Monday, April 30, 2012

My first whiskey

Yesterday (Saturday 28 April 2012) was my first whiskey.  I don't mean my first Jameson or Powers or Tulamore Dew.  Those were a quite a while back.  I am talking about a mtn bike race in Prescott, Arizona.  A big-ass one.  A seriously bad-ass one.  1700 racers.  City streets blocked off.  Live outdoor concerts.  Vendors.  Beer tents.  Industry demos.  A big deal.  The race came in three flavors: a 15 mile, a 25 mile, and a 50 mile (there were two of those - an amateur race on Saturday and a professional race on Sunday).  I did the 25 mile on Saturday.  I learned a lot.  Some of the lessons were a joy to learn:

  1. The people I love that supported me and encouraged me made the experience an uplifting one for me  - no one does this kind of thing alone, the ones we love are with us
  2. I don't need to start at the rear of the pack with the folks who are out to "finish it" - I can ride with those who are "in it to win it"
  3. My self-made $500 all-rigid single 96er (mtn bike parlance for a bike without any suspension or gears and that has a 29" front wheel and a 26" rear wheel) can hold its own alongside bikes that cost 10 times as much
  4. I am really good at this shit - my two wheeled creations kick ass and I can ride them at a killer pace and skill level
  5. I can be truly competitive in next year's 25 mile race, the year after... maybe I set out to do something extraordinary in the 50

Not all of the lessons on Saturday were so pleasant to learn:
  1. There is a a hell of a lot of distance between skilled amateur and professional athlete - I really want to cross that gap and have some more work to do
  2. If you willingly choose to start at the back of the pack you do not get to complain when you loose 30 minutes in 5 different single-track traffic jams
  3. Don't ever be at the mercy of preventable equipment failure - my front tire flatted out 16 times costing me somewhere around an hour of lost time and $40 in CO2 cartridges, next time I will remember to bring a tube

If I look at my first whiskey as a learning experience and a litmus test for my fitness level... then I would have to rate it as a great success.  If I look at it as a first foray into competitive off-road bike racing I would have to give it a lukewarm score.  I finished.  I was in the upper third.  I rode some awesome trails.  

No one was even remotely worried about me closing in on them, but they will be next year.  This year getting a hug from my little boy when I crossed the finish line was reward enough.  As for next year, I'll be back.

1 comment:

  1. The first time I ever saw you ride was in Guatemala, now I know why the folks there called you 'do it!'
    You go out there and make it happen!