Race Report – Pfirecracker MTB: Marathon

T’was a bright, sunny, hot day when we lined up earlyish in the morning of July 14th for the Pfirecracker MTB Race.

I wasn’t really sure how I was feeling, as I had just done my 2nd Dirt Crit of the season two days before and that was a rude awakening for my body which had been on training hiatus for the first half of 2012.

I felt a little queasy as I saw Jamie and Jackie, as I knew Jamie was wicked fast and that Jackie rides a ton and I do not.

I knew I could finish the race, but I wanted to also do well because who doesn’t, right?

Then there was Trish, from Walt’s Bikes.  I had no idea if she was strong or not because she is not a local, so I had to tell myself that she was and just prepare myself to push myself out of my comfort zone to get on the podium.

With a small field, I aimed for 2nd…because I still do that to myself and as my littlest has told me with her infinite wisdom, “Maybe you are just afraid to win, mama…”

She has a point, really.

That stems from my first year of racing when I would just blow myself up and have little or nothing left to finish and I would just go backwards in any given race.

I learned to play it safe (and dull) and rarely take risks.

In 2010, I started taking risks more and more and started to trust myself.

In 2011, I stopped taking risks because my head was a mess and I wasn’t focused enough to take risks, so I played it safe and raced at about 70% in 99% of my races.

Lame.

Sadder was that I wasn’t putting in a whole lot of effort and I wasn’t completely sucking, which only made me feel worse…and increasingly more complacent.

I watched the people around me training like maniacs and they were not having fun in their races…and since I am all about fun or go home, I opted to have fun.

So, I did that instead of training.  It was a very odd season…but not bad, just odd.

The times I DNF’d in 2011 were very different from any other year; in 2011 I actually left races out of boredom a few times and one time out of sheer stupidity/brilliance with wet, frozen fingers and shoes and walking pneumonia.

I puked up something next to my car that still has my teammate Chris scratching his head.

So, when the whistle blew at the Pfirecracker, I was sort of in a philosophical mood and more chill than one should be at the start of a race…especially when they still want/hope to beat two other people.

When we started up Love, Jackie, Trish, and I were all together.

Jackie was pacing us up the single-track and I was fine to chill and let her do her thing.  I like Jackie.

Unfortunately, the Cat 3 Men caught us and at some point we had to either haul ass or let them pass.

We let them pass because 3 hours in the heat is a long time and they only had 2 cute laps.  Have at it, boys.

During the pass, Trish got in between Jackie and I and just like that, it was game on.

I raised my eyebrow at the move and thought to myself, “Well played, Trish.  Well.  Played.”

As we crested the top and turned onto the fire road toward Roller Coaster, the cx girl in me whom has been on a giant nap kicked in.

I love ya ladies, but I just remembered this is a race and I called dibs on 2nd.

I spun up and added the gears, TT’ing my way to Roller Coaster, where I dropped in and added some more.

Roller Coaster is one of my favorite fun trails (and I think I said this in last year’s race report too).

It is a trail on which I oft train on my cx bike, and I know it better than the back of my hand, because really, who the hell stares at the back of their hands?!?!

I knew Jackie knows this trail just as well and hoped she would drop Trish (no offense Trish, but I gotta cheer the locals) and take 3rd.

I bombed down Grotpeter as if I was fearless while simultaneously singing lullabies to by raging fears of turning into Wrecky McWreckerson and losing body parts/skin while hugging trees and rocks alike.

I love and hate this trail, and was amused each lap as Don yelled out “Catch some air!” as he snapped photos of the racers.

Yeah.  Sure.  Right.  AIR.  Me.

The only thing I catch is ground and that is not always with the rubber, so no thanks.

Everything went as planned and I stayed in position until 2 hrs into the race when the Cat 1, Cat 2, and SS races started.

I pulled aside on Love to allow the Cat 1 racers to pass and got back at it.

At exactly the wrong moment, I heard a familiar voice of one of the SS racers (who shall remain nameless because he knows).

He was *right there* all of a sudden on my wheel and knowing how he hates to lose, I pulled immediately over even though it was an awful spot…and down I went.

“FUCK!”

He stopped and asked if I was OK and I told him to ride on.  I was pretty sure if he didn’t ride on, I was going to say more bleepy words and one of us would cry.

So I said nothing…but then more racers were coming and I moved over.

That is when Trish caught and passed me.

DAMMIT! (I totally said that in my head!)

I then rode for like a minute before the Cat 2 racers were there.

I pulled way over and a little up the side to give them clearance and can admit that I was mentally cussing that SS racer before deciding that said negativity was only going to screw me further and that ultimately, I could recover and had no one to blame or credit for what I did after that little wreck except myself.

I thought about finishing 3rd on my home turf and put on my “Hell to the NO!” hat and added gears like a maniac.

I climbed my way out of Love, all the while fearing that that move may screw me later in the race, but I needed to catch her.

I time trialed my ass on that fire road like woman possessed.

I caught her right as we dropped onto Roller Coaster and actively smiled.

I said nothing.

I stayed with her and watched.

She was climbing out of the saddle, so I hoped she was getting tired; I was not…yet.

I’m pretty sure that was just the adrenaline telling me that.

As we hit the jagged rocks, she pulled over and allowed me to pass.

I asked if she was OK and she said she was…but that she may have a flat.

CRAP!

I slowed and asked her if she needed anything, realizing in my head that I had given my pump to another racer with a flat the previous lap and had no tube for her but also not wanting to beat her on a technical.

GRRRR!

She said she was good and I rode on now wondering if she had a flat and how far back Jackie was.

I decided I needed to race as if Trish was not flat and that Jackie was right there because frankly, either could be true and I wanted as much of a lead as possible so I could crawl up Love and save my legs on the final lap.

I did just that and as I descended Grotpeter for the final time and hit the false flat, I saw Trish.  Walking.  And I sighed sort of sadly.

We chatted a moment and she said she was OK but was indeed flat.

I told her she did a great job and that I was sorry that she didn’t get to race the full course.

I rolled in with a 2nd place and Jackie in 3rd.  Trish, because she did in fact complete the full lap, retained her 4th instead of a DNF and that made me happy.

I dropped onto my yoga mat and exhaled for the longest time.

I was pretty happy in general…and dirty.  Happy and dirty.  Who knew?

Jamie had gone out for another lap for training and I had to shake my head and smile; that girl is an effing machine.

We did the podium thing and off I went like a prom dress to get home to do my other thing that I love…

The mommy thing.

I walked in the door where Ty had set Sass up with her breakfast and smiled.

“Well…?” she asked.

“I got 2nd.”

She ran and gave me the biggest squeeze with a girly squeal and giggle and I swear to you, it was better than anything.

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