Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Was Assassinated at the X-Trail Shootout!

What do you call a 40 year old woman careening down a steep slope at high speeds on a mountain bike? 

You call her an ambulance to take her to the insane asylum! The mid-life crisis has gone too far...

I was all prepared to enjoy a nice run today until a last minute change to my weekend training plan turned me into a registered athlete for the X-Trail Shoot-Out at Comite Park. If you are wondering what a "shoot-out" is, so was I as I was driving to it this morning. Apparently there are groups of mountain bikers who think riding as fast as you can on a 1 mile loop of treacherous trail is cause to compete with others of like mind. Each rider gets three attempts to ride the course for their best time, and that time is ranked against the other participants to determine the top three finishers.

You're Going Down, Canada
A mile sounded really small to me as I pulled in this morning. I mean really ~ I am used to riding 30+ miles on a regular basis. In fact, I rode 18 just yesterday morning. One mile? Sheesh. Please. I rode 6 on my mountain bike last weekend during an adventure race. No brainer. Hand me my trophy please.

For the sake of "playing along" we arrive early in order to take a few practice runs on the course. Canada has coerced me into this, but without too much resistance as I figure it will be good training for our adventure races. Having been assured by Koko prior to arrival that there are no other women signed up for the race, I have already mentally taken my trophy home (and was not going to divulge the number of female participants when asked). I even truly thought I had a chance to beat out Canada, as she was dehydrated from tailgating and her feet were tender from walking all day in "cute shoes". Anyway, even without her disabilities, I find she can be a bit hesitant with her mountain bike, and I have No Fear. This surely will give me an advantage. So if anything, I will battle it out with her for first and second place.
Canada, Coug, Susan, Christine
And then Susan pulls in. Crap. There went first. And she's got Christine with her. I haven't ridden with her before, so I still think I can take her for second, maybe third. We all decide to take a few runs on the loop. I don't know if it was because I was excited or because I wasn't being timed, but my first run was quite good I thought. No major falls, and I felt like I got a good taste of what the course held. Confidence strong.

Practice loop two. Little shaky. Bit the dirt a few times. Testing out the course. No problem. I do think I will go back to the van and get my inhaler though. And some Gatorade. Man, I'm hot.

One last time around. OOoooooohhh sshhhhiiiittttttt. I fly off the bike around a curve. Here comes Canada behind me. "Keep going! Get up!". I try to remount my bike but it won't move. I fumble around and realize the chain is off. It takes me a good five minutes to get it back on. Whhheeeezz whhhheezzzz. I am literally pouring sweat. I haven't even started the race. Okay, this may be harder than I thought.

The race is male dominated, and there are only 6 women (including one 10 year old little girl). We line up by race number and I find myself behind Canada, but in front of a male rider. We are sent off one at a time with anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes in between each rider, depending on ability. Susan was the first rider in the pack and she has already returned with her super-fast time of 3:54. Canada heads out strong. I am geared to catch up to her and put some woop-ass on her. Finally I will conquer her in something - I am sure of it! Watch out for me! I am COUG! I am YARD GNOME! Beware my wrath!!
Race Director Jeremy, Race Boss Koko, and Canada figuring splits
I am officially sent off and I push hard as I enter onto the trail. The path is very narrow and covered with gravel which creates a slipping sensation with the tires as I ride. The brush reaches out and slaps me in the face as I ride down the path and I wonder how much more poison ivy I will get today. I round the turn and get to the first obstacle. Split second decision ~ go right up a hill over a log that makes you go airborne or choose left and go down a sandy slope. I go airborne and realize (in the air) that pushing my speed so early might not have been wise. The faster you go, the higher you go. What goes up must come down. Ouch. The handlebars slip in my grip but I manage to hold on and still take the sharp turn on the path. Ha ha! I am still up! I will get her now! She is my prey! I pedal fast down the curvy path. Next challenge a really narrow drop. I take it aggressively. And I aggressively fly off my bike and skid on my arm and side in deep sand as my tires slide out from under me. Ouch. I hear cyclist's coming from behind me and quickly pick up my bike and remount. I'm winded and nervous that my time will be slow because these riders might slow me down.

I make it up a hill and again hear them approaching behind me. I pull over to let them pass, thinking they are faster and I need to practice good etiquette. They inform me that they are not in the race and I should go ahead. Why the ^#% are you on the course? I think to myself as I fall off into the brush with them watching me. Geez this is embarrassing. They refuse to pass me up. I remount for the second time and between wheezes push hard to make up time. I come across a narrow path between a split trunk of a tree. It's technical, but I make it through... and then off of the cliff into a pile of brambles, ivy, and sticks. Oh swell. Look. The "non-racing" riders are still here with me. Nice. "Please pass me," I beg. "You are really making me nervous." They refuse and say they will stay back three minutes before following. I am convinced I will see them again at the rate I am going. I manage to half ride, half crawl up a steep hill, and amidst all of the agony in my chest stay on my bike for the rest of the loop. Eventually I cross the finish line to a 5:58 time (compared to Canada's 4:47). I am flustered, but there is still time to set the record straight. I just need to stay on my bike.

