After consulting with my new coach--Michael Engleman, I took on Pacific Raceways as my first "race" back. (Let me pause and say, seriously, how much more rad can the USWCDP--and Michael Engleman--be? But I have to give a ton of credit to my first coach and dear friend, Beth Lyndon-Griffith who taught me how to ride, corner, jump, descend, you name it!)
I rode down there from West Seattle with a couple of Cucina Fresca women (Jess Cutler and Amber), putting in a nice 1:45 warm-up. I kept asking Jess, how far? Are we close? I was just so excited to race, I didn't want to miss the start. Of course, she explained her wise theory about getting there close to the start time so we didn't stand around and get cold. Ahhhh. People who use their brains always amaze me.
Anyway, I chose to ride with the men's 1, 2, 3 group--as historically, it tends to be quick and forces you to ride smart. I figured now is as good of time as any to get back into shape and see if I can hang. Oh and tonight we rode the "escape route," so there was short power hill to punch up with each lap of the 2.5 mile course.
I decided to try to watch my buddy, Logan Owen, as he owns every hill he comes across. So on the first lap, after realizing that I felt totally confident on my bike, I followed him up the hill. He looked over at me and smiled, saying "You got your game face on!" That made me feel really good.
But alas! My game face started quivering after a couple of laps. I realized I couldn't punch up that hill and then expect to pick up the pace into the headwind as many of the strong guys were doing. There were times when I was panting hard, just trying to catch a wheel in the peloton--but there were other times when I felt good and was near the front even after giving a few guys a run for their money up the hill. That made me smile--not because I gave them a 30 second run for their money (I'm sure they schooled me at the finish--as I still have a lot to learn about riding smart.)--but because I was racing and I felt like myself, but just in a different skin.
After the race, I smiled and said, "I'm alive! I'm alive!" and then went to congratulate my teammies, Joe and Logan, on their jaunt off the front. I also wanted to give the race director a hug and say thanks for putting the race on, but it is every week and I'm sure he wouldn't have shared my sentiment about expelling my fears that I wouldn't be the same on the bike or I wouldn't have the confidence to ride, etc. And I'd probably just seem creepy. I'm kind of good at that, too.
Back to fear. What fear? Oh wait, yes, the fear Jess and I had when riding home after the race on the Green River Trail. I kept saying, "Oh it's perfectly safe. I think the Green River Killer only murdered 50 or so women, give or take." Or every time we'd see a person sitting alone in the dark along the trail, I'd say "Oh that's not creepy at all... no, not at all...he's probably just looking for his dog or something."
But when it comes to bikes, no fear. Just like the t-shirt. I'm loving cycling and my new bike--Biscuit. Yep. That name is the final decision for my Blue bike. Biscuit--short for "C. Biscuit."