist set of corners. We enter the long stretch to the prime line and I am now in front. And Rachel is yelling behind me, “Go! Go! Go!”
I throw my bike towards the line in a spastic, haphazard lunge and get the prime.
I ride the next 25 minutes of the race alone, a half lap behind the pack. I can barely breathe.
And in the last lap, I witness Rachel jump about 300 meters before the line and I scream from my race lane on the other side of the barrier, “Go! Go! Go!”
I have a front row seat. Rachel wins. I finish. It is a great race. If you want the complete results Click Here.
Photography courtesy of Mark Woolcott,