If you knew me in grade school, you’d remember me as the kid that you never wanted on your team in PE. You’d remember me as the kid that was the last one chosen when the team captains would call out who they wanted. The one who got traded to the other team when there was an imbalance. The one who caused everybody to laugh and yell “Ha Ha, you got him on your team!” You probably knew me, I’m sure that I went to your school too.
Well, now it’s my turn to laugh back! 🙂 Some of my coworkers at my current job were into this series of MTB races south of Folsom at the Prairie City OHV park. They convinced me to go ahead
and give it a try.
I had never raced before, and had never ridden a mountain bike. The first problem that I had to address was my lack of a mountain bike. No bike = no ride. It turns out that I had this old hybrid bike frame sitting in the barn at my parents’ house that hadn’t been ridden in quite some time. It was completely in pieces, no derailers, no wheels, no shifters, no cranks, nothing. It wasn’t really a mountain bike, having no suspension, slick tires, etc, but I figured that I could make it work. So, I bought some knobby tires from Performance for $20 and a new front brake cable. I scrounged for parts in my parts box and stole some off of another bike that was in retirement, and after a few hours of tuning it up it was ready to ride.
Having never ridden a MTB before I was a bit worried about my ability to participate. Being as I’d never raced and never ridden off road I decided to enter the beginners category (it’s only fair!). Race one was fun, though the dust really bothered me! For race two there was a significant amount of rain and the course was MUDDY as could be. That race was really hard on the bikes. Three of my coworkers’ bikes broke from the torture. Mine required a COMPLETE overhaul afterwards. But it was a blast! Even better, I got second place. Since it was raining we got double points for that race, which helped me a lot overall!
As the end of the series approached I was WAY in the lead for points. I hadn’t really done spectacular, in fact I never got first place, but I was consistent. Seeing that the rules said that they would throw away your two lowest scores I began to calculate how close my competitors were. By the start of race 10 of 12 I was 6 points ahead of my closes competitor. Problem is, it was over 100 F that day and therefore a double point day. I wasn’t doing very well and he got quite a ways ahead of me. I pressed on. He kept looking back to find me, but after seeing me so far back after the last turn he quit looking. I managed to pull a second wind and push a bit harder enligneviagra.net. As I was coming behind him I could tell that he didn’t know I was there. Just as I was about to catch him he looks back and sees. The sprint for the finish was on. We both pushed as hard as we could. We were flying for the finish line and the guy watching the finish line was waving for us to slow down! PUSH HARDER! —- He beat me by 1/2 of a bike length and thus gained two points on me! I now only had a four point lead.
Race 11: I kept telling everybody that I wanted to gain enough points that race 12 didn’t matter. Most said that wasn’t very fun, but that was my goal. Sure enough, I managed to beat him by one position, enough to have a five point lead. I went home that night and immediately started doing the math. Sure enough, even if I weren’t to show up for race 12, and even if he got first place (which I thought was unlikely considering he hadn’t before), then I was still OK and would still win by one point.
Race 12: It’s strange. You’d never would guess how much your mental state affects your ability. Knowing that it wouldn’t change the overall outcome I couldn’t ride nearly as fast. I was so slow… allowing people pass me, talking to other riders… I did the worst I had ever done before (6th place). It turned out to be one of my two throwaway days. Good thing I had as much cushion as I did because my ‘nemesis’ managed first place. Wow! He did some good racing that day!
So, now I have a nice bright red t-shirt that says “Series Points Champion” on the front, and I can go find all of those bullies from Elementary school who are probably now sitting with their cheap beer balanced on their enormous stomachs and say that I got the last laugh! 🙂