You might be wondering why I was so elated about crossing the finish line Saturday after seventeen competitors had already done so. And the answer to that question is rather simple:
At Soldier Hollow I finished an astronomical 25 minutes after the leader. By the time I’d come around the final corner and coasted across the line he was sipping a cold one underneath an umbrella, no doubt with two attractive women fanning him with palm leaves and intermittently dropping grapes into his mouth.
And then at Draper, where incidentally I also finished 18th, I rolled across the tape 10 minutes after the winner. Which means that, while he may have been sipping a cold one already, the ladies had yet to start with the fawning and the grapes.
And then there was the time split on Saturday. A mere 7 minutes and 23 seconds. Perhaps, if one was hurrying, that would be just enough time to get the cooler cracked open. But no way was anyone sipping anything when I crossed the line, bleary eyed and a mouth full of vomit. By the way, 8 minutes separated 1st from 23rd in the group I race with. That is a crowded stream of finishers coming across the line one after the other. And it makes for great racing within the race.
Now, of course, the differences in the field and the terrain and other variables play a part in my shaving nearly 18 minutes off my splits. But I think too, that perhaps a slight fitness gain also helped me along. At least that is what I am telling myself when I go to sleep at night. And so, while there are still several people finishing in front of me, at least they are not finishing so far in front. You see, incremental gains. And as far as I can tell, those are good things.
In order to try and continue the trend, I determined that I ought to get out on the bike, and well…train. Or, as Bob continues to admonish me to do; try harder. Last night, under threatening skies, I rode a fantastic connection of singletrack underneath the mammoth Timpanogos. It helped that the Holley’s were along, ripping around the dirt with a hasty urgency. Certainly chasing Chris and K.C. around the mountain can’t hurt in my quest. Right? Except, it did hurt. A lot. But it was that good sort of pain that drives one to improve. Hopefully anyway.
Which brings me to tonight. The Soldier Hollow Biathlon. An absurd combination of short track racing and firearms. I fully expect to embarrass myself at the Olympic range. Unless of course, I have magically improved since the last time I so demonstrated my marksmanship skills. And why, I wonder, has it taken me so long (2+ years!?) to return to the Biathlons? They are, without a doubt some of the most fun “races” that we do all year.
I am hoping to best my previous mark of 13 penalty laps. And by ‘best’ I mean less, not more.
Chris rides the Dry Canyon pipeline.