Race miles in 2006: 5
Podiums: None. Actually, in that race, I got last in my class -- an anti-podium.
Race miles in 2007 (April 1 - August 31): 147.3
Podiums: 3. Two race podiums and an overall series podium.
I've say I've kicked it up a notch.
Yesterday I finished the Winter Park series. I raced a race that, apparently, has been ranked in the top 5 mountain bike races in the world. Armstrong even did this race in '99 (A LOT faster than me). King of the Rockies proved to be a challenge, but rather than stressing about this race, I just went out and had a good time. At one point in the race, I had a song stuck in my head and actually broke out a little dance while riding. In retrospect, I should've raced a little harder. I should've had more of a killer instinct and tried to podium one last time for the season (afterall, Chris will be making me move to Sport instead of Beginner next year, so it'll probably be a while before I have another legitimate chance at placing in the top 3). I knew I had 2nd place for the series pretty locked up (although 3rd made a heck of a showing and ended up tying me for 2nd -- good for her, but I'm still not convinced she didn't cheat). Instead of rushing, I enjoyed the ride -- all 25ish miles of it. Honestly, with more and different food, and more water, I feel like I could've ridden even more (I can say that because I didn't have to).
The first part of the race was fine -- a downhillish section on dirt road -- I let most of the pack go and then would ride up to one girl, draft for a second, then slingshot up to the next. I was having fun playing with some tactics Chris has been teaching me on the road. Could I have hammered and gone a little faster? Probably. I played a little with gearing -- what would happen if I shifted up to the big ring? What would happen if I spun faster/slower? It was fun. I smiled and tried to talk to girls as I passed them and then get a big kick out of the nasty look they'd give me for sounding so chipper. I played that game through the whole race and it was, at least, very entertaining to me. Most girls get bitter when they sit on a bike seat. I'm not sure what that's all about.
The first climb was nice -- steady but not technical, long but not steep. I got into a rhythm and hung on to the wheel of the girl who ultimately got 2nd for the race. I should've stuck with her, or passed her when I knew I could climb faster than the pace she was setting. When the hill flattened out, she was gone. It probably would've been an interesting race had I passed her at the base of the climb like I wanted to. Oh well. Lesson learned for another year.
The first downhill was fun -- I had warned Jeanie that it could be "dangerously fast", and her husband ultimately ended up eating it on that descent and breaking his collarbone into pieces. Poor guy. I guess I read that hill right.
The rest of the race sorta blends together only with snipets sticking out in my mind. I got growled at something from the trees in the middle of nowhere at some point. That was a little unnerving. I made it through the big water crossing for the first time. In the pre-ride I ate it onto my knee, the next race I got off and ran it, last race I made it 3/4 of the way through then realized I was in too hard of a gear to keep pedaling and had to get off, and this time I made it. Thanks to Michelle for her cheers and support... I think that was the best part of the race. I cleaned the nasty climb up Chainsaw as everyone around me walked it. I disliked the Serenity trail a lot. I spent the entire trail trying to think of the word that "serenity" comes from and could only come up with serentatious -- only to realize at 2am last night that it's simply "serene". It was not serentatious -- or serene -- at all. I hate that trail. I liked the rest.
And so it ended. I came off of Serenity to the trial that leads to the end and saw another racer pop off a different trail and thought I recognized our friend Scott. When I saw Chris I yelled "Is that Scott?" and when he said yes, I put it in the big ring and cranked as hard as possible to catch him before the finish line. Unfortunately, he heard I was in front of him and he put on the gas to catch me. That last push smoked me for good. But it was fun to try.
Turns out I didn't do so hot in comparison to the rest of my group in this particular race -- but knowing that leaves me very hungry for next year. I guess that's a good thing. I did get second overall for the series. Pretty impressive for not wanting to do any of the races. In the middle of this series I found a love for mountain biking. I'm no longer only in it for the delicious food afterwards. I truly love the challenge and the peace that comes with being out on the trail. I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband and great group of friends to ride with on a regular basis.
And now to the obligatory post-season thank yous:
Thank you to Chris for all of your free coaching and never ending support and bicycle maintenance. You've taught me to believe in myself, the bike, and the unknowns that make up the sport.
Thanks to Eric, Scott, Bill, Dave and Mike for always putting up with my slow-butt at the Wednesday night rides. Your encouragement, support, and sense of humor has kept me from quitting this sport on many-a-wednesday. You guys are the best people to ride with in the whole world and I'm lucky to get to tag along.
Thanks to Melissa, Michelle, and Jeanie who have made the Wednesday night rides more fun and social than simply "going for a ride." It's been nice to have girls to ride with for a change -- girls that understand that riding shouldn't just be about the length or intensity of the ride, but the fun factor plays a big role as well.
Thanks to the Feedback team for letting wear your jersey and be an honorary member of your team for the race series.
Well, that's all folks. My bike season is over. I'll still be riding, but no more racing for me until next year unless an opportunity presents itself that I just can't resist.
My goals for 2008?
Let's just say I'm going to be spending some serious time on the trainer this winter -- pregnant or not. I hope to pull out some secret weapons for both Cherry Creek and Winter Park next year. Chris and I want to do a team assault on a 12 or 24 hour at some point -- Plesko family assault involving Dad Plesko as well? I hope so! Talks have been swirling around this house of a Marni-Pugsley possibly in the future. I'm a little nervous of the whole snow-biking idea but, like everything else, I'm sure Chris will find a way to make me like it. There's also talks of a single speed in the future. Also nervous about that, but also think it will be a fun challenge. Overall, lots of great things to look forward to if the pregnant thing doesn't work out. Life right now is good, and I'm taking advantage of it.
Did I mention my kickball league starts on Monday? There should be a whole new crop of funny sports-related stories to share once that gets started... my first attempt at a team 'sport' -- Go Ovulators!