Thursday comes, I wake up and there is no energy in me, same thing with the following day. I was not sure what was going on but I know it was not right. I had a time trail on Saturday and I didn’t touch my bike for a week now. It was so unlike me, I love my bike and day without biking is never complete. It never happened to me before, I biked even when I had bruised ribs from the fall when using first time clipless pedals in Oleta. I biked than 2mph and tiny gaps in concrete would send shooting pain throughout my body. I barley could breathe and it took me some 15 minutes to put my biking shoes on and mount the bike, but I biked. But now when I’m all good and didn’t even bother why?
I was about to find that out when I woke up for the Time Trial. That morning my throat was swollen and I felt very weak. We went to the race site. The TT course was set up but there was no indication of what the course will be like for the main event on Sunday.
We pre-rode it once and found out that some new section was in it that was just carved in the trees. Also the course entered the famous section with logs, but hitting only the final one out of 4. Few girls were there on the starting line but we had to wait so long for almost everyone to go by before us. And we did wait and wait and talked and waited. I decided to go for additional warm up and when I got back most of the girls were gone. OK, looks like they were in a hurry. I didn’t mind, after all this is an individual ride and we are left all alone on the course. I got my starting number 63 and waited to be sent away. My husband had his starting number 69 and was about to complete his first cross country race. No stress and I was actually looking forward to it and see how I would do. It was first ever for me time trail and didn’t completely know what to expect, besides most likely pain and misery…
The gun went off and I was going strong, I was flying on the course and enjoying it, to be honest I don’t remember much because everything happened so fast and my world was made of pain. I just remember when some half way through my legs started to feel like noodles and I wondered if I would need to stop, I was very tired! But me stopping? This is something that never takes place and I kept on going and pushing as hard as I could.
Most of the big climbs were omitted in this short track to make the course of the 3.5 miles even faster. One climb however that was not really all that tall I had a problem with, I saw it from a distance and It crossed my mind that possibly I’m too tired and in to high of a gear to make it up it but on the other side I was going faster than usual. Got to the hill, kept cranking up, climbing and climbing and I pretty much reached the top, I lost my momentum and my speed went to a stall. I’m there on the top with no movement forward, I am trying to crank it again and again but bike is not going anywhere. I tried to drop to a lower gear but there was to much pressure on the chain for it to happen. So I’m stopped now with my foot down. Trying to get back and push off and still not go, I yelled to myself “I don’t believe that!”, I had to push the bike some two feet forward to attempt riding again. I wasted some serious seconds there in this unfortunate fumble.
In this race frenzy my front tire, also to add to the attraction of the race, washed out some 5 times in the short distance like that. Some of them I was able to save quite easily, with one being pretty bad and my bike going sideways like some razor and I caught it with the twist of the handlebar in the last second. I already had in those split second moments vision of me laying sideways on the ground. But it did not happened thankfully. There was however one more 90 degree sharp sandy corner and I approached it with high speed, my tire was gone again, this time for good, there was a bunch of trimmed sticks right in front of my face that were getting closer and closer. I was about to face plant on them when my right food unclipped and I was able to plant my toe in the sand for safety. It worked and I regained my balance and sped off. Oh and the log section, it popped out on you out of nowhere and there it was, the fear of not making it and landing in the mud and loosing even more time. I got on the log and made it almost through and when I had some 3 feel left I yelled to myself with happiness “oh yeah!”. I made it and this culminated the race. My final time was 16 minutes and 13 seconds. Later on I found out I placed second with first place Duffy Danish having time of 16 minutes and 6 seconds. I thought at first that there was more time separating us since I started my timer few seconds before the start but reality was there was only 7 seconds dividing me from the first place. Now looking back if I could take away all those little episodes that took place in the trail I could have been first. Oh well, either way I did good for my first try of this type of racing.
Now back to my husband, he was stressed but he did it, he had a great ride and I knew he would do good since he is a great biker, just he is not the racing type. He is more daring than me and this was the only concern I had for him in this race. I was afraid he would push to hard and do something he could regret later. Also he has no experience with pacing. After I finished I went quickly so see how Pax is progressing, I spotted him in the forest and he was almost about to be done. He yelled to me about some crash but there was no time to talk. When he jetted to the finish like I followed him and was so proud that finally he did it. We stopped and I looked at him and he appeared as he went through a war. All dirty, sandy and scratched up. He gained to much speed on the razor back section that had two small jumps, first he cleared nicely but second happened to shoot him up into the air unexpectedly and he was set for the total endo. He went over the bars landed on his head and rolled to his back. He told me later the fall made him dizzy and when he tried to continue biking but his front wheel was twisted two times around. He straightened the wheel and went. Pax finished only 10 seconds off from our friend Wally Pilat which is our riding partner, which is a great result. So my Pax is all scratched up and slightly beat up after this little adventure like you can see on the picture. Bike however needed some serious work done on it because of the crash and the whole wheel needs a new rim and will be rebuild.