The Ugly, The Bad and The Good:
1. The Ugly: My last lap hurt like a [expletive deleted]. I was in the wrong place on the course when they changed over from bell lap to final-checkered-flag lap and I had to do my final lap pretty much all by myself on the course, a humiliating feeling when you're the last one out there, everyone has finished at least a minute or two ahead of you, and the next bunch are waiting for you to get the hell off the course so they can start their race. My last lap really and truly sucked, and I pretty much dragged myself over the finish line.
2. The Bad: The course was made somewhat tacky and even muddy in spots by a light, steady rain that fell for about an hour before the kiddie races at 5:45. Parts of the moto course resembled a cyclocross course. Trying to find a line was ridiculous, especially for the Cat 3's and Juniors who raced first. By the time it was my turn, the sun had come back and dried sections of the course, and there were actually a few decent lines. Unfortunately, there were also some deep ruts in the mud that were treacherous to navigate -- and heaven help you if you lost momentum and stopped (which I did, once) because powering the pedals up again was impossibly hard. In fact, in spite of how relatively flat and fast the course was tonight, having to pick my lines through the muddy spots really sapped my energy.
3. The Good: I managed four laps. Yes, four. (Though the first lap was a start lap and they may not count it for anyone, I still crossed the finish line four times.) I did not need my inhaler at all out on the course, because the rain had tamped everything down; even the cottonwood tufts weren't as bad as last week. This was my hardest race yet and I felt I had to redeem myself in order to come back and keep racing at all. And I finished. Four Freaking Laps. That was enough to take away the sting of ending up last yet again. Having the loudest team and cheering section in OBRA certainly helped, and so did all the random spectators out on the course who recognized me and shouted encouragement along the way on every lap. Heintz and Julie came out to watch and it was great to see them there, even if I was too winded to respond to their cheers.
At the end of my race, I felt like I still enjoyed doing really hard things, and knew that I wanted to come back next week for more. It was definitely a good night.