Posted on 8:02 AM by Schottler
It's hard to admit that I was on the fence about this race this year. I have so much on my mind right now I just could not focus, train, or mentally prepare myself for this race. The last two years, it was game on, I was 100% ready to give it all. This year I was maybe 50%. When you come in to any race and your heart isn't in it and your mind is elsewhere, you usually won't live up to your potential. I knew this coming in, but I enjoy hanging out with my friends too much to pass it up for something that selfish. Now that it's over, I am happy I did it. But despite what I knew was going to happen going in to it, I am still disappointed in myself.
The last month or so I've been trying to get my head in the game and actually train for this race. To touch on where I've been in my mind, I submitted my Master's thesis the Friday morning that I left for the race, right on the edge of even being able to come to the race. I've had interviews at companies for some pretty awesome jobs and am awaiting offers, which is extremely stressful. My Master's defense is this Thursday and I am nervous. This all lead to me barely riding during the weeks and relying on cx races to maintain some fitness.
Anyway, on to the race. As usual, there was some horsepower toeing the line with a bulls-eye pinned to my back for the 2nd year in a row. The initial gravel climb was a little easier than last year and I even went to the front to try and get some more people excited. $75 prime in to the single track, I let Tilford take it, for a few different reasons, but it was my first mistake of the day. From here on to the first checkpoint, which was roughly 49 minutes in, Tilford was riding away from me and I was able to catch back up a couple of times. I don't know what the deal was, he wasn't going that fast, my legs sucked. They felt like bricks and my heart rate wouldn't go over 180 and I couldn't motivate myself to really get in a rhythm. I should have easily been able to stay with him.
Coming in to Brazil Creek I fumbled some of the switchbacks and went down in the huge horse hoof mud pits, then went down in the creek crossing, then ran in to Scott's dog and went over the bars (sorry Scott!) Apparently people just ran down the hill instead of on the course, I missed that pre-race tip.
From here on I rode okay, I never got in a rhythm, I couldn't get my heart rate up, and my legs felt like hell. In to Berryman campground I was 2 minutes back. Coming back through the checkpoint towards the end I was only 3-4 minutes back. From this last checkpoint to the finish I lost another 4 minutes. I mentally just quit, it was not my day, and I continued thinking about my upcoming defense, where I'll be living in a few weeks, and if my new dog was just sitting in our cabin and barking or crying.
I finished in 4:17, 3 minutes slower than last year. That sucks. I went through the first 4 checkpoints faster than last year and lost a huge chunk in the end. The course was even smoother and faster than last year. Ended up 2nd place with just short of $1,000, not a bad pay day, but I wanted a win... not bad enough I guess. On the bright side I have motivation for next year and will most likely be able to focus.
The post-race party was awesome and the biggest reason I came out this year. I always enjoy hanging out with my buddies, drink some awesome beer, and listen to everyone's race stories. A lot of beer was consumed.
I am happy someone got a picture of these nice guys on the trail:
I am going to take some time off the bike, maybe a week or two to get my head realigned... there are still over 2 months of cx left.