Sunday, May 18, 2008

My first downhill mountain bike race?! WooHoo!

That Mudslinger about did me in! Well, let's be honest. It probably wasn't really the race. I was probably already coming down with 'sick' during the race, which would explain both why I could barely haul my sorry butt to the Mudslinger finish line, and how I managed to be totally sick by the time I woke up the next morning.

"But surely", I thought, "I'll be in fine shape for the Spring Thaw, a full two weeks after the Mudslinger". Even a week after the Mudslinger, when I was still sick, I was optomistic. Which explains why I pre-registered for a 20 mile XC race, while coughing up a lung, less than a week before the race.

I finally got out for a ride a couple of days before the Thaw, first ride since the Mudslinger, and suffered. Badly. I was feeling defeated and thinking about sitting out the whole event, when Gregg suggested that the race organizer might let me bump down to the 9 mile Beginner course. 9 miles? No problem. I could be throwing up the whole way and still make it 9 miles, and this is just a bunch of pesky congestion in the lungs. It was my lucky day ... they let me bump down to Beginner! Well it wasn't really a tough argument to make. I mean, let's face it, I am a beginner!

Race day was good. The weather was excellent! The climb at the beginning of the course was a little rough for me ... and I was very happy that I'd decided to do only half of the climb! I had legs to spare, but my heart blew up pretty quickly, and I watched a TON of people pass me up the hill. I was a little happier (practically giddy, actually) going downhill, when I was finally able to gain back a place or two. I missed a lot of the singletrack by deciding to do the shorter beginner route, but I had a couple of minutes of fast swoopy fun. I've got to get my heart into shape to be a lot more efficient. Hopefully that'll come with hours and miles on the saddle.

While I was suffering with the climb I noticed several Black Sheep jerseys passing me. I love them! And I want one. I normally hate jerseys. They're not made for people with hips. No, most of the "women's" jerseys don't account for hips either. So the jersey ends up popping up over my hips while I ride and bunching around my waist. Totally useless and uncomfortable. But I used to LOVE hanging out at the Black Sheep with friends when I was living down there. And I like the design of the logo. I may actually pay $$ to wear their jersey. Of course I'll still have to get it altered to fit the way I want, but I like this jersey well enough to make it work.

Gregg had to leave after the XC race so that he could be back at work in Corvallis the next morning. I really wanted to stay over in Ashland for another day. So I swapped places with another local. Gregg drove home with him, and I stayed over for another night to catch a ride back with Melissa.

Melissa has decided this year to do a race in every discipline. So, with very little offroad experience, and a borrowed bike, she was doing the XC on Saturday, and the downhill race on Sunday! Well if she's willing to do it, surely I can too.

I had no idea what to expect with the DH race. I've never seen one, so everything about the event was new to me. I absolutely loved everything about it. And since there were only two women in my category, I even placed on the podium! 2nd = last. Hey, I'll take it. I learned a few things, talked to a bunch of people (everyone there was exceedingly cool), won some cool stuff, and just had a blast. I'd super, duper love to have a full suspension bike. I don't honestly think it would have done much to make me faster, but it would have been fun.

Here are a few pictures of the event.


Me warming up on the DH course

And for a couple more of Gregg, you might need to go here first, and then you'll be able to see: More Gregg, and Gregg Again


MTB Man said...

Sounds like fun! Cool pics!

Stephanie said...

It totally was! I wasn't especially good at either the DH or the XC race, but I had a great time. And that's really the most important thing. Ashland's a great little town, and they put on a great event. I'd like to make this event a tradition.