Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fast begins with a state of mind.

It is not often that I feel fast.  In fact, hardly ever, but if it does happen, it is typically downhill on some singletrack on the magic day.  But overall as a rule, nada.  Rare.  Perhaps extinct, is that feeling of fast.  There are many times I feel strong, but fast?  Hmmm.

Fast guy.  Not a donkey.
I have discussed this before here in Donkey-speak.  Then, last week's enduro brought that back to mind again.  Now, I certainly had some excuse for being off the mark due to my surgery and lack of saddle time, and, to be fair, there are likely very few over 50 year old guys among the general population that can even DO that type of thing and survive.

But I am not concerned with the general population.  I am, of course, comparing myself to my peers.  I do not expect to hang with the younger gazelles that won the race, but I was watching a guy at least my age just walk away (well, pedal away) from me like I was tied to the hitchin' post (donkey reference...again).  Now he is a racer-type and I am not really, but #@**&% and @*^##!! that is frustrating.

So last night the wind was howling like it often does here in the Fall and it was cold-ish too.  I am fighting a bit of an ear infection of some sort so I am off a bit there and the couch sure seemed cozy and inviting.  In answer to that, I dressed for a ride and went out.

I dressed fast.  No, not in a hurry, but I wore less layers.  Just a very well worn pair of knickers from Boure' (are they still around?), wool Swiftwick socks, a Speshy base layer and jersey, and light gloves with a Buff headband in the helmet.  No jacket, no winter gloves, no baggies. 

I grabbed the hardtail; the Giant XTC-1 29er from last year's test.  Hardtails have a way of making you feel like you are faster, even if you are not....zippy kinda'.

I pedaled fast and hard.

I felt faster.  And, in some ways, I was faster.  They say that 'attitude precedes the action'.  My attitude was to go out and move quickly up and down the trail, not just to go for a ride.  It made a difference.  I know that some riders always ride this way...if they are not riding hard and with purpose, they are not riding.  I do not relate, and frankly, I never will be that way.  Too type 'A' for me and life is too short to not ride for fun and relax sometimes.

But, I do hope that I can sharpen my focus a bit and change my expectations of myself.  I can do better, given the blessings of time and health to do so, and I sure would like to not be last into the finishing line the next time I set out on some race event.

1 comment:

David said...


I rode my first mountain bike race in 2009. I was 45.

I was inspired by my young son, who raced the same southern Oregon Spring Thaw route in 2008 while I volunteered to direct racers along the course. I vowed to participate in the race in the following year.

And so I did. I finished 30th out of 61 riders, and about 4 minutes behind my son. Oh, I did stop to help a young boy who had gone over the bars on the trail in front of me. (How in the heck did that kid, and his mom, and sister get in front of me anyway?? ;) No excuses though. I worked as hard as I was able and had a great time. Finishing almost exactly in mid-pack was about what I had expected, though I secretly hoped for better.

The following year, 2010, I decided to ride the open class single-speed course. I have to say I was inspired not only by my son and by my previous experience but by you and other SS rider-racer-bloggers. Thank you.

I had checked the SS results from 2009 and determined I could finish among the final third of riders. The slowest time for 2009 was nearly 3:06:55. I figured I could beat that time and maybe come in somewhere around 2:30. Truth be told, my real goal was to not finish in last place.

I trained very hard for the race. I was physically and mentally ready, and so was my ride. My new-to-me Gary Fisher Rig whinnied and chomped at the bit, nervously prancing at the starting line.

Yeah. While I did beat the slowest time of the prior year, finishing in 2:47:59, so did everyone else. Translation - last place.

Remember - "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." In this season of our lives that time may leave us in last place. So what? Enjoy the time. Keep slogging.