Sea Otter broke my phone.*

April 14, 2007 § Leave a comment

Well THAT was humbling.

In a good way.

The early morning was an exercise in stress and cutting it close, but I made it to the line on time, pinned and ready to go. It was a little chilly, but I wasn’t worried about my decision to stick with just shorts & a jersey. Nor was I worried enough about start position to fight my way to the front when an official came up to push us way back for call-ups. I didn’t think it would matter much.

The first time up the hill, so soon after the start, I actually felt pretty good and found myself thinking “this won’t be so hard.” I hadn’t had my usual zen moment on the start line, but I thought I was focused enough. As I climbed at the back of the group, trying to follow a strong wheel, I heard someone breathing shallow and fast. It surprised me how loud it was & I wasn’t sure I wanted to be so close to people who were working that hard already. Nearing the crest of the hill I realized it was me. Guess it was harder than I thought…

Over the top of the hill and through the corkscrew I was chasing a bit, just a teense off the group and trying to pass some less confident (or more prudent) descenders. I did catch on & start the second lap with the group. By the top of the hill I was about two seconds back, and it stretched to at least ten by the top of the hill on the third lap (counts are approximate from my memory). From there I don’t know how many laps I chased. For a little while I could see my favorite Touchstone gal in a group and tried and tried to catch her. No dice.

I don’t feel like I really let up (I think it might have looked like I did) — my legs are still pretty fatigued for many reasons and I wasn’t in my best form by any stretch of the imagination, but knowing that my legs weren’t responding the way I think they should didn’t frustrate me as much as I would expect. I know what I can do better next time (like getting a real warm-up, for example, and making sure I pre-reg so I don’t have to send Mr. Man on a quest for my number and cut it so close), but I’m determined not to call those things excuses. Somehow I just need to figure out a way to get better at this kind of course. Maybe race it in a car next time?

It is interesting to me that in the NRC races, unlike the local races which bring out all sorts of self-imposed expectations, I am just so happy to test myself out against this new challenge that I don’t invest in results as much as the process — it took the group 40 minutes to lap me and I didn’t stop until the lead car beeped me out. It’s small, but it definitely feels like a victory.

Then I went to my car and froze before heading into the festival to bow out of my volunteer shift. In the hail. Hail? Hail. I stopped by the Bella booth for a minute to say hi, but it was definitely too meteorologically insane to roller-skate. Mr. Man is sick, so we went home as soon as I got back.

Since they officially cancelled our race, do you suppose they’ll refund our entry fees? Somehow I doubt it. I’m starting to think I don’t really like this whole Sea Otter debacle. Too much buck and hassle for the bang.

The best part about riding solo in a race? You get to hear everyone who cheers for you, and you have the luxury of smiling back and trying to show them how much it helps you get through the hard parts (unless they are at the top of the hill, in which case you might think you are smiling when you are really grimacing). And every once in a while, even off the back, you can race somebody famous up a hill and win.

*I guess the rain and my dropping it on the ground did more to break my phone than Sea Otter, but that’s not a very good title for a post.

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