Crazy Saturday

I’d thought yesterday that I might write a serious post today, perhaps my thoughts on Charlotte Jay’s Beat Not the Bones, which I’m discussing with my mystery book group tomorrow and which I’d hoped to write about soon.

But — what was I thinking? I got up at 6 a.m., left the house at 7, arrived at my bike race around 8, stayed at the bike race until after 7 p.m., and only got home an hour or so ago. Crazy. The problem was that Hobgoblin’s race was sometime around 9 a.m. and mine was scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but it didn’t really start until 6. Last year we drove back and forth to the race course twice to avoid staying there all day, but this year we couldn’t bear the thought of all that driving and gas expenditure, so we brought some books, decided to take Muttboy at the last minute, made sure we had comfortable chairs, and settled in.

I thought I might get a lot of reading done, but it turned out I read only about three pages before I gave up and spent the rest of the day watching the races and talking with friends and fellow racers. In spite of the long hours, I had fun. The truth is, the social aspect of racing is at least as much fun as the racing itself — sometimes significantly more so.

As for my race, it was a bit of a mess. It was, to put it mildly, very poorly run. The race promoter decided to have three women’s groups, and to have them race separately, which makes sense, but to have them race separately on the course at the same time, which didn’t make any sense at all. So after the first group started (the Pro-1-2 field), the second group (Category 3) waited 30 seconds and then started, and then my group (Category 4) waited 30 seconds and then started. So there were three fields out on a mile-long course all at once.

I expected the Pro-1-2 field to catch up to us, but instead we caught up with the Cat 3 riders, the ones who are supposed to be faster than us. We passed them, although we probably shouldn’t have and it was confusing, but everything seemed okay until the Cat 3 riders caught up with us and wanted to pass, and then we couldn’t figure out which way to go to let them get by — people yelled out “move to the left!” and others yelled “on the left!” and others just yelled out “left!” which meant we had no idea where to go. They somehow managed to pass us safely, but it turned out there were three riders in my group that stayed ahead of them, so we spent the rest of the race unsuccessfully chasing.

In spite of the confusion and danger, I was riding well, staying up front most of the time and even riding at the very front for a little while, but on the last lap at the third corner I let some riders get ahead of me and I took the last corner too slow, and my sprint at the end didn’t do much. I ended up getting 14th place. It wasn’t a very good result, but I did get some practice riding near the front of the pack, practice I desperately need.

So yeah, it was a crazy day — not least because I spent much of the day thinking “I hate racing! — why do I do this???” but in the race itself I thought, “hey — this is okay, it’s not so bad” and after the race I thought, “how can I do that better next time?” In other words, I can’t decide whether I hate racing, love racing, or something in between. I think the truth is that as long as I continue racing, I’m going to continue agonizing about it. Something to look forward to, right?


Filed under Books

7 responses to “Crazy Saturday

  1. Sounds like so many of the things I challenge myself to do in life: can’t decide, once I’ve done (or am doing) them, whether I love them or hate them. Sometimes, I think I really hate them and that the love comes from feeling I’ve beat a challenge. Meanwhile, can’t wait to hear your take on Beat Not the Bones. I also want to know why my copy of the book is about Emma Warwick, and the one you and Hobs (and Amazon reviewers read) seems to be about Stella Warwick. Maybe you-all are reading the better book :-)!


  2. I can identify with the not knowing whether you love or hate racing. I’ve recently taken up running again and I love the training runs – where I get to put in a sprint at the end and imagine that I’m actually pretty fast. But then when it comes to the time-trial my lungs are burning after the first minute and I realise that I’m really not that fast after all. But the hating running doesn’t last long and then, like you, I’m wondering how I can do better next time. I seem to alternate between thinking I’m great and thinking I’m totally useless, but then it evens out somewhere in the middle. I’m ok, could be better. And I try and convince myself that it’s the journey not the result that matters.


  3. Glad the race ended safely. I know what you mean about the love/hate thing. I love gardening but there always reaches a point after a few hours in the yard and always at the end of the season when I hate it, hate the dirty nails, the scratches, the allergies, the weeds and I dream of selling the house and living in a condo. There is always something that keeps me going and maybe that’s proof that I really do love it.


  4. It’s too bad your races were so far apart–that makes for a long day, and I think I would get frustrated by the waiting. It sounds like the social aspect of racing is fun, though. And it sounds like you came prepared with things to keep you occupied (even if you didn’t get to read in the end!). I wonder if I could be so dedicated.


  5. Emily — I’m very curious about why there is a version with “Emma” — apparently she revised the book once but no one in the group knew why or what kinds of revisions she made. It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? I’ll post on the novel in a day or two …

    Pete — what you describe sounds very familiar! Yes, it’s back and forth all the time, isn’t it? I enjoy training much more than I enjoy competition, although the competition gives the training more meaning and importance. I like the idea that it’s the journey that matters, but again it’s a nice idea that is hard to internalize.

    Stefanie — yes, there is always something that keeps us at it, isn’t there? I could certainly give racing up, but I would miss it. I suppose I must simply get used to the feeling of uncertainty …

    Danielle — yeah, it was frustrating, although talking to people was nice. But I get tired when I talk to people all day! I’m not used to it. I certainly wouldn’t be so dedicated if my husband weren’t into it too — we help each other out and that makes a difference.


  6. That last paragraph about sums it up for me too. I guess most racers are a little schizo. Great meeting you Saturday, though I’m sorry your race didn’t go as well as you’d hoped (I’d heard of mixed fields before, but never starting them off seperately like that – in a crit no less!)


  7. Suitcase — it was great seeing you and your wife! Yeah, crit was crazy, and I’m guessing they won’t run it that way next year!


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