A good friend asked me about having fun at last week’s race in Georgia. In reading my race report, and other write-ups, I think it came off sounding much more negative than the overall experience actually was. As a matter of fact, the bike leg of the race was one of my top 3 experiences I’ve ever had on a mountain bike. Really you ask? Absolutely.
Yes, my chain came off 13 times, yes the bike was geared wrong for the course, and yes LOTS of racers passed me….but there were sections that were amazing. It was amazing not because of the equipment or the conditioning, but my skill as a rider. When I realized that I was going to have mechanical and SS issues for the 11 mile course I knew I had to squeeze as much speed from the course as I possibly could. This meant keeping all my momentum (no braking, lots of holding on and praying). I scared myself so badly so many times by just gripping the bars and leaning hard into turns. The dry course and packed dirt with my new tires stuck together like glue and I was able to keep incredible speed through corners and on downhills. I’ve never been so confident on a bike (because I felt I had to be) and never been that fast on narrow single track and in traffic. It was awesome. I finally got to see all my training and time spent in the saddle pay off. It also gave me confidence that I can ride like that more often and push myself more in my training. So, the experience was fun. I continue to impress myself with the running I’m able to do on the trail as I always thought this was a weakness for me, but I’ve been strong in both my races and in training. So there you have it. Race results aside, riding a bike, pushing yourself, conquering your personal fears and reaching new heights is fun. I look forward to plenty more of this in 4 weeks down in Alabama.