For better or for worse…

It’s been about a week since my last race: MFG’s Nine2Five, an 8 hour race that Jared and I did as a duo. Quick race report: We showed up the morning of the race, since we both had to work the day before, and so our first laps were sight unseen trail. On my first lap, I was nervous and worried. Dense green shrubs lingered over the trail; it seemed like they were trying to nip at my newly healed skin on my elbow. The last thing I wanted was to reopen my wound….or to crash and make new ones.

After my first lap, I worked on trying to mentally regroup. Now I knew the trail–I knew where to hammer and where to recover. And, I slapped a big band-aid over my elbow. It wouldn’t do any good in the event of a crash, but it buoyed my confidence and I thought of it as a symbolic suit of armor. It’s silly, really. But consequently, my next lap was my fastest!

As I re-warmed up for my third lap, I was rolling on some pavement and heard a distinct, “pfff…pfff…pfff…pfff” with every wheel revolution. I spotted a pin hole near the tread, so I spun and spun and spun the wheel. It still wouldn’t seal, so I took the wheel off and shook and shook and shook. I was running out of time, so I put some air in it, went to the transition zone, and hoped for the best.

Upon my return, I immediately went to assess the tire. I had lost air and continued to lose more out of this tiny pin hole. C’mon Stan’s (sealant)! What gives?!?!!? I popped one side of the bead off, and wha’d’ya know??? No sealant. Not even a Stan’s alien blob. Nothing. Nada. We had sealant with us so I put some in and used my only CO2 to reseed the tire. Boom. Done. Ready to go.

We had a great race. The co-ed duo teams that came in first and second were strong. The gap between us and them opened a bit more each lap. BUT, we continued to fight. You just never know. We were over 10 minutes back, but a mechanical or crash could turn the tables. In the end, we put in 6 laps each, for a total of 12. Only a handful of teams racked up this many.  It was a successful race for us!

Next up….Leadville. Yikes. Now I’m an official flatlander. The race starts at 10,000 ft and only goes higher. I think back to my mountaineering days on Aconcagua and in the Cordillera Blanca. I was successful in the mountains because I always took the proper time to acclimatize. I do not have that luxury this time. I must rely on the training I have done this season and, even more so, grit. I remember the slow, deliberate, and exhausting rest steps that got me up mountains. Ever so methodically plodding onward. I must commit to the same on my bike. Dizziness, nausea, and fatigue aside. Turn the pedals….turn, turn, turn, turn. For better or for worse, I have committed to this race. For better or for worse, I will cross that damn finish line.



Me on Chopicalqui, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, 2001.


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