As I sit here and reflect on my first race of the season this past weekend, so many things flood my mind. Relief that my knee did manage to hold up, with only minimal pain, and that I was able to complete the event without any major mishaps. Joy of seeing so many old friends, and making so many new ones both on and off the trail. Pride that I was able to complete the entire race on a rigid singlespeed as the only woman, I believe, to do so at this race. I was somewhat let down to find that it was taking me far longer to complete the laps than I had originally estimated, but I make no excuses. Yes, the weather made things sketchy early on, but we all had to race the same conditions. And the fact that I have a 24 hour race next weekend and was on a rigid singlespeed are both choices that I made for myself - besides, I think my bike choice actually may have been an advantage in all reality! I have no idea where I ended up placing, although I suspect it was near the bottom since I only logged 65 miles, but my placing doesn't really matter. I got to spend a whole day riding my bike - it just doesn't get any better than that!
It was also truly wonderful to discover how many friends I had out there, supporting and encouraging me. Some of particular note include:
Your constant encouragement and concern about my knee were most appreciated, and you probably weren't aware that I was just about ready to give up and walk that one climb when I felt your hand on my shoulder. Thank you for reminding me that I could do this.
Thank you for making me laugh and keeping my mind off how much I was hurting as we climbed along the ridge. It was a pleasure riding with you, and I'll never forget your smile.
You are one of the most gracious and accommodating riders by whom I've ever had the pleasure to be passed. I so much appreciate your willingness to completely change your passing line in order to give me the smoother route when my arms were burning near the end of the race.
I couldn't imagine a more pleasant way to end a 12 hour race than by sharing the ride with you. I know you're so much stronger than I, and could easily have done another lap, yet you stayed right there with me for the last 20 miles, when I so wanted to quit. You'll never know how much that meant to me, to have you there, engaging me in conversation, taking my mind off the pain, and keeping me going. You made it possible for me to finish strong, and I can't thank you enough for that.
Robin and Ed
Sharing a pit area with you was awesome! It was so great to spend the day with you, and I hope to see you again very soon.
The folks pitted on either side of us (I'm sorry I failed to get your names)
Thank you for being so honest and admitting how difficult this race was for you too. It helped me to know that I was not suffering alone. You both rock, by the way!
Doug and Mike
It always makes my weekend to go to a race and find you there. I love you guys - nobody knows how to enjoy riding a bicycle like you two!
It was such a pleasure talking with you on the way up to one of the overlook areas (even though I didn't realize who you were at the time!). When Javaun told me later that was you and how many laps you had gotten, I was so proud (and envious) of you!
Charlie Storm - Thank you for making me do those last two laps, and for the last minute advice and encouragement. I hope I didn't let you down.
And finally, last but certainly not least, Steve - My husband, mechanic, support crew, and best friend. You make everything possible for me. What more can I say than I love you.