I hesitate to write this so soon after a mountain bike race for fear that it will turn into a race report (not the point of this blog), but the sentiment is so strong in the moment that I’m gonna write anyway.
Today was the Tidewater Challenge down in Toano, Virginia, and it is always a tough race. I like to describe it as a rooty roller coaster on the bike. One lap is 4 miles and no joke: lots up quick ups and downs, nowhere to rest really, only a couple places to eat/drink. At least the fun jumps made up for the not-so-fun, rattle-your-brains-out sections.
Sport women and 45+ women
Anyway, the point is PERSEVERANCE. The sport women category (cat2 or intermediate level in case you’re wondering what a “sport woman” is) had to do 4 laps. Each one was a struggle. My legs had no pizzazz, and I was just plain tired. Somehow it slipped my mind that I might still be wrecked from last weekend’s all-night adventure ride of 130 miles and 8-9k ft elevation. Recovery? What’s that?
So, very soon into the race I was sitting in solid 3rd, aka DFL* since there were only three sport women at this race. At least one or two times I was tempted to call it a day and quit early. But, as an obsessive endurance athlete, I don’t like to quit unless I’m on death’s door, so I just kept chugging along. In my mind DFL>DNF** and “Death before DNF.”
I unrealistically entertained the hope that maybe the other riders had gone out too fast and would blow up, or that I would somehow get more warmed up and start riding better. Neither of those things happened, but something else did: a mechanical miracle (for me anyway) – 2nd place broke her chain in the last lap, which made her a DNF and put me in 2nd instead. Yay, one step up on the podium!
Even though I didn’t feel like I was riding my best, I still kept at it and didn’t give up, and that’s what I’m getting at. Perseverance. You never know what’s going to happen in a bike race. Of course there’s a time to know when you’re beaten – like if I had broken my chain, I probably would’ve been done too. But I guess my point is don’t give up easily. Rise to the challenge and keep at it.
*DFL = dead fucking last
**DNF = did not finish