In some cosmic, cruel, and fitting way, my cross country season began and ended with similar results. Poor. From that day at Soldier Hollow, when I realized that the world had passed me by in a colorful flash of lycra and speed, to Saturday, wherein I was reminded that despite improvements, and in spite of any mental arrangements and pre-conceived notions about where I ought to finish, that mountain bike racing is a cold, cruel endeavor. I ought to also add that 4 years ago today I posted in this space for the first time. (Which, incidentally was also a tale of a race gone awry) Simply, put, I had no power on Saturday. Which is a shame, given the the course was tailor made for a power-climber. The long, contouring ascent across a scrubby hillside and on up into the pines and aspens of The Canyons was fantastic. Never too steep, but just enough to never be mistaken for anything other than a steady, smooth, ‘up and at’m’. And, as a person that likes to fancy himself as a power-climber (your definition may vary than mine) I was excited at the potential this opportunity held.
Alas, in the end I found myself soft-pedaling as the race(s) unfolded around me. Indeed, by the time I huffed and puffed and quietly cursed through my final lap I was simply a hinderment to the passing riders, all chasing that delectable taste of local and eternal glory. And from my front row seat, the races all shaped up to be rather competitive.
And so now I am left hungry for more cross country racing. An opportunity to cleanse the palate, to rid my mouth of that bitter, regrettable taste of mediocrity. However, such an opportunity will have to be put off until sometime next spring. After a winter full of chilled road rides, group hammer sessions on the compu-trainers, a trip or two to St. George (Camp Lynda 3.0?) and of course, those fluffy, wonderful, powdery dawn patrols up high in the pine trees and cirques and hogsback ridges of the Wasatch Front. I do not think it odd that a few of the skiers I saw at the Canyons race were, like myself, starting to get far ahead of ourselves in wishing the mountains that we have been riding on were now covered in snow.
But, as I said, that is still on the far off horizon.
For that desire to wash away the incomplete feelings left over from Saturday will still have opportunity to become reality. In the form of the Park City PP, the 12 Hours of Sundance, and of course the king of all bike races, the 24 Hours of Moab. I find myself in that continual debate, arguing with my self as to how I want to approach that beast. Solo? Team? Spectator? Definitely not a spectator. Not this year. When asked about my intentions I send off a signal flare hoping for someone to rescue me from myself, and my ever convoluted decision to ride the race solo, “just one more time”.
But in the meantime I am focused solely on getting back whatever it was I lost that caused the power outage over the weekend. It might be remnants of being ill. It could have been the heat (12 noon start?!), or it could have simply been a bad day. Maybe a combination of all three. But I am left prodding and prying, and I think that can only be a good thing. At the very least I am tweaking some obvious and detrimental habits that have crept back into my life – late nights, candy bars, and far too much reading of political blogs. If anything can ruin a good nights sleep, it is politics. Which reminds me, I have an excellent opportunity coming up next week to purge the stresses and distractions of everyday life out of my mind and body. A week in the Uintas.
As to the Intermountain Cup? See you in March.