Friday, June 8, 2018

Finding Rosie

After my sh!tshow at Mammoth Gravel Classic, I had two more chances in May to work on finding my inner Rosie in races.

Chance #1 was at the Woolly Mountain Bike race, my first mountain bike race in almost three years. If there was ever a time I needed Rosie, this would probably be it.

Things went well pre-race. We got there early, I got in a good warm up and I didn't need any meltdowns over my brakes or GPS at the start line. I even started in the middle of the pack, instead of hiding in the back like usual. Not that I stayed mid-pack very long. When you gear your singlespeed for the hills, it doesn't take long for the pack to pass you. At least the passing happened before we even hit singletrack! I figured with 4 hours of riding to go I'd have plenty of time to pass people back.

Unfortunately, that positive thinking lasted one lap. Then my chain fell off. Four times. By the time I put it back on four times, I pretty sure I was in last place and Rosie had left me. Thankfully, the race was loops, I eventually limped into the start/finish area with my chain dangling off my bike. I asked if I could make a quick stop to find a mechanic and after confirmation I could, I promptly found Jimmay!!!  Finding one of my LCR teammates is even better than finding a mechanic. These guys could probably fix a bike with dental floss if need be. In this case, after 10 minutes with Jimmay!!, I was back on course with my singulator twist-tied to my bike.

Told you these guys could fix a bike with anything. 

Now, I'd like to say I went back on course and everything was sunshine and rainbows. It wasn't. Somehow, after all the stopping to fix my bike, I ended up right in the mix of the expert and comp guys starting their races. If you've never done a mountain bike race, let me just sum this up for you like this: these guys all think they're winning the Olympics, which basically means if they come up behind you on the trail, they will expect you to get your ass off the trail immediately, even if there's a place to pass in 10 feet.

I swear these are guys who would hold the door open for me any other time, but get them on a bike and they'd rather kill me than have to go off a smooth strip of dirt to pass me in some grass. 

Thankfully, after a couple of laps of this and a few tears (Yes, I can cry and ride a bike at the same time. Yes, I also know this is ridiculous.), the always positive Chris Gibbs caught me and yelled something about Rosie, which reminded me I should be Rosie right now. And Rosie doesn't cry when she rides her bike. So, I pedaled hard for the next lap and half, passed a few people back and surprised myself with an unexpected podium. Not that I looked all that happy at as I finished:
Photo: Woolly Bike Club

Lesson of the day: Sometimes (most of the time) persistence pays off. Even if you can't find your inner Rosie when you need her most.

Fast forward six days to Wild Ride Buzzard Buster 10 Hour Race. A chance to redeem myself and keep in my Rosie mindset for the whole day.

Again, pre-race went well. The 2 hour drive was enough time to get myself in the right mindset. I had over an hour once I got there to set up my transition and get the bike ready (the chain was no longer held on with twist ties). I ran into the awesome HCCC crew before the start and they let me set up under their tent. I'm not sure if this was out of kindness or because I mentioned I might get naked in there later.  I even had time to check with the race director to make sure riding topless was an option. (Yes, yes it was.)

When it's supposed to be over 90 I start planning to be naked. Clothes are hot.

With that, I headed to the start as Rosie. Thankfully, the Le Mans run start goes much better for me than a mass start on the singlespeed so for once I was actually the first girl onto the singletrack. Despite having to run part of the first crazy uphill, I stayed in my Rosie mindset and stayed at the front down the technical section on the other side.

At this point, I pretty much knew this was probably gonna be my day. That probably sounds nuts at the start of a 10 hour race, but for me, the starts are usually the hardest. If I can make it through that with a positive outlook, I can find a way to keep my head in the game for however many hours there are to come. So, the rest of the ten hours, despite a battle with the heat, was all pretty much full of smiling.

I even finally rode "topless" for my last few laps.
And yes, I cropped this photo. No one's belly looks good when they're bent over on a bike. Just trust me on this. At least I can smile while riding with what looks like a beer gut.

In the end, it was finally a win. Not just for the race, but for finally finding Rosie again, and keeping her around for a whole race.

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