Another loop, and I quickly realize my race is not between me and Canada. Or even me and Christine. Or even me and the two other female racers who look pretty fast. It has come down to a race for last place between me and the ten year old. She has me by a few seconds. I have got to redeem myself. I focus and hit my third loop with the goal of not falling off of my bike. I am psyched that I stay on it and finish 3 seconds ahead of her best time. Ha Ha 10 year old! You are mine!

I am confident that she doesn't have the mental skills to rally back on her final loop and age will prevail once and for all. She will crumble to the pressure of besting her time by three seconds! Fifth place is mine! And then it happens. Here she comes flying across the finish line. Seven seconds ahead of my best time. This is almost as bad as losing to the 82 year old relay team in the NOLA 70.3. The worst part is she is gloating about beating someone 30 years older than she is. Where's the respect??

So I went on an adventure today and as you all should know by now, with every adventure comes Lessons Learned:

1.  Never judge a book by its cover and never assume a 10 year old won't kick your ass.

2.  It hurts to fly over your handlebars and hit the ground going 15 miles an hour.

3.  Bruises come in all sorts of shapes and color variations.

4.  A one-mile Shoot Out was challenging. I can't even imagine what the Leadville 100 feels like. Hail to you O Susan. You are my hero.

Showing me how to bow down before her...
5.  There is a reason alcohol is not present at these events. They are scary enough without it.

6.  Unlike Adventure Racing, there is no good way to secure a camera during a Shoot-Out.

7.  Red Bull tastes a bit like Jagermeister, but with a nice caffeine kick.

8.  Knee highs make you look like a dork.

My point being emphasized.
9.  I am still searching for the one sport I can beat Canada in. Please will you spar with me??

10.  If I don't stop this nonsense soon, someone is going to turn my husband in on suspicion of spousal abuse due to all of the bruising.

Coug (Last Place) and Canada (Second)

 Name # Heat 1 Heat 2 Heat 3 Championship heat Awards
*S. Hayden 1 3:54 3:56 Fastest Female
C. Flanders 2 4:30 4:54 4:25
A. Sitar 3 3:57 3:49 3:50
B. Way 4 3:56 3:48 3:48
R. Kennedy 5 3:31 3:29 3:32
C. DiMarco 6 3:34 3:28 2:28
*C. Whitlow 7 5:08 4:53 4:50
P. Kelly 8 3:37 3:09 3:07 3:05
P. Moran 9 3:42 3:58 3:40
*A. Shawhan 10 5:02 4:28 4:47
*J. Pearson 11 5:58 5:17
J. St. Romain 12 3:40 3:32 3:32 Mystery Award Winner
R. Clark 13 3:05 3:10 3:04 2
C. Breaux 14 3:34 3:32
L. McBeth 15 3:33 3:30 3:33
M. Yotkois 16 3:20 3:16 3:12
R. Fabre 17 3:33 3:26
B. Decker 18 4:18 4:21 5:50
B. Bolden 19 4:01 3:46 3:50
J. Howe 20 3:27 DNF DNF
*V. Vail 21 5:30 5:20 5:10
J. Anderson 22 4:52 5:08
M. Prince 23 4:12 4:11
C. Rome 24 3:18 3:11 3:11 3:11
C. Bahlinger 25 4:05 4:36
T. Cortez 26 3:06 3:10 3:05 3
J. Vaughan 27 3:56 3:55 3:40
G. Melancon 28 3:32 3:12 3:19
J. Bailey 29 3:24 3:29
T. Haydel 30 3:03 3:12 2:59 2:59 1
E. Heyl 31 3:25 4:21 3:21 3:15
C. Becnel 32 3:16 3:16 3:11
T. Becnel 33 4:51 4:27 4:30
*S. Becnel 34 5:03 4:52 5:28
*P. Buitron 35 5:27 5:01
J. Evans 36 3:35 3:27 3:12
Bill 37 3:32 3:30 3:24
D. Hays 38 3:34 4:02 3:17
J. Roby 39 3:22 3:18 DNF
Evan 40 3:40
G. LeBlanc 41 3:52 3:45
42 3:37
J. Cobb 43 DNF
B. Saucier 64 3:20 3:43

*denotes female racer...yes, we had 7 women race!!! way to represent!!!

1 comment:

  1. GG, until I see your bruises in person, I refuse to relinquish my crown. I can still represent over a week later. And what's up with the fugly socks? Intimidation?
    Glad y'all had fun. And lived to tell the tale. Oh, and WWF. Just sayin'.