5/30, really bad race day. I arrived to the race venue slightly late. After registration I started warmup with a few little sprints on pavement, then moved on to the singletrack. Lots of sand, and really fast course.
Standing in line before the start, I stretched legs, did a few squats and made sure the bike is in right gear for the fast start. Juniors started at 9.03, we went off one minute later.
Just before the singletrack I was 4th in position, but I sprinted into 2nd. Then we started gaining speed, passing slow Juniors. The course was flat, I was not working too hard, remembering to pace myself. The first 5 miles the race went rather well. I followed Wade from the team, and this was fun.
Then I overbaked a turn, and fell really hard on my right hip. After a few minutes of pain and misery, I crawled back to the bike, and started pedalling. I was passed by almost everyone, except for the slowest Juniors. I was actually riding with left leg only, the right leg refused to act.
At the lap I was asked whether I need a medic. I said “yes”, then I thought and said, “no, dammit, I am going on for 2 laps.” Well, maybe thinking was not involved there.
The second was horribly painful, but I sort of passed a few kids and women 🙂 At the lap gate I decided to go for another lap.
Then my bike decided that I need a rest. The next thing I knew was that I was standing in a side of a trail, trying to pull the chain out of the rear wheel. Somehow the chain has been pushed in between the cassette and the hub flange, twisted ninety degrees and stuck there. After five minutes of trying to pull the chain the old way, I unfastened the chain (yay to PowerLinks) to two parts, pulled as hard as I can while standing on the frame, and bingo – the chain was free. I fastened the chain into whole (yay again to PowerLinks), and resumed the race.
The universe was made of pain.
When I was closing to the lap, I heard some people talking behind my back. I was sure these were faster riders that lapped me, so I pulled to the side.
– “Are you racing? You are so slow…” one of those riders asked.
– “Yes” I muttered,
– “Don’t pay attention to us, go ahead! This is the last climb, it’s all downhill from here! Relax, and push” – the rider cheered me.
Push push push push push, damn. When I passed the lap gate, I almost fell from the bike.
That was one painful race.