After a couple of days of saving the world one crayfish at a time (more on this later) I decided to make the journey to MD with the intention to race. This would be my first XC race in a long time and my first XC race racing gearies on a SS in a really long time.
It all came back to me at the start. That experience of racing the gearies on a SS. The start with the very long flattish road until the singletrack. I tried to draft and hang on as long as possible but it wasn't happening. After the first dip I was shot off the back. I thought I was alone and then I saw out of the corner of my eye another person spinning like she had no chain...yes...there was another one. We looked at each other and laughed as the dust cloud pulled away from us. As soon as I turned down the road I could see a bunch of riders turning into the singletrack. I felt a little better about myself. Once I turned into the singletrack I was back on a pack of riders. Thank goodness.
I got into the rhythm and started to pick people off. Come mile 18 I could feel them coming. I didn't drink as much as a should have. Then I was a spaz and dropped a bottle. First hot one for me + intensity I'm not used to + tall gearing= CRAMPS. Not just in my legs. My triceps were cramping. That was a new sensation. I had about 25 minutes of forced back off. I had to walk stupid shit. I worked through it and then was able to pick it up again. Albeit it was too late, but I didn't come across the line totally defeated. This was a brand new experience for me at the end of a MASS race. Historically, they have ended with me pissy and traumatized, feeling deathly ill, quitting, becoming a chicken farmer, selling bikes, going back to beginner. The usual. This one ended with a smile.
Onto the cray fish...
Friday night it was pouring. Biblical rains. I turned down our road and noticed something scurrying across the road. Not one of the usual creatures that scurries across our road--bear, raccoon, coyote, cat, deer. I pulled up beside this creature and it got all pissy and defensive and and told me it was going to kick my ass. I got out and scooped it into a bag. I ran up to the house and came back down to the car to get the cranky bastard who owed me for not leaving him to be crushed on our street only to find another one by our mail box. Huh. Scooped him up too and threw him in the bag. I walked down to the creek and let them go. The next morning I got up early to go get milk and was driving down our road I saw another one cruising up my neighbor's driveway. Grabbed him too and took him back to the creek. They're probably pissed because I interrupted some cray fish mass suicide or something.