A friend of mine, Jason Grantz, has been focusing on the definition of words for the past couple weeks. I’m going to utilize this idea and sum up how I feel the day after 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
broken |ˈbrōkən| past participle of break
1 having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order : a broken arm.
• rejected, defeated, or despairing : he went to his grave a broken man | a broken heart.
• sick or weakened : broken health.
• (of a relationship) ended, typically by betrayal or faithlessness : a broken marriage.
• disrupted or divided : broken families.
• (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
2 having gaps or intervals that break a continuity : a broken white line across the road.
• spoken haltingly, as if overcome by emotion : he whispered in a broken voice.
The trail was amazing, the berms were buff, the climbs had traction and even the first lap wasn’t too muddy.The temperature ended up being around 70º in Wilkesboro, NC.
The pit crew, as always, was extraordinary. Kimberlee and Shelley were always there for food, smiles and a good kick in the butt.
Our pit mates, the guys from Luna Cycles, Dale and Robbie, and of course Darby.
The weather was perfect, a bit chilly in the morning ending up around 75 in the afternoon.
The other racers, encouraging, helpful, inspiring.
My teammate, Melissa. Always smiling and optimistic. Even when my last lap took twice as long as it should and we ended in last place.
The sweet lady next to our pits that recognized me as Bike Shop Girl and even stopped as I was suffering after the race to say she enjoyed my writing.
A flat tire at mile 5 on my second lap.
Losing tons of electrolytes and only having water on my back.
Walking a ton on that second lap.
The feeling of competitors passing you and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, wtf happened?
Somewhere between the start of lap one, and the middle of lap two my bottom bracket started to seize up. Hills that I was able to spin up in a middle gear on my cassette I was grinding up in my easiest cog. My multi-tool didn’t have a 2.5mm allen wrench on it to back out the adjustable ring on the SRAM X-9 cranks.
The feeling when you realize why you are sucking is between happiness and a stupid sick gut wrenching. Especially when you realize you can’t fix the thing. I knew I had 5 miles more to go, and most of it was up hill. It got to a point that I was simply hoping that I would get through before 5pm for my lap to count.
For the rest of the lap I pushed, grinded, walked, tried to smile and hoped the miles would tick by. My knees ached from trying to climb the hills with my cranks not spinning freely, my stomach hurt and at times I hit hyperventilation in frustration and pain.
A couple days later I feel better. My knees still hurt, and my brain is rather screwed up from the event. Who knows if I could have done something differently. Maybe check over my bike better between laps. Maybe tell PF30 bottom brackets to kiss my ass.
I feel badly for letting down my team. I feel badly about many things. At the end of the day it is only a race, but to look forward to something for a complete year and it to end this way is a horrible feeling.
April 6, 2011 – Now I remember why I don’t race any more – you have to get up too dang early. But I’m up and on my way to N. Wilkesboro, NC for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek to race in the female duo category with my awesome partner, Arleigh Jenkins (brainchild of em:pwr cycling) and my “pit crew” Shelley with me. It’s supposed to be a beautiful Saturday for racing, albeit a little windy, even though it rained earlier in the week things should have dried up nicely.
Little did we know an isolated storm sitting right on top of Warrior Creek dumped rain on the course Friday night. We arrive to a soupy, soggy, greasy 13 mile trail. It was agreed Arleigh would do the first lap since I did the first one last year – that’s only fair, right? After her pre-lap I think Arleigh was trying to come up with any way to get me to do the first lap but she sucked up and went out there with 300 other brave souls to sling some mud around. When the first of the racer boys started hitting the start/finish line we could tell it wasn’t pretty out there – their backs were slathered in mud as were their entire bikes – not good! Several people even stopped and turned in their timing chip after one lap – the mighty mud had worn them out and they couldn’t return for lap two (they really should have stuck it out, more on that later). Riders continue to cross the finish line while I’m trying to warm up and psyche myself up to have a very slow, safe lap – no need to kill myself out there.
Arleigh comes through and collapses on the ground – mind you she is riding a rigid SS over 13 miles of up and down soupy mess – covered in mud. I take off and hit the woods and the ground is dry, not a puddle in sight. I’m thinking – what were they talking about, it’s not nasty out here, the trail is in excellent shape. I hear others on the trail who had already done one lap speak out loud in amazement at the difference in the trail from the first lap – unbelievable they say. I guess 300 riders on the trail will dry it up real quick. I continue my ride – enjoying the fact I don’t have mud hitting me in the face and I’m not sliding down the wet berms. I finish my lap and make it back to the pits to find Arleigh in street clothes – I had said before I went out that she didn’t need to do another lap since we were just out there to have fun – and she obviously didn’t have a problem with that.
That was the end of our day – we sat at the start/finish line, ate BBQ chicken and pork, gelato and watched our friends keep going round and round. We did two laps and came in 3rd – can’t beat that!
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
- Tire selection
- Gear selection
- Lack of riding in the mountains
- Lack of gears
- Lack of suspension
- Lack of pre-riding the course
- Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!