Sunday, October 24, 2010

race report: Cross Crusade # 4, PIR

This year at PIR, my final placement did not matter. Period.

All that mattered was that I finished, that I did not DNF and let the course defeat me.
I decided to just ride inside myself and not worry one bit about anyone else around me. My goals were to finish, and to have as much fun as I could while doing so.
The weather was similar to last year's, except that this year it rained for everyone instead of just the women and A's.
The course was ridiculously muddy, so much so that organizers shortened it from the advertised 2.1 miles to not quite a mile and a half, taking out the big run-up where I got hurt last year and shortening the out-and back on the far end of the other run-up; I learned that they had done this mostly to avoid having to pay higher rental costs to PIR for damage to the terrain. The course was pretty degraded anyway -- and VERY muddy -- by the time the women started at 2:30.

I set a good pace for myself, nothing spectacular but again I wanted to finish strong and enjoy myself. I knew I'd be slow -- I walked over the barriers each lap, my feet sinking inches into thick wet mud -- but I greatly enjoyed the technical demands of the course. On several parts of the course I rode as far to one side as I could legally do (without going off the course), to take advantage of what little grass or drier mud remained. Other parts of the course forced everyone to push through four to six inches of standing, muddy water. Biggest shock of all was that, on some of the technical upslopes, I actually -- gasp! -- passed other racers who were getting hung up in their clipless pedals or having trouble with shifts. (God, I love my singlespeed bike.)

My final lap was the hardest for sure -- I almost fell twice in the deepest stretches of mud -- and my lower back, tight before the race, ached with every pedal stroke on the final lap. But oh! the joy and relief when I crossed the finish line and saw the checkered flag and the smiles of the officals waving everyone off the course. And just like that, it was over. I'd taken on PIR and won. I rode home still caked in mud, and very happy.

Results should be posted at OBRA's web site by some time tomorrow.
I don't care.
Honestly, I am just so damned glad I raced today.


jjfantastic said...

you kicked a** :) way to go, beth! that was so so so much fun. i was nervous, 'cos i really did NOT enjoy the mud at Barlow or Rainier, but this was different (and I'm just getting a bit more confident too, and learning to go with the slippy slidey feeling)

Richard said...

Excellent job! The "race within yourself" strategy was a wise move and one I've employed several times.

bikelovejones said...

JJ: Did I see you after the start of the race? No idea. But I'm SO glad you came out and enjoyed it! Really, as long as you ride your own race there's really no way you can't NOT have fun, even on a challenging course like PIR. Bravo!

Richard: I am learning to remember this more and more. Today it was especially helpful.

jjfantastic said...

After the start? I'm honestly not sure. I was going slow and steady, only goal was to finish, which I did :) I'm getting stronger and gaining skills with each race - I'll be sad when the season is over! This has been the most challenging thing I've done in ages if not forever, and I'm glad I'm doing it.

Saw some shots of you here btw:

J.D. said...

Yee-haw! Awesome job, Beth! Too bad I am half the continent away and don't get to participate in the Cross Crusade series (but I really like our Cap City Cross series and guys). It is excellent to hear that you finished, and passing people is a morale booster for sure!

bikelovejones said...

JD -- come for the mud, man. It will blow your mind. Next year. Just say yes. PIR is waiting.