Michelle learns an important lesson – always check the race results because you might actually be on the podium!
Every race and ride can teach you something like a new way to corner effectively or how to maneuver a tight switchback. My lesson during the latest Rendezvous race in Winter Park was more like a simple “mom told you so” lesson “ALWAYS CHECK YOUR RACE RESULTS BEFORE YOU LEAVE…YOU MAY HAVE FINALLY REACHED THE ELUSIVE PODIUM!”
I have always enjoyed the Winter Park race series races and the Rendezvous race had been enhanced to provide an exciting race, it didn’t disappoint! This race was super fun providing almost 17 miles of single track racing experience. I just moved up to Expert in the mountain biking circuit and have been getting royally schooled by incredible women racers, especially in the amazingly fast 40-49 year old Expert racing group. I have told myself “ I just want to podium once in expert and I will be completely satisfied”! I have laughed the entire year at my perpetual 4th placement at almost every race I enter so I guess I have to keep racing.
I learned from the last Yeti Beti race that going out in front is great if you can withstand the pace (which I didn’t do so great at) so I approached this race by figuring I would stay with the pack but sit back and let others pull out in front. It worked! I was able to keep with the pack and slowly pull my way up to the front and by the end of the first long climb up to Corona Pass road on the Serenity trail. After crossing Corona Pass road we landed on the most beautiful single track I have ridden in Winter Park. I know you are not supposed to smile or giggle when racing but I honestly couldn’t help myself, I was truly enjoying the trail.
After I realized I had company behind me I quit the nostalgic feeling and picked up the pace until we hit broken ankle trail. Super fun, tight single track with closely placed trees and a quick decent to the bottom. At this point in the race you start looking for the ever elusive Moose that are always spotted in the wetland section of the race but none where found or reported at this point, only deep mud bogs with slippery roots awaited. Prepare to get muddy!
I was in second place in my age group but… long story short my smile faded ( just a little) at the 10 mile mark. My legs started burning, my feet started aching, and slowly the group started engulfing me and I quickly fell to 4th place (perpetual 4th…..).
Well there went any chance at a podium spot. I love the single track trails in Winter Park and I rode the race with a smile on my face truly enjoying my bike and keeping my pace. Never thinking racers can always have mechanicals or “things happen”, which I should know after suffering multiple mechanicals during the half Growler in the spring.
I descended the last single track to the finish line and went immediately to the river to wash my bike and soak my feet. Not even considering I was anything but 4th I didn’t want to waste any more time waiting around for results, wanting to join my kidos back at camp for an afternoon ride. There was not a thought in my head I had made the podium.
So picture this…..sitting at the campsite with your family and friends that afternoon, one decides to check the race results and looks up and smiles and says “wow Michelle, did you know you made the podium today and placed third”. Seriously…how did I miss that? I guess I have to keep on racing since I can only prove I made third on paper but with no picture or beer mug. Lesson learned, never leave a race without checking your results. You never know where you may end up….and it may be the podium.