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Friday, June 23, 2006

Humility 

So, as part of my ongoing attempt to recover from EFS (excessive fat syndrome: it can be cured!), I decided to do a mountain bike race out at Buntzen Lake.

Circumstances being what they were, I chose to ride there, since it's only 8km from my house. Can't beat that!

I rode the 12 km from work to home, fed the pets, changed into my race gear and grabbed my mountain bike, then rode to Buntzen Lake.

It's mostly uphill.

Then I rode a race which I thought would be about an hour. For me, I think it was 1:20 or so. Ouch. I finished dead last. I got beat by a miniscule junior rider from my own club, old guys, young guys, fast guys, slow guys, and two women. It was crushing, and on this lots-of-climbing course, a sure sign of what 20 pounds and virtually no mountain biking skills can do to a guy.

Then I rode home. At least that was mostly downhill.

Then I mowed the back lawn.

That's the kind of day that leaves you ready for bed.

The race itself was fun. I did it for training and entertainment, and by the last of the three laps, I was already passed and pretty philosophical. I rode within my limits and just enjoyed the ride (I was still hurting, mind). No suck factor rating: mountain bike races where you don't wreck a bike part are just for fun.

On the other hand, my post-race Power Bar tasted far better than it had any right to. So I guess it was serious.

On the way home, riding with another racer, we saw an enormous owl that sat about 15 feet off the trail and just watched us for about 30 seconds before taking off.

Comments:
Just ran across your blog! Good luck with the racing!
 
Thank you for the kind words, Walker. I realized that some of the context of this post is not clear: I'm a reasonably serious roadie (Cat 4 road racing), so what was deeply humiliating about this race was not so much the part where I was bad at riding trails (I'm poky at best, incompetent at worst), but that I ended up being bad at climbing, too.

The biggest climbs on this course were just long, not technical: one was a partly paved access road, one was a gravel power-line access road, and some of the descents were on fast gravel roads, too. At most, half the course was on authentically serious single-track, either uphill, downhill, or relatively flat.

But I got out-climbed by mountain bikers. That put me deep into my humble zone.
 
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