Saturday, July 31, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Had a great coming soon

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Off to Idaho...

To visit Momma Bug and crew!!! Yay! Yay! Yay! I'm not excited or anything ;) I'll be back in a week with pictures :D

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jacksonville Short Track Pics

Courtesy of Becky Mcloud:

I look about as confident as I feel, which is not so much.
Honey, aren't you supposed to be Riding the bike??? (poor guy, he needs to practice changing flats when he's not racing, lol)
Janis, smiling as always :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Racing and "Stretching"

As you can tell I have not made the slightest attempt to keep up with this blog without a computer at home. But, I accomplished something yesterday which I must blog about, if only to have the record for myself to look back on later :)

I've been toying with the idea of racing mountain bike. When it was first suggested to me I thought, "that's definitely not for me. I'm so not competitive. Why would I need to race?" But what I said out loud was "maybe". Gradually as I continued to ride (which sounds funny because I've only been riding mountain bike since April, lol) I found that I could be a little, tiny bit competitive. Very quietly. Maybe it's not even competitive, maybe it's just "rising to the challenge" of keeping up with the person in front of me.

Then I considered the fact that racing would give me incentive to work harder during the week. I find I need motivation to endure pain. Sure, getting in shape is motivation, but sometimes too distant a goal. Something to mark the way makes it easier. Not to mention the accountability of riding in front of the same people week after week.

Add to that that it's what a number of my friends, not to mention my hubby, are doing.

Somewhere along the way I began to be excited about the challenge. I don't know when or where that happened, but it did.

I said all that to say: Yesterday I raced my first Mtb race! It was a short-track cross country (STXC) race in Jacksonville. Short track is raced on a loop of track, usually about a mile long. It's measured by both minutes and number of laps. For example, beginner class races for twenty minutes and 2-4 laps (cat 2 races 30 minutes and 6 laps, etc). So,with beginners usually the leader makes four laps,once he/she is on their last lap everyone else is also on their last lap (hopefully I explained that correctly--don't hold me to it).

I determined that I would make three laps. We planned to get there early enough to pre-ride the trail. I was especially eager to do this because I am not technically skilled and I really wanted to see if there was anything too difficult for me before I signed up. With one thing and another we weren't on time and I ended up signing up without pre-riding. I had been assured it was an easy track so I didn't feel too nervous, and by this time I was determined to try it anyway. Then as we were unloading our bikes we discovered my front brake was locking up. After soliciting the opinions of half a dozen helpful fellows we were no nearer fixing it (unless you count ruling out the one thing they all tried :). We ended up taking the brake pads out so if I accidentally grabbed the brake lever I wouldn't lock it up and be stuck.

The race started while Nate and Sean were putting my tire back on, so Nate and I started a bit behind. (My parents and Matt and Emily were there to cheer us on, which was totally awesome :) Yay for supportive family!) As I struggled up the first climb it came to me with wretched clearness how very out of shape I still am. But, hey, that's part of the point, right? When I finally got to the downhill section my spirits definitely lifted, it was so much fun. It was a nice rolling, swooping single track with only one difficult (for me) climb(I made it about 1/3 of the way up and pushed my bike the rest of the way) that was very short. There were a lot of rocks but I had enough speed that by the time I registered nervousness I was over them with no problem. There was a little creek crossing just deep enough get a little splash on the way through, very rocky though but I didn't have trouble with it. It was great to see my family waving and cheering just before the climb to the finish line.

As I began my second lap the pain returned. I was struggling along so slowly I thought, there's no way I will be fast enough to make three laps. I was a bit disappointed, but working too hard to dwell on it. My legs hurt, my lungs were killing me, I was so hot I could feel my face was beet red. I was miserable. I wished there were someone to cheer me over the last stretch of rocky road as I climbed. Then I reached the downhill section again and I started to have fun again. Struggling up the one steep bit was a little harder this time, but it was soon over.

As I came up the last bit toward the finish line there were lots of helpful voices shouting "one more lap" I got to do three after all. But, I was even more miserable the third climb (this was not a steep hill, just so you know, and probably only half a mile long!). I thought, Why am I doing this to myself?!? I struggled on, going slower and slower. I finally reached the turn for the downhill. I was so sloppy this time over all the rocks and around corners I am completely amazed I didn't wreck. I passed Nate somewhere along the trail and was so tired I barely registered it. My brain tucked that little bit of information away to hopefully be found later. I was very relieved to make it up the last hill, so much so that I forgot to go to the finish line *Sigh* and had to be reminded. So I turned around and crossed my first finish line.

I have no idea what my time was. I am so glad I completed three laps though, even though it was miserable. It would have been too discouraging to not reach my very first goal. The big joke is that I beat my husband on my very first race. He had a flat and ran half the race.

I was not sure that I was ever going to do that again. It took me so long to cool down and I kept remembering how miserable that little hill was. How far behind I was trailing. But overnight and today my determination has slowly been growing. There is that motivation to push myself harder that I was looking for. I have it too in the desire to be able to ride with my friends without slowing everyone down. So, I'm still not sure I need to race. I'm pretty sure I will try it again though...

As for other race happenings: There were flat tires left and right. I am so thankful I did not get a flat. That would have been just too much. Janis flatted on her second lap and Nate ran up the hill and got my back tire for her. Some of the other guys flatted twice in consecutive laps. Bear took first in the pro/expert category by quite a ways. They timed his fastest lap at 3:30 and the big joke was that his slowest lap was 3:31. It was great fun to watch everyone as usual and I really enjoyed Matt, Emily and Gabriella's company (and cheering and boy-watching assistance--Thanks guys!).

I've been stretching myself in other ways as well lately. I invited Janis over to ride at our house, even though my house is super disgusting and it embarrasses me to have people over, (even though I've been working diligently on said disgustingness...). I spoke at our Bible study last Thursday. I'm planning to let our youth leader know I would be glad to speak at youth group some Wednesday if she needs a speaker. If you didn't know, talking in front of people is probably my greatest fear, one I can't live with any more. I have other "stretches" in mind and perhaps I will share them with you as I step out in them.