Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fair Hill Classic...Um, This is a race report

Fair Hill was hard.
Really hard and really climb-y and really hard.

I expected the start to be demoralizing.
I did not expect to ride six long miles before reigning in the first of only two women.
Okay...let's break it down:
27.2(ish) miles on my Raleigh (the only 29er in my stable, which also happens to be a single speed).
For less than a minute, I stayed with the field and one by one they began to drift away...Gears or no gears, that prologue was ridiculously long.
Briefly, I reminded myself to hang in's a long race, anything can happen, just ride.
Briefly, I enjoyed settling in and finding that elusive groove.
Somewhere shortly thereafter, I became unglued...way too early.
Does anyone agree that this had to have been the climbiest (yes, I just made up a word...I'm destroyed, it works) Fair Hill course yet?
Holy hell...I felt like I was going up all the good stuff I am used to going down.
Crackhead Bob, a veritable maze, was a blast...I love the way my bike handles all the twisty, tight's where I caught the second woman in my group.
After that, much of the race was a blur.
Sometimes, I felt strong and confident.
Sometimes, I pushed myself really hard and sometimes I glazed over and barely moved the pedals.
At the split for Sport, I was so so so so so tempted to bail.
With my stomach jacked up, my back aching, and spirits low, I just wanted to call it a day.
Obviously, I didn't bail.
I pushed on.
And on.
And on.
With nearly two miles to go to the finish, I lurched up the last climb and hopped off my bike when I couldn't bear to turn the pedals over one more time.

The finish was underwhelming...I'm glad I didn't quit. I'm satisfied that I finished a pretty punishing race on a single speed in the heat without any major mishaps.

I'm wondering if maybe I am just done with racing my mountain bike.
I've learned (and have said this before) that I am a much better rider than I am racer.
I'm not even sure why I race or want to race anymore.
It used to be fun...winning, losing, hanging onto last place for dear life, fighting for the top three, winding through the course in no man's land, pushing hard to stay in the mix, battling wheel-to-wheel with a strong & steady competitor...exchanging words of encouragement, commiserating about defeat.
It used to be fun.
I like the way I ride and want to be faster, but how much faster? Really?

In a few weeks, we'll be heading to New York again to try our hand at the Darkhorse 40 (as a duo, just like last summer).
Part of me still craves that excitement of battling it out on the trails.
Today wasn't too bad...
And racing is supposed to be hard.




The Bike Nazi said...

Don't be hard on yourself. You were on a single speed. Others could shift easier and give the legs a break, but you didn't have that luxury. You beat me at French Creek and I was trying to catch you. Maybe we'll race again when you're on your geared bike.

Kim said...

thanks...see you at the next one (and great job at Fair Hill)!

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

Fair Hill? As in Maryland? If that's what you are talking about my mother used to be a huge part of putting the weekend together. I haven't been there in a few years though!

Kim said...

yep, that would be Fair Hill, MD,, small world!

Jim said...

Yeah, that course kicked my ass pretty good. 6'0", ~250 lbs - hairpins on a 10' radius are not my forte. The climbing wasn't terrible per se, a rigid SS climbs about as well as anything, sustained climbs are do-able, but the constant twisty up-down on the single murdered me. Probably still would have been okay if I didn't eat poo on the one long open single track section and destroy me knee. Rode one lap, bailed. I is teh suxxor.