I was thinking WAY too much for my own good during this race. You can see it on my face!!
So I go from beautiful Florida to snow in Utah. It was expected but it is always a bit of a shock to the system when you go from 70 to 20 degrees.
Once I got to the race venue today I don't know what bee got in my bonnet or....er...um...helmet.... today, but I was a mental wreck when I saw the snow on the course. I totally freaked out. Seriously, I don't know why I was being so weird about it because it is plain and simple:
there was a race
it was snowing
there was ice on the course and
I had to race it
Pretty simple concept really so why was I FREAKING? Maybe I like my limbs and body very intact. Having an unscathed body is nice. Perhaps that was it.
Racing on ice is a bit unnerving hopefully for anyone so maybe I should give myself some credit here but good lord girl.....GET on your bike, ride it, race it and go home. Again a simple concept that I couldn't quite grasp.
Was it that I was still in the middle of wrapping up a 1000 things from my parents death now that I was back from our trip? Was it that I was inundated with things that aren't a normal part of ones life and I am learning how to cope with that? Was that it? Why was I not mentally ready for this race?!
I still don't know. All I know is that I had to accept the way I was feeling and deal with it the best way a so called pro knows how to.......hmmmm, yeah. I felt like I reverted back to when I first started racing and everything was scary to me because it was all so new. What the??
I wanted to leave. That is how I was feeling. I almost did but every last bit of me fought off that urge. My concern at this point was if I am not mentally in a good spot to be here and racing, then should I be? Am I putting myself even more in harms way by starting a race that I was skeptical of starting? Oh good lord! But if I left, what would that teach me? For me on that day, no good could come from leaving.
What a freaking struggle!! Well, struggle = my life this year so why stop fighting with my life now??? It is December after all which means that I have been dealing with crap happening with my parents for a full year now.
I am staying and I am starting dang it!!!!!!!!!!
I don't run away from things and I am not about to start now!! Plus, what doesn't kill me will make me stronger right?
So I started the race.
I conveniently (NOT!) started on the 2nd or 3rd row back. I think that was my subconscious ringing in on my hesitation of racing on the snowy and icy course.
And once the gun went off, I took forever and a day to get to the front of the group. Again, all hesitation. I was fighting with everything I had mentally (because you can't go that hard on snow and ice) to get to the front. Why was this so difficult I would ask myself. Just trust the bike - trust yourself!
Bam!! I eat crap on a icy corner. Land on my head facing backwards on course as everyone that I had just danced around to pass closes the gap again. I get back up completely fine and continue to daintily jockey my bike around the course, tip toeing through the corners and punching it on the straight aways. I needed to get to the front!!
But some of those straightaways has consequences. You hit the deck and slide and you are sliding off the path and down a ravine in some spots. Yeah, doesn't sound fun to me either but you had to punch it where you could otherwise you never would!
Still thinking far too much here in this pic. Just be, just DO!
I started taking more chances and gained confidence on the snowy course. I start to remind myself that I am not a complete tool and I do know what I am doing (how quickly we forget!).
Then swoosh I go WAY off the course and into the trees. So much for taking THAT chance. Whoops! I was ok, just had to go chase everyone down again.
I finally get to the front where Sara Kaufmann is having the race of her life leading the thing.
What it came down to in the end? Who made the least mistakes. And I guess that was me although I felt like a walking mistake from the moment I got to the venue.
What a weird day mentally. And physically too because you can't actually race at your race pace on this stuff- maybe in certain sections yes, but otherwise you had to be careful!
I am going to try and take away a positive thing from today which was that I did not give into my fear and it worked out.
What did I learn? That I can do it and that pushing through your fears can be a good thing!
And I got in some GREAT practice today too. Having to pass a lot of girls today will definitely be good for next weekend in Bend, OR at cross nationals. There I will start in 60th position (about 6 rows back) out of 90 plus women since I have no points and will need as many mad passing skills as I can get.
I heard it is snowy up there too. Am I scared?