I have to admit I was not especially psyched for the Dirty Spokes Tribble Mill race during the week beforehand. I was having a mid-season, mid-summer slump last week and was coming up with all kinds of reasons not to go. Some of them were even good reasons, like the fact that it was in a tiny city park in the Atlanta suburbs, a three and a half hour drive away with no camping nearby. Also I did not feel like killing myself to do laps on what would be a very boring but very fast course. The only reasons I could think of to go were all kind of lame, like that I had already registered.
Beforehand Aaron had said that since I didn't want to race this weekend I shouldn't race, instead just relax and have a beer. When an honest-to-god National Champion tells you to drink a beer, you should probably listen, but I didn't and went to the race. I ended up splitting the difference, I raced for half the race; then didn't race, drank a beer and relaxed for the other half of the race.
On the starting line I tried to get kind of psyched for the race and partway succeeded. There was a really large field in my category including some really fast people. The start of the course included some climbing before the real singletrack, so I hammered up it and was able to miss any early traffic jams. The trail was definitely fast and I ended up being the first woman through the first lap. I was also starting to feel kind of nauseous by the end of that lap though. Some combination of heat, humidity, speed, and eating gummy worms as the main course for dinner the night before was starting to get to me.
Loretta caught me in the middle of the second lap, and I kept pace behind her. Kristen caught up with us soon after. I've raced with Kristen before and know she's a hammer just like Loretta. I figured the fast course would favor them since they ride a lot more XC than I do, but I might make up for it on endurance if I could manage to get my nausea under control. The three of us blew through the pits together to start the third lap.
Loretta said something about feeling a cramp coming on, and maybe having to slow down. Yay! Ten minutes later, I was thinking hey Loretta, how about that cramp you were mentioning? how's it feeling? remember that whole slowing down thing? when do you think that might happen? Ten minutes after that I took a bad line and a 30-second gap opened between me and them. I started the fourth lap easy to see if I could settle my stomach but was not optimistic. A housecat was on the trail and was probably the last straw. I started thinking about how on my last three long rides I'd seen bears on beautiful deep-woods trails, and now here I was wasting a Saturday in housecat territory in the suburbs.
Back at the pits I sat down and ate some bagel, trying to psych myself up to grind out more laps instead of opening the cooler and cracking open a beer. Jamie cruised into the pit and when he said he was done for the day I knew I wasn't going to go back out either. We both sat down and before long had successfully completed a couple hours of high-quality Not Racing.
I think the main problem all day was that I just wasn't all that motivated to race either before or during it. (Also I should have eaten some watermelon during the race?-- apparently that would have been key to success. Next time.) It was fun to get spanked by Loretta for a while though. By just dropping out of this race entirely instead of gutting it out for 3 more hours I think I probably wrecked my chance of finishing in the top three for the series, and reaping all the heaps of glory I would no doubt get from that.
Oh well... that's enough lap races for now, especially on trails like Tribble Mill. Looking forward to the big-loop races I have on the horizon.