I got out of my car on Saturday and immediately noticed the song playing on the PA…”Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. I chuckled at the thought of Stephen Morrissey’s voice billowing across the course. And then it continued. New Order. The Cure. Depeche Mode. Joy Division. I thought to myself, “Boy, someone sure knows where my mind has been the last few weeks. Now I have to pretend I wanna race my bike WHILE listening to this?” Then the sky opened, the monsoon came, and it didn’t stop till the last lap of my race.
It was a wet, sloppy, slippy mess. I’m not sure who was driving my bike, but it magically took the lines like it was on autopilot. My head was totally clear of all the bullshit. I only wrecked twice AND managed to take out 30 feet of course tape. The rain pelted my face and felt like daggers in my eyes. I tried to ride the run up at the request of the crowd, ate shit, and slid on my back to the bottom. I gave it everything I had. I just kept repeating to myself, “I can’t stop. I can’t stop. I can’t stop.” So I pedaled my bike until I made it to the finish…then my body decided it was time to shut down.
I tried to ride my bike around the first turn, because I had intentions of spinning after my race. I ran straight into a course stake as my head began to spin. I ducked the tape and realized I couldn’t feel my feet. I tried to walk, but stumbled around like a baby deer. I tried to hold my bike, but my shaky hands didn’t get the memo. And after that, it’s fuzzy. I could hear people talking about getting my wet clothes off, and telling me I was ok. I wasn’t even sure who was helping me. They helped me walk to the bathroom, and I sat in the floor, shaking uncontrollably. I looked up and started to recognize the faces of the voices I heard outside. My clothes were in a pile and I had random bystanders clothing on. I hurt all over and couldn’t control the shaking. As a paramedic, I then realized I had hypothermia, and though, “AHHH FUCK!”
Thanks to Dacia, Jen, Jane, Cindy, and all the random women who helped me out. I am thankful for you all.
The rain stopped. The winds blew in. The temperature dropped. And then Day 2 was upon us. I stayed warm and off the course for my warm up. I watched the races before me, and got a good idea of where the shitty spots were. 97% of the course was shitty. More running than I had ever done, and the thickest mud I had ever ridden in. My heart was in my throat, my legs were in my stomach, and I could hear my lungs gasping for air. THIS IS WHAT WE DO TO OURSELVES FOR FUN.
I didn’t have a pit bike, so I watched people switch bikes as I hammered my legs through the muck. The mud built up on my brake pads, so I had to stop every now and then to free my wheels. Every run up was a death march, as I tried to eloquently carry my bike with correct form. The added weight of the mud made the bike feel like a dead body. My leg blew up as it always does, and there were times when I couldn’t “run” anymore. The only thing that kept me going was the voice in my head, and the girl who was creeping up behind me. So. I. Didn’t. Quit.
I only got in 2 laps, but I went hard for 45 minutes. I even managed to get out of the saddle for the entire pavement section at the finish line. All I had to do was finish my race, but I added a final touch of strength to top it off. I was super glad for the race to be over, and I didn’t get hypothermic. In fact, I was so fucking hot from running a 5k, I had my skin suit unzipped all the way during my cool down.
I came in with a fuzzy head and a broken heart, but I left with a sense of accomplishment. Now that I’ve started to get my shit together, it’s time to let my body recover. A couple more races await me next month, then I will focus on the road season. I’m hoping to take my fitness to the next level this spring….
…and hoping to take my heart with it.