Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You’re gonna do what?

It was bound to happen. I have been riding bikes long enough that sooner or later, it was going to happen…the racing bug has bitten. I have been around enough cyclists and in the saddle long enough that I want to race. I talked about racing two years ago only to quickly talk myself out of it for fear of utter humiliation. Wait! I am not a shy person! Why did I do that? Maybe it was because I did not have enough money to pay the registration fees…that sounds more like it.

With the realization that I will be racing, comes the reality that I have to face some challenges…

1. I am 33-years old. There are racers out there that have done it since birth (you have to have pity on their mothers) or from the moment their leg muscles developed. My legs are only 3-years into it. I raced BMX in my teens but I was under my parents health plan which afforded me more resiliency and bravery to try erratic maneuvers. Now, I pay my own premiums, I have deductibles and my bones are more brittle. Casts would have to be set for 8-10 weeks instead of 4-6. Part of racing at my age is also being fluent in my own body language. I need sleep, recovery food, regular hydration. Unlike my teen years where I could go for 2-days on a box of Cheese-Its and a 2-litre of Coke, I now need a more mature schedule and diet. I require a bed on a regular basis.

2. My height. Not only do I want to race, but I want to race cross. Stop staring at the screen. Yes, I want to race cross and right now you are recalling that I am barely 5’2”…and that my inseam is roughly 24.65”…and you are picturing the barriers…and then me attempting to hop the barrier with a bike on my shoulder. I have looked into leg lengthening surgery but it is costly, painful, and S-T-U-P-I-D. However, my height and weight in a sandpit is ideal…I am not sinking down anywhere and if I am toting a carbon bike…I will barely leave a footprint.

3. My gender: I am a girl. I am a girl who wants to race. The starting line for females at cross races are missing ONE THING…MORE RIDERS. Not a lot of women want to race and in this area, there are very few. The ones who do race are pretty good. This is intimidating. Girls are mean on and off the bike. I am not too shy but utter humiliation is generally NOT what I strive for. I am going to face plant, wreck and wrench my body in front of everyone.

There are some things working on my favor though…

1. I have a good team (Bob's Red Mill, yes, the baking mix). I have a team mixed with quality racers of all ages. They have good intentions (AKA: Win). They are quality riders. Although, I am not sure what to do with 50lbs of products that we will receive. How many muffins is that really?

2. I am competitive. Without a doubt, put me in a sports situation, and I am a competitive, 5’2” beast (can a 5’2” chick really be a beast? Probably not…but I would like to think so. However, I am more like that gnat in your face than a weight on your back). I will have no problems elbowing my way to the front. I am not afraid of crashing. Years on the mountain bike make this a certainty but most of the time after a fall, you pick yourself back up and get right back on. Less skin=less weight= better performance (not a proven formula, FYI).

3. I am a much stronger rider now. Compared to 3-years ago, I am much stronger and focused on proper riding. I prefer long rides...I love to climb and as a result, I have endurance.

4. Did I mention I am competitive? Yes, I did, see above.

5. I will be coordinated. Our kits will be coordinated and that does matter on the course. If you fall, you want to look good doing it.

As if all of these things were not factors to consider, then consider the added stress that the boyfriend races and has since birth (yes, he is one of those riders), so besides overcoming my physical/ mental deficits, I also have to worry about not completely embarrassing myself in front of the boyfriend. Sure, I am secure at 33, but I am still a girl who wants to impress her boyfriend and who wants to eat a face full of sand in front of their significant other with cameras looking on? No one, but it will happen.

Other than those things I mentioned, I only have a few things I have to do to get ready which include (1) purchase a cross bike that fits, (2) learn to ride the cross bike, (3) learn to race the cross bike, (4) race the cross bike. Other than those FEW things, I am ready. Well, in my head I am ready and sometimes things in my head do not turn out as I pictured them in reality. Either way, I will have 50lbs of baking mix to make enough muffins for a quality Fall season of racing.

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