OMG. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Seriously, 40miles off-road are worth 100+ miles on a road. People say that it was fun. I think that it was more hurt than fun. Mountain bikers are freaking crazy (and HOT!!!). At all tri and running races I did there were a lot of older guys. However, here were a lot of young hot bikers. I should hang out around them more:) I actually met one guy, but he is older guy, well I met him couple weeks ago at Crit race, well, not really there, I met him when I was biking home from that race and he biked with me for a while. And he remembered me and came up to me today. He works in one of the local bike shops. He gave me him business card and told me that there is another off-road bike race next weekend and if I wanted to go he would pick me up and give me a ride there. So nice, isn't it? So I am thinking that maybe I will go, hang out with some real fast hot cyclists. But first I need to forget about how much it hurt today.
I raced as an elite. But it is not because I am that fast, it is because there is no real competition in Michigan. I do not know what women here do... Before the start I talked to one girl, who was also racing as elite, and she was moutain biker and she asked me what my biking backgroun is. I felt stupid to tell her that I have zero biking background and am nevertheless racing as an elite so I told her that road racing. Which is kind of true since I did 2 road bike races:) So I started with the first fast pack, but got dropped as soon as we hit trails. Race was 40miles mostly on trails and dirt roads that were a complete muddy mess since it has been raining yesterday. So I got dropped as soon as we hit trails because although I think that I have good bike handling skills I am not as good as real off-road racers. And I lost the sight of the girl, which was a bummer but well, what can I do. Fortunately I managed to hang on some other guys and ride with them. They were going way faster than I would have gone myself and there were times when I thought that there was no way that I can keep that up for 40miles. It was so hard. Pushing throught the mud, sliding in all directions while going 18mph. Maybe it does not sounds that fast to you, but believe me, it was fast in those conditions. For me anyway. Then I also had to respond to their stupid surges (or whatever that was), and there were huge potholes on those roads, and when I hit the big one my feet would just fly of the pedals since I did not use clip-ins. Honestly, I am totally surprised that I have not wiped out. There were some very close calls when we hit huge mud spots, I just went where mud took me and not where I wanted to go. There were times when I thought that I did not want to do it anymore. I kept repeating to myself how f**** stupid the whole thing was. My legs, arms and wrists hurt, I was breathing heavily and I really did not want to wipe out, which I was persuaded would happen eventually.
Around half way through I saw the girl maybe 300m in front of us. That made me super happy and it was the only thing that made me going. I had no idea whether there were other women in front of me, but she was my focus at that point. We eventually caught up with her and she joined us. Dang! I knew that the last 4 miles were on some technical trails and if we do not drop her now she would smoke me on those trails. She hold on for several miles and eventually we dropped her. I was super happy, but I was close to be dropped myself:( But I hang on until we hit those final trails, then I got dropped and had to ride last 3-4 miles by myself, which was hard but I did not want that girl to caught up with me so I pushed it hard till the end. Ouch. I talked to her afterwards and she told me that she totally bonked big time and after we dropped her she had to ride by herself and it was super miserable. I am sure it was. Pure thing.
I was covered with mud from head to toe. I have mud in ears, hair, mouth and when I took the sunglasses off the area around the eyes was the only area not covered with mud. Also bike was in a horrible condition. They had a hose there so I somehow cleaned it but it is still not perfect. I need to clean it before I return it. I also hosen myself because it was ridiculous. I have never seen that much mud on myself.
So I won the race, but there were not that many women. I think that my time was around 2:16, but I am not sure about that because then they said 2:06. They had some mess up with results because it was not chip timed, they did it by numbers and they could not see our numbers because they were covered with mud. I need to check out the results online to see how I did overall. Because of the mess up with numbers they announced the girl as a winner but we sorted it out because she knew that I was way ahead of her. Prices were cool: $50 gift certificate to a bike store (what am I going to do with all those gift certificates), one week of free Coldstone ice-cream, beer boot (???), Giant bike pump and a huge very nice growler of beer (which I gave to that guy who invited me to the race next week because I do not drink beer). Coldstone, Giant and some kind of beer brewery were sponsors thus the prizes. I also won one prime, 40 bucks. So at least some money!
And I did not win ice-cream eating competition:( Only managed to gulp ice cream worth 2100 calories in 10min. My mouth and brain are still frozen. The guy who won was incredible. I have not finished the first bowl and he already ate 3!!!
I need a nap now. I am wiped out. Seriously, mountain bikers are crazy (and hot).