For some reason, blogger is being lame and not letting me type in a title. So, here's what it was supposed to be:
Today Chris and I and the gang raced the 3rd Winter Park race. This is the one we pre-rode, I decided I hated, cried a bit, complained a lot, and vowed not to race it. Then I decided it could be a fun challenge, but that I still wouldn't race it. Then I decided I should race it, to prove to myself that I could do it again, but still didn't want to race it. Then, at Noodles one evening, Chris convinced me to do it.
(He can be a very persuasive person)
So this morning I found myself with pre-race jitters, wondering how the heck I ended up deciding to do it. Chris got up early and cooked a delicious Omelet and Bisquickets breakfast and we headed off to Winter Park. After going through the normal pre-race motions, I got to see Chris start up the hill after the race starts were already pushed back 30-35 minutes. After he left, I found Melissa in the bathroom and we rode around a bit together and got to the starting area quite early in an attempt to get the primo spots in the front of the girls pack. We succeeded at that! Yay! I love getting to start races with a friend. It cuts the tension and gives me a co-conspirator in the 'stare of death' towards the competition.
When the race finally started, Melissa took off up the hill and I decided I couldn't possibly hold that pace. I was worried I was making the same rookie mistake as letting Michelle go on the hill climb at the beginning, but I was still ahead of half the pack and working hard so I let her smoke me. Eventually I caught back up and squeeked aero-bunny past her and thought she jumped on my back wheel. After getting up the fire road we finally got to turn onto some singletrack and when I looked back she wasn't there. I expected her to catch back up quickly but she ended up not feeling very good and I didn't get to see her again. She still rode a great race and I hear she was her usual thoughtful self and ended up stopping to give a guy a tube at some point. She's a great rider and an even better person.
Eeeeenyway, the race went by and I had a great time. The first downhill was a little chaotic as the Expert men were passing us constantly on their second time down the trail. Luckily Chris and I have practiced the whole passing thing and when they'd pass me close I didn't freak out. I know that most of the girls were pretty furious about the timing by the race putting us out on a rough downhill with experts. For me, I think it turned out to be a good thing. It forced me to go faster and take more risks than I probably otherwise would've -- especially when one of the Feedback boys pulled up behind me and decided rather than to pass me he said to keep going and he'd stick behind me. I didn't want to slow him up so I went much faster than I'm used to and it was a blast. Whoever that was, thanks for the encouragement!
I raced the rest, never really letting up, knowing that there was a group of 5 or 6 girls in front of me, but also a more substantial group of girls behind me. Often I rode by myself, trying to eat my cliff blocks every 10-15 minutes, drinking a bunch of water, trying not to puke. When there were people around me they were beginner men. I yo-yo'd with a guy who could climb really well but couldn't descend worth anything. It was fun to blow by a guy on the downhill, I'm not used to that. I ended up passing a fair amount of people in the race which was fun. It felt good to be the passer for a change and not always the one being passed.
When we got almost to the end, I had my one mishap of the day. I thought for a second "wow, I'm actually almost there, this is so exciting!" and then my wheel clipped a rock or a root or something as I was going on a decently fast slight uphill and I ejected myself over the front of the bike. Like a spastic cat, I landed on my feet about 6 inches from a tree, looked around, and cheered for myself. I quickly grabbed my bike and quickly caught back up to the two guys that had been ahead of me. At one point the front guy slammed to a stop on a rooty uphill, then the two guys proceeded to stand around arguing about passing. We were seriously about a mile from the finish. Why stand around and chat? Finally I got aggressive (yes, me, aggresive, I know) and yelled "well, I HAVE to go" and hiked my bike around the loose cliff on the side of them to get around. I don't think they were happy that I did it, but seriously. They were just standing there, knowing I was right behind them, and I didn't want to lose the race because they were being big fat girls.
Well, I finished. I was SO happy just to be done. Especially after hating it so much the last time I rode it. This time I felt pretty good, pushed through the tough times, and had a big silly grin on my face most of the way... AND I finished under two hours (1:58:something). That became my goal after seeing that the group of girls ahead of me where probably not within reach and I didn't see any girls behind me for a while. So I decided I wanted to be 2 hours. I was super psyched.
Chris was there to meet me at the finish and he told me he got 3rd! WOW! For being in a really hard Expert group and not really training for these short races, 3rd was extraordinary! I was so proud of him! He was sweet, took my bike, and even ran off to find me water as I had gone through the Camelbak. We waited for the beginner women results to post, but the race directors were pokey and it wasn't until well after the awards actually started that they finally posted our results.
Here comes the best part of the day. I knew I'd tried my best and I knew I should be really proud of that no matter what, but secretly I feared getting 4th and being so close to a medal but just missing it. Chris walked over to check to see if the results had posted and I watched him walk over. Then he got a HUGE grin on his face, took about a triple take at the paper, and ran back with the good news.
And now the reason for the title: holy ****! I got 3rd!
My first award since my 2nd or 3rd place in a big wheel contest when I was 3. YAY! I gladly accepted my medal, Chris gladly accepted his, and we got to watch Bill proudly accept his 3rd in Clydesdales. Overall it was a successful day! We celebrated our three bronzes with a tasty pizza dinner in Winter Park and now we're home.
My abs are already sore.
But my cheeks are too!
Ever wonder how comfortable it is to sleep with a medal around your neck?
I'll let you know tomorrow.