In just a week, I’ll be taking the start line for the NW Epic Series Capitol Forest 100 mile mountain bike race. I’m struggling with the usual pre-race emotions of self doubt and trepidation. I don’t feel like I’m where I want to be or should be in terms of my fitness or training. With temps expected to soar into the 90s, I worry that no matter what, my nutrition strategy for a 10+ hour race will be wrong. Deep suffering is inevitable.
These are the same feelings I had prior to last year’s Leadville 100. At this point, just a week before a big race, I am helpless. At this point, there is nothing I can do to improve my fitness. I can only keep limber and hydrated, and hope I can deliver on race day.
I try to convince myself that this race is just a primer, to get things figured out for next month’s High Cascade 100 in Bend, OR, in what I expect will also be scorching hot and dusty conditions. But damn, did I have to pick the 100 miler? Why not “just” 50 miles?
It’s times like these that I really wonder why I do this. It’s not competition. In this next Capitol Forest race, there are currently only two women in my category signed up (one of them is me). It’s not prize money (there isn’t any). The closest I can figure is that it’s just something about finding what my limits are, and then pushing just beyond them. I sought that same feeling when I used to rock climb and mountaineer. Now, I find it in bike racing. But, why do I really “like” this? Shit, I don’t know.
The problem with these long 100 milers, is that training is paramount. But amidst stresses of work and the busy-ness of life, I sometimes drift away from the required rigor. This past month, I spent less time on hill repeats and long endurance rides, and just got out to have fun. I took my new downhill rig to Whistler to play on the steep and technical descents (and got to the top via chairlift; no pedaling!). Then there was the awesome Sturdy Dirty all women’s enduro race at Tiger Mountain. This fun may come at the expense of success for my upcoming races. But I hope feeding my soul with some of these fun adventures will fuel my mental strength…. It might be wishful thinking. I’ll let you know!
Here are some photos from the recent Sturdy Dirty Enduro race.