Back to Playing Photographer
So this post is about a week overdue, but I definitely want to get it out there. Rich and I were going back and forth all week about whether to do the Putney race the weekend before Windham. It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive, and there was a wedding the day before so no preriding of the course was allowed on Saturday. This meant we would have to drive up and back in the same day, and then go to work the next day. We were really torn though because it was at an all new location, Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center. It sounded like a great course, which definitely made us want to go.
On friday, I just decided what the heck, I am going to register us both. As much as I knew a weekend off from racing would be good (and save us all that driving), I was afraid we would regret it if we didn’t go. So Sunday we took off early, but not crazy early, since we both raced at 2pm. We got there around 11, so we had time to hop on the course to preride a little in between the cat 3s and the pro/cat 1s. The beginning had a good climb through a field before dumping right into single track. After not warming up first, my lungs were on fire by the time we went into the woods and I had to stop for a minute to catch my breath.
As I’ve mentioned before, my lungs aren’t the only thing that needs warmed up, as my confidence usually does too in the woods. Unfortunately for me, there was this crazy bridge, ramp, jump thing shortly at the beginning that definitely freaked me out and got me kind of nervous. I managed to calm down and proceed through the course. Can I just say I wish this place was closer to home! The trials were in AMAZING condition and everything in the singletrack was right at the edge of my skill/comfort zone. It was all stuff I COULD do, but definitely stuff I either needed to work on or was still nervous with doing. All I kept thinking as we rode was this place would be perfect for me to practice my skills on, too bad it was 3.5 hours from home…
We continued and I felt good overall until I saw the trail marked roller coaster. I don’t know if it’s my fear of heights or just the word roller coaster that set me into panic mode, but something about that sign made me tense up and lose my focus. Then I hit the huge up and down that probably gave this trail its name and went tumbling with my bike. I wasn’t hurt bad, just some scrapes, burns and bruises, but my confidence was pretty shaky. I rode some of the way back out, but ended up walking a lot as I was just too nervous.
As the pro/cat 1s took off and Rich and I were eating our lunch, I couldn’t decide if I should race or not. I really liked the course, and it was a realistic challenge for me, but I had this pit in my stomach from the crash. I was so worried about the race that I was making myself sick. I had pretty much decided I probably wasn’t going to race because it wasn’t worth it if I wasn’t going to have fun, when I got a call from a teammate who had just lost their skewer on the highway on the way to the race. He was hoping someone had an extra one or their was some sort of neutral support at the race, since the bike shop he tried wasn’t open.
Perfect I thought. I could let him borrow my skewer, that way 1)I would be helping a friend out, so he could race after driving so far and 2)I wouldn’t feel as bad about not racing. It was a win/win for all. I didn’t have my good camera, but I knew I could still get some decent shots with my iPhone. Playing photographer also would help squash my feelings of being upset with myself about not racing because I knew people would appreciate the photos.
Then the cat 2 races started, and I could tell something wasn’t right with Rich. He seemed to be missing that extra spark and just didn’t even look like he was racing to me. He was down around 7th or 8th place after two laps and before I knew it he was back next to me, saying go tell Jill I DNFed. I was like what is going on, you have never done that, even after face planting at windham on the first lap last year. Then I realized he was in extreme pain and could barely stand. I ran to tell Jill and find the medical tent.
At the time, it was thought that he had dislocated his pelvis, in addition to the other gashes and bruises he had sustained. Driving home, all I could think of was I never should have signed us up for this race. Rich was saying he was done with mtb racing for the year, said there was no way he was racing windham and I just wanted to cry. My signing us up had ruined his A race plans for the year and most likely our mini vacation. We realized we should never do the Putney race again, as last year I crashed out big time, getting my first DNF and he came in dead last for the first and only time in his racing career, after feeling weak and tired.
So lessons learned: My confidence is still shaky and No racing putney for the Gauvins!