This is a big week with Laramie Short Track race #3 on Wednesday and the Gowdy Grinder on Sunday, my third and fourth races this season. I’m feeling good about my fitness for mid-May and will keep pushing hard. I give a lot of credit to the short track races — they force you to push your limits and subsequently improve your fitness and skills.
I rode the Gowdy Grinder course today to get a feel for the flow and tempo. Wow. This is going to be a kick-ass race. The course is brilliant. It’s got an even mix of climbing, technical sections and flowy downhill single track. Here’s the 13.2-mile course:
It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have considered doing a race like this for various reasons: afraid to get my butt kicked by better riders; afraid to crash and get injured; afraid that I couldn’t handle the physical and mental demands. Fear is such an unnecessary limiting factor in our lives.
I had to destroy that fear, and after the first time I attached a number plate to my handlebars my life got better. I know that I’m not likely going to win these races. I have ultimate respect for the superb riders whom I’ll never catch. When I race I’m really battling myself. I’m battling the fear of crashing, the urge to slow down because lactic acid is searing my muscles, and the thoughts that tell me I can’t do it. It’s a victory when I endure and cross the finish line.
Speaking of crashing, I took a decent digger on a sharp turn going pretty fast at Gowdy today. I was getting a bit cocky and knew I should’ve braked a bit more before going into a turn. My front tire slid out, my left handlebar dove and I plowed into the dirt. The crash took some skin off my shin and slightly bruised my rib cage but I don’t think it will affect my riding, I hope. I’ll find out in Wednesday’s race. It’s good to get that first hard crash out of the way and move on.