So we had a new course this year for race number six in the mountain bike series. I love riding my bike up in the mountains, it’s refreshing and beautiful. But I especially love it up in Winter Park. I was excited to race today, the weather was great and I was ready. It was unfortunate that I was not able to ride the new course before race day, but I wasn’t going to focus on that.
3-2-1-GO! The fast paced start was on a steep climb on the road, which led us onto the single-track. I quickly found myself in the red zone, but I knew that after a three mile climb a descent awaited me. The climb had several steep technical sections, which is where a made my first mistake. I chose a bad line and found myself unclipping my foot to keep from falling over, struggling to get going again, and three racers passed me. I fought hard to catch up to them as we crested the climb. But then came the tricky descent with several near death whooptydoos… Just kidding, but seriously if you hit those things wrong you will go flying off the bike.
Whew, I made it through it, but as I tried shifting into a harder gear to pedal through the next section I realized that I had dropped my chain on the descent. I had no choice but to hop off my bike and put it back on, and again a few more racers passed me. At this point, I was a little frustrated, but not ready to give up. As I went through a muddy section in the trees, I was thinking to myself, “yeah it would have been nice to have ridden this prior to race day.” I was not able to look far down the trail, because it was too twisty, and this slowed me down. I was also slipping and sliding on the roots due to my wet muddy tires, so I had to choose my lines carefully, which I was doing well. But next thing I noticed, my chain fell off again, and on top of that, my rear brake was squeaking.
Okay, now I was really frustrated, mad and ready to give up. I wanted to do well today and things just weren’t going my way. Several times, I contemplated bailing, but I had no idea how the heck to get out of there besides following the race course. Plus I have learned from experience that quitting a race is much harder afterwards than just having a bad result, so I stuck it out and finished.