Monday, August 31, 2009

5+ years

Yesterday was a personal milestone. I raced for the first time in 5 years. A LOT has changed since I stopped racing, some good, some bad. When I stopped racing the last thing I thought was I'd be able to do this again, but low and behold I lined up for a mountain bike race REALLY uptight! I'd always been uptight before a race, so the old adage of the more often you race, the less stressed it is. NOT for me... I was smart enough to get a good nights sleep Friday, and Saturday found myself staring at the ceiling at 3:30 in the morning about to bail on the whole thing. I lay there reminding myself I have done next to no workouts of any kind over the last month, and knew I have all but lost the conditioning I had at the end of my summer (End of July) My weeks have been filled with coaching responsibilities 5 days a week and a ride on the weekend. I think I rode the mountain bike about 5 or 6 times in the last year, and still didn't think I was anywhere near being as comfortable on the bike as I should be when racing. I had psyched myself out, but realistically speaking, was honest in my apraisal of my overall fitness, but had to accept where I'm at and "just show up". So Saturday I got a ride in, came home, and did the traditonal bike cleaning. I'm convinced racers clean their bikes as a way to deal with pre-race nerves. The bike was clean but the nerves remained... When I got to the race, I began to see people in the cycling community that I haven't seen in quite a while and everyone was very cordial and supportive. The family came with as well because it was a chance to see dad race a bike again after all this time. So... I had concerns, but after a sign of the cross and a sincere prayer found myself at the start line with the biggest group of the day( of course). AND WERE OFF! I know from past experiences how demanding and hurting a bike race is so there was no surprises there, only lactic dust to be blown off my muscles. I put a heart rate monitor on the bike the night before to help me gauge my effort for the event, and managed to ride the whole event pretty close to where I think I could hang. It was a great race, it was a tough race. I can't tell you how greatful I was for the support from family and friends. Funny how you could be hammering thru a course and pick out your kids encouragement in the distance. I took 8th place in my race(and 41st out of all sport categories). I was caught off guard and humbled by the results. I thank God for my gift of riding ability, and it never ceases to amaze me what I can do from an athletic perspective. The days leading up to the race, one of my boys asked me why I entered the sport class since I don't race anymore, and reminded me there is a citizen race for non racers. I mentioned I wanted to get the miles out of the entry fee,and challenge myself,nevertheless they thought I was crazy. It was very cool how impressed they were with my performance, and to hear a teenager tell you they were bragging about my race to their friends?! PRICELESS!. Like I said I was humbled by my results. Now to raise the cash for a sweet 29er and jump back into the racing world next year - in the dirt. HMMMM

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