When you find a way over every hurdle in your path and nothing but success is an option.
On Saturday I raced my first Mountain Bike Race. I signed up for it in July, the first week race registration opened. At that point, I knew that I wanted to work towards the Leadwoman race and the only way to do that was 1) actually race on a mountain bike and 2) figure out a way to finish the 100 mile run race. But first things first.
I signed up for the Bear Brook Classic and then from July to October I changed my mind a million times about 1) what my goals were (100 mile run, 100 mile run not in Leadville, biking only, etc) 2) thinking about Ironman Lake Placid in 2022 3) not signing up for anything and just training for Ironman Florida and 4) just spending hours on race websites and calendars.
Three weeks ago I made my decision – 2022 is all about Leadville and if all goes well 2023 will be about Leadwoman. I hired a coach and I’m feeling the pressure to do all my training days. It’s stressing me out a bit but it’s what I need. I think. Maybe. I’m pretty sure of it. Bring on the hemming and hawing.
Which brings me to the Bear Brook Classic. In July I signed up for the Cat 2 (Sport) Women – 40+. At the time there were two distances: 10 & 20. I’ve been riding Bear Brook for about two years now and by July I had only biked about 10 miles at the most on a mountain bike. When I sign up for races I always think: I want to sign up for a big race and train for it. Ten miles seemed so short so I signed up for the 20. I ended up biking 12 miles a few weeks later at Bear Brook, which was hard but doable. I knew I could do 20 miles.
August and September were more triathlon training months. I mountain biked on average once a week. On the morning of October 2, race morning, I wasn’t even sure I was going to race. It was a rest day for Ironman Training and I didn’t train at all to race on a mountain bike – just trail riding. However, after I got my butt in gear, I decided the race would be interval and speed work.
I’m glad I went because it was a great experience. The long course was 18 miles.
The good: knowing that I couldn’t go out too fast, not trying to kill it on the first mile, getting settled in and just riding and having fun. I knew the course, there were only a few turns onto trails I didn’t know. Knowing the course helped a lot especially on a few downhill sections that I knew would have a quick uphill and I’d have to change gears to get up fast.
The bad: not lubing my chain before the race, not carrying more food/gels. One more gel would’ve helped my energy level towards the end.
I didn’t know what to expect going into the race and it just takes one experience to help confidence and know how I need to train: biking fast.
One thing I’ve been struggling with is changing negative thinking (just do one lap, this is hard) to positive thinking (I can do this!) while racing. It’s so easy to just stop and be done. I particularly struggle with loops – it’s so easy to only do one. My brain wanted me to stop, do one loop and go home. I knew that I just had to go out on the second loop and I would be fine. And I was. I have to remember that for Florida.
I still don’t know my finishing place in my division but at the end of the day – who really cares. Okay, I care a little. I’m guessing second from last – those women were fast!
I do love mountain biking but I also love running, hiking, and swimming. I love trying to do it all even if I suck at it all. I’m in it for the Adventure!
I’ll be signing up for next year. Now it’s just 4 weeks to Ironman Florida and I’m in total-focus mode. I will remember the quote above: Find a way over every hurdle in my path so only Success is an option. This weekend was a success and I can’t wait to finish Florida. For the next 4 weeks: No missed training days. No excuses. Just do it.