Monday, April 27, 2009

A Mountain Biker Is Born!

Hi fellow chickens and chickenettes,

(warning, this is a long one, so if you want the bottom line, skip to the bottom)

So today I did my first mountain bike race. So many of you made it seem like so much fun, I just had to try it! As expected there were some hiccups, but all in all a spectacular time, and I can't wait for the next one!

So I borrowed a bike, graciously loaned by fellow chickenette Kim Lyons. The only problem was, the bike was in Santa Ynez, and I wouldn't be able to get it until the morning of the race. Not a problem, I thought, I could just get there early and figure it out then. I would jsut swap out the pedals, adjust the seat, and go. Which is pretty much what happened, although not without the help of Barney, because I wasn't strong enough to get Kim's pedals OFF the bike! (note to self--must build upper body strength a tad...). Then the rear tire was flat!

While holding the bike while Kim took the wheel off, I did what I guess anyone who has disk brakes knows you should NEVER do, somehow I pulled the brake lever. Oops. Then the wheel wouldnt go back on. NOthing like last minute mechanic work-- I got to learn how disk brakes worked, and got the brake working again (thanks to Mark Luke and David Larsen and Blinger). Then I got to preride a little, and get everyone's last minute advice. Some of it included...pedal up the hills, just use your granny gear, it's all in your head, get in front before the climbs, etc. Sounds easy enough, I thought!

At the start, I was with the other 15 or so beginner women. I got a good start and passed all but 1 person before the first hill. I had a good gap on the rest of the field, but that was soon thwarted when I realized I didn't know how to climb the hill! I got in my granny gear and spun happily, until the front wheel started coming off the ground...I shifted my weight forward, but with no prior practice....alas I lost so much momentum I had to get off and run. A girl passed me and

then I was mad. I got to the top of the hill and soon there was an

off-camber downhill. I love to go downhill, but alas, when you have never done something, it might not be the time to pull out all the stops! I was flying along happily, and then hit a little bump and flew in the air. Came down fine, but scared myself a bit and decided I should slow down. Unfortuantely that didn't happen in time before i hit another bump and didn't land so well that time. I flew in the air and landed on my elbow. Ouch. I layed there a minute or 2 and let a few guys pass me, and 2 girls. The guys asked me if I was ok, and I"m pretty sure I said "I'm not sure". Good answer...

Anyway, I decided I was fine, and that I needed to keep racing. I got back on my bike and off I went. I was feeling ok, but there was a lot of blood. I didn't really like that thought, so I forgot about it. I passed the guys again, to which they said "I guess you're ok" and kept going. I passed one girl and then saw the other. I kept this time the course got a LOT easier (or I started figuring out how to ride this fat tire thing). I finally got to open it up and use my cardio fitness a little, and then I noticed that the race was almost over. Oops. Nothing like hitting your groove at mile 10 of an 11 mile

race! I passed the final girl on the run into the finish in a

crit-worthy sprint. Aside from a horrible bruise and an abrasion/laceration worse than I've ever had in a road race, I'm good to go.

The bottom line: I got 2nd place in my age group...and more importantly had a great time! I think I'll be partaking in more dirt rides in the future!

It was really fun seeing all the chickens there! I saw lots of chickens on the podium! It was very fun and I really appreciated all the comraderie and fun. Congrats to you all--I won't mention you by name since there were so many and I'm sure you want to brag on your own!

Thanks for making my first mountain bike race fun.



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