Just another sufferfest

The QLD State Champs XC was held yesterday, after it almost failed to perform at all. John Pinnell, trail builder extraordinare and race organiser stepped up with The Riders Club in order to offer an alternative venue and race for state champs, when the original organisers scrapped the race less than two weeks out.

Sound familiar? Yes, this happened only two years ago, with Kenmore Club putting on the big day in that case. It leaves many of us with a strong investment in our sport (albeit only via emotion and membership and the blood, sweat and tears we shed when preparing for events!) scratching our heads as to how to make it better for QLD mountain bikers.

But, I digress, the intricacies of attempting to patch up our sport can be left for another post. This one is about the race that almost wasn't.

Coming off a bout of illness post Epic, I was in two minds as whether to even race State Champs. Towards the end of the working week I was feeling a bit more jovial so I signed up. I'm not going to lie, I almost felt like signing up to this race and the local state series this year was a bit of a duty—I haven't been fighting fit or even training for these races, however in order to add just another number, and because I want the sport to grow, I sign up everytime. Plus, time on bike is good for the soul and the best training for racing is racing, right?

So it was with this sense of duty that I signed up, hoping that more than thirty people in total would turn up at the Adare race track come Saturday.

Well, expectations were exceeded, with around 120 people racing on the day. Not bad at all for a race that almost didn't happen, and for the organisers to get everything mobilised in a mere ten days!

Driving out I felt physically ill. I was not sure if it was the coffee (I hope not, we know what that meant last time it made me sick...) but there was something making my stomach a bit like a whirlpool washing machine. Maybe it was even nerves. I don't know.

Mum and Dad were once again babysitter extraordinares, and when we arrived at the race site I realised that I had once again got a blocked duct.

The glamours of motherhood and bike racing—squatting beside your car in a field 15 minutes before your race, massaging out a blocked duct and giving the grass a good drink of milk. Weird? I'm sure it's been weirder. Maybe...

We got to rock out in the BRAND SPANKING NEW Cyclinic kit too, which is super sweet (as seen below).

You can't see the heat, but I was feeling it.
So the gun goes and the small but strong field of Elite women are off. It's a quick start so thanks goodness for the coffee. I felt really comfortable, sitting behind Jodie, she gradually gained time throughout the first lap but was visible throughout. Winning! The legs are feeling good, but it's damn hot.

"If I can keep riding like this, it will be awesome" I think. "It's like those days when I had power in the old pegs".

Yeah well that lasted about a lap and a half, at which point my body politely let me know that I was melting from the inside out. Seriously it was SO HOT. I had busted myself up in the heat, and towards the end of the second lap Kylie and I were tousling down a grassy straight. It was a max effort before a climb. Clever. I knew she was going to get around me, she had been gaining on me for most of the second lap, but I made her work for it! Oh the things we do to ourselves!

This was a pic someone snapped of me sometime during lap 2.

A bit diappointed to not have the legs to go with her, my third lap was a deep lull. I was about as busted as you can get, and without coffee or coke that whole lap was just appalingly painful. I was feeling the chills between my shoulder blades, usually that's reserved for some pretty dark places of dehydration. Bike racing is supposed to hurt, I know, and the hurt was well and truly a good sort at the start of the race, then descended into the maelstrom of overexterional, dehydrated, not-quite-enough-sugar desolation.

I had the Icona Pop song in my head, well at least one line "I don't care, I love it" going around and around on repeat. It helped me through. I had thoughts throughout the race, I wasn't sure if I was not sure where I was because I was feeling 'zen', because the course was so confusing, or because I was in such a box that I could only comprehend what was happening in front of me. Like a gormless zombie.

Surprisingly, I rode the techy climb each lap except the first, which doesn't really make sense—maybe as I breathed a little better and spun up rather than tried to stomp up frothing at the mouth and running into stuff.

My fourth lap I recieved a gift from the gods—coke in my bottle—and I managed to somehow pull my shit together and finish on a reasonable lap time. Kylie had her fastest lap for her fourth (nutter!) which is testament to her increasing fitness and proof all those long km's are paying off. She had a couple of minutes on me by the end. Jodie was a couple more in first.

Heading up the long, hot grassy straight for the final time, I don't think I quite realised how deep I had gone; as soon as I stepped off my bike I leaned over to vomit, dry reaching, then got a case of the headspins. It was very nasty, but it was testament to doing all I could out there on the track.

So, in third. It seems to be my place for this series, but we'll be clawing time back for future races i'm sure. The gap is narrowing, and i'm getting little tastes of feeling strong again. I just have to polish the things I struggle with (hairpin corners anyone?) and work on the whole uphill battle and she'll be apples!
L–R: Kylie, Jodie and ABee (+Little Pea). Not standing on the plank as it was somewhat
unstable, as was I after that race.

The best thing, other than drinking about 3L of water and consuming some carbohydrates after the race, was the prizes. We got some bike lube, grips, the usual stuff, but then we got the most awesome homemade baked goods. Aiden won the Elite male race so we had TWICE the amount of baked goods. Needless to say that much fat and sugar is a little dangerous in our house, so the babysitter extraordinares got one lot of them.

Just a huge thanks to those who put on the race, and hopefully it will mobilise more proactive-ness (? that a word?) for our sport in the future.

Today, on very, very little sleep (aren't children AWESOME for that?) I decided to head out for a 4 hour singlespeed ride, because I am a glutton for punishment. The whole thing was just awful, exhausted, I crawled home at three hours, 61km and 1300m of elevation later. But it was an exercise in making me tough. We're getting there.

At least i'm earning the beers lately.