Monday, October 6, 2008
Map Of The Problematique
When I first started riding, the only trails I knew were Fern and Tom Brown. I don't really remember how long it took before I could do a whole lap without stopping. Back before they built the Weems development, I would sit at the top of the oak tree climb, look out at the trees below, and wait for the wheezing to stop. It was a nice little reward for making it up the hill in my Billibong baggies, cotton tee, and hiking boots.
Later that year, I entered my first race in the "First Timer" class. I got passed by an eleven year old girl that was crying, and a guy in sweat pants and a Styrofoam helmet beat me to the line by about ten feet. Still, I doubt anyone was happier with their performance than I was that day.
The traffic on the grand jewel of our trail system starts to really increase the week of a race. By Thursday the lines start appear and come Friday the berms are built up and the trail is so fast and manicured you would think it was all rebuilt by hand. Friday night everyone is out and running laps. Sandbaggers talk about how slow they are, and people on the fence about entering fret over their heart rates and lap times. Friday is the first day you know the direction of the loop. The butterflies and flaws in equipment weigh heavy on the mind of anyone with a number plate. It's like the circus has come to town and anyone can be in the show.
We all race for a lot of different reasons, but for me it is a celebration of another day I am allowed to ride, despite my long list of ailments, advanced age, and lack of skill.
Am I going to enter? I usually do, but I never make up my mind til the day of the race. Besides I am so slow, I'd hate to clog up the course for the good riders.