Sunday, July 29, 2012

no hype this week, only heart-pounding reality

It occurred to me on Friday that I did not post a Hype of the Week for my upcoming race.

I pondered the possibility of coming up with something really quick, and ultimately decided that, as I did not feel a ton of pre-race hype for this last race, I would keep it real and not post a Hype of the Week.

The fact is that, with so many things going on this summer, and with my originally having planned not to race at all this year, these three races at the end of the PIR Short-Track series have taken me slightly by surprise. My level of investment is not the same this time around. I am, admittedly, treating them as a lark, a distraction from the multiple stresses of my other goings-on.

Tomorrow night I will go and try to survive for as many laps as they let me log in thirty minutes; and because it's the end of the series I will also race in the relay with my team at the end of the night. I will try to make it as fun as possible, and not worry about how well I do. It's my last chance for playing in the dirt before I need to get serious.

Instead of a traditional Hype, I willinstead share a video of last week's short-track race, shot with a go-cam perched to the helmet of one Mr. Brooke Hoyer. He raced in the Mens' Singlespeed category, at the same time as the Singlespeed Women and the Masters' Men and Women (includng me). This video will give you an idea of how hard this stuff is -- and this is from the perspective of a much younger and stronger racer. The opening lap is a start lap, a slightly shorter lap to begin to spread out the field, and does not count towards your completed laps. At 10:52 into the video you will catch a very fleeting glimpse of me as Mr. Hoyer laps me. I am on the far right of the screen in the black and orange of Team Slow, heading into my second full lap. Mr. Hoyer is starting his fourth full lap. Later on, in his final lap, he passes my teammate Erinne (she's racing Masters' Women U-35) at 13:30.
Mr. Hoyer finishes a spot or two out of the bottom in his category -- which, considering that Mens' Singlespeed is one of the fastest categories out there, should be at least some consolation. (I would end up finishing over three full minutes behind him in Dead Effing Last place for all categories. The point for me was that I finished, and managed to squeeze out an extra lap over the previous week's race.)

In any event, you may well wonder the very same thing that my friend Heintz asked me last summer when he came to watch me race: "Exactly what is fun about this for you?"

It's hard to explain, especially in light of the fact that I finish DFL every time and I'm often hard-pressed to complete as many laps as my nearest competitor. I greatly enjoy the cameraderie, of course; that's definitely a highlight of my involvement in racing. But in addition, there is something compelling and even necessary about doing something so physically hard that, for thirty minutes, the whole world goes away and all I am conscious of is the combined sensation of my heart pounding in my ears and my lungs burning on fire. That sensation can be very cleansing when the rest of your life is so full of busy details and stresses. And in the end, that's why I like to make myself do this. Because in some odd way, it's good for me to make myself suffer like this now and then.

See you tomorrow night at PIR.
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