Suffering. Pain. Anguish. And For What?

I didn't know how the Draper race would go, but I had hopes I'd ride strong. But I got the first warning signs of trouble going up the first single-track climb. My heart rate was high, breathing heavy, and I felt like I was suffering more than I should be - even with the pace not really high because I was behind a line of other racers. Last year this section was almost restful in the line of riders. This year I was working too hard for this easy section. And it didn't get better.

And most of the field of Sport 40+ was ahead of me. Way ahead.

On the long climb up the dirt road I just had no zip. And when the pitch kicked up a bit, I dropped from the middle to the little ring. Shameful, but I just couldn't crank the middle ring today. Last year I could. But I did pass a few other racers. And snaked a few guys to get onto Clark's ahead of them.

Flying down Clark's was fun. The bike handled well and I rode fast, for me. It's such a good trail to descend it's nearly impossible not to enjoy it.

But then it was the BST section with it's rolling nastiness. It's not really nasty, it just tends to chew me up. I actually did OK in this section.

I flew down Spring Hollow and felt good on this downhill too. And even motoring along Highland I felt OK.

The half lap was not too bad. I was warmed up now and actually felt a bit better climbing. But I wasn't fast, by any means. The BST and Spring Hollow went about the same as the first lap, just a bit slower. Here I am finishing.

I finished down in the bottom third of the field - 14th of 19 racers.

It doesn't sound like a bad race, but it was for me. I felt like I just couldn't go fast. I was working hard, mentally trying to push - but it just wasn't happening. It's one thing to suffer to go fast, but I felt like I was suffering more than last year's race, but going slower. That bugged me.

The course was OK, but there were some annoying moments when I couldn't get around people or they bailed on climbs and forced me to bail too.

And my mouth was dry, cotton-mouthed and coated with mucus / loogie the whole race. I'd drink and spit. And my nose was running. And of course sweat running down into the mix too. I felt gross. I blocked most of this out to keep focused on going fast, which I wasn't, but it was just another thing that made me feel icky about this race.

Then after the race I'm hacking and coughing.

In short, this race pissed me off. I'm not fast right now, yet I pay money to prove that to myself. Stupid. I'm done racing for a while. It's just not doing much for me. I'm going to ride for fun and forget about racing for a while.

Update: I wrote the above last night after the race. I've mellowed a bit this morning, but I'm still committed to laying off racing for a while, except for the MTB biathlon coming up next week at Soldier Hollow that I really enjoyed last year.

A good part of the evening was talking to so many mountain biking friends. Of course it's always fun to hang with my UMB teammates. And as I walked to and fro I talked with a lot of people. Even the quick greeting is pleasant, and having a little conversation even better. Lot's of good people in mountain biking.

I could also appreciate the victories of others. Brad and Tasha (husband and wife) took 1st place in their categories. Elden raced Sport 40+ on his single-speed and placed 5th (thanks for checking my body fat as you passed). And my dear wife came in 4th (may have held onto 3rd if not for 2 crashes).

So it wasn't all bitterness. I just wasn't happy with how poorly I performed.

My mind has been on some local trails I want to explore. And I want to hit the Alpine Loop again while the gates are closed.

Update 2: My productivity is taking a hit because of the day-after-race fatigue. I'm sleepy and want a nap badly. Maybe weekday races aren't for me.

Update 3: I keep looking at race photos and finding good ones of myself and Jolene, but I think I'm done now.


Eat Sleep MTB said...

Easy on yourself, you don't spin much (any?) and there have not been a lot of good days to ride this year. In fact I think this was the warmest day I have ridden since September 2007. Get out and enjoy some warm rides for a while!

I am Matt said...

You sound like another candidate for the Rec-Riders Group. Congrats on finishing. Was there any bbq's going on in bbq alley?

UtRider said...

Come on man, you know that upon waking this morning you were absolutely thrilled to have raced last night! Ok, maybe not. But still, just think that if I hadn't gotten sick, and had lined up 2 minutes ahead of your group, you would have at least passed me. I apologize for depriving you of that pleasure.

Epic Adam said...

I think half the reason I go to the ICUP races is to see friends. The racing itself is just a reason to get together. I still push, and try and do my best. But the real motivation is being with a bunch of good folks.

I'd suggest coming out to the Wed. night series. It's cheaper, shorter, and really casual. But everyone still pushes and races and has a great time.

Jonathan said...

Kris - If it makes you feel any better I felt the exact same way last night. I told my buddies that I was pretty sure I ride this course faster when we are out for a Saturday morning stroll. Not sure what was in the air last night but it made for a tough night.

StupidBike said...

The weather makes me sleepy, but then again, I love sleep.

One of hardest struggles a person can have is the "why do i race" which is related to the 'what does a result mean to me'

For me, I race as you said, for the people, the community, which is the same reason I take so much time leading a team. I also like to push my self to my limits.

winning is fun, and rare, if you move up when appropriate:) I would still do it and have as much fun whether I can in first or last.

I am not sure if my fast comes out to play on a weekday though.

It was good seeing you, and I witnessed one of the dismounts that made you dismount last night.

primetime formerly known as slyfox said...

you describe the feeling i had much too often and dont like it just as much as you dont. for the few races i felt like superman there were 20 that i felt like you described. its not fun when that happens. as you know. lappers, no watts, pushing and going slow. it happens to everyone. i always wonder how the fast pros deal with it. like some weeks you see jhk and trebon crush and other weeks they get top 50. i wonder how they feel about it?

KanyonKris said...

Fox, you've been in the racing game a long time so I appreciate your comments.

Good question, how do the pros view and deal with the highs and lows? Maybe the 1 out of XX races when they are on fire is worth it. Maybe the pain of the bad races makes the few good ones sweeter.

Whatever the case, I don't have the passion for racing to get hammered like that race after race. So I hit a few each season to remind me what it's like and force me to peg my own little watt meter to see what I can (and can't) do. If I didn't get so much enjoyment just riding my bike for fun I might race more.