So, Sea Otter, Laguna Seca, my second bicycle race. I was in a “circuit race” on Friday and it was mayhem out there. At some point on the first lap, some chick’s handlebars rammed me in the butt. A girl yelled, “hey, be careful” and I wasn’t sure if it was directed at me or the bull in the china shop with the big brake hood. There were some accidental elbows between me and a very skinny, very strong climber with very short hair, but we were very polite about it while gasping for air. I was in pain, but happier than a pig in shit. Not a very classy analogy, I know, but thinking about that happy little pig makes me smile. I was that happy little pig.
On the second lap, I was briefly in second place behind Rebecca Rusch, a world champion mountain bike cross country racer many times over WHO HAPPENED to decide to road race today. IN MY CATEGORY 4 RACE. But anyway. I didn’t mean to be behind her, it just happened. It did not last.
The third lap I blew up. Honey badger cared. The fourth lap I fantasized about getting a flat tire. I really did. I was riding alone and will admit that I daydreamed about quitting. Just ending the pain. And it was pain. I saw my heart rate go up to 191, something I haven’t seen since I got off my couch and started riding a bicycle like it was my job. A couple women came along but they had bib numbers from a different class, maybe the fast old ladies (I’m an old lady too, just not as fast as those fast old ladies).
The fifth lap I had some chick on my wheel but she eventually gave up. Sixth lap I rode with my friend Shelagh, whose climbing skills I knew would eventually best my pack and descending skills. Elena Joroski, who went on to take 3rd in the 35+ Masters and had been gridded behind us, came along, jollied me up, and eventually took off. Last lap a big pack from a faster grid came along on the front straight and carried me to the finish line (which was actually just before turn 5). Seven laps of pure torture. Usually Laguna is fun. I mean, it was fun. But it hurt.
There were so many different classes, men and women, young and old, fast and slow, I had no idea where I finished. Turns out, timing and scoring doesn’t really know where I finished either because when I checked the results Friday, I was 16th of 26. Saturday, I was in 13th. Today, the results show me as finishing in tenth. I’m going to go with tenth.
Congrats to mountain bike friends Brianne, who won the Cat 2 women’s 19-29 MTB race, and Teresa, who got 4th! And congrats to James, who rode 96 miles and 5,600 feet yesterday in blazing Carmel Valley heat! I had fun providing rider support from my little scooter. I felt like the one little girl who had a balloon, everyone there looked super jealous of my motorized pit bike. And thanks to an awesome coach, Thomas Chapple. I am not a natural endurance athlete, but with his help I’m managing to do alright.