The Good Kind of Rocks: Greenbrier Challenge 2012


Prying myself out of bed, all I could think about was how terrible I felt. This is a fairly normal reaction to morning time for me, so I continued on, and tried not to notice. However, my tiredness and lack of interest in racing this morning did not fade quickly. In the passenger seat on the hour drive to Greenbrier, I debated the strength of my coffee and wondered if maybe a nap would help.

After driving back home three minutes after leaving the house because I forgot my helmet, and thinking I lost my car keys at least four times, I finally made it to the start in a somewhat coordinated fashion. I waited alone in the Women’s 19-29 and 30-39 corral, until finally one other woman showed up. I joked about being the only ones, but as it turns out, we were. And we were in different age groups so we weren’t even racing each other. Two corals behind us there looked to be at least 5 more women. I definitely expected more since this was the Maryland State Championship and a qualifier for the National Championship.

The starting process was long, so I had awhile to think about how much I didn’t feel like racing and to get to know my non-opponent. She was from Pennsylvania, so I assumed she was fast. I’m pretty sure that most people from Pennsylvania ride crazy rocky steep climbs everyday because there is a lot of that up there. But as it turns out, I guess many of them, including my non-opponent, also ride Fair Hill just as often, and while Fair Hill is awesome, it is NOT Greenbriar. After the start, I dropped her at the bottom of the first climb and didn’t see her again.

As I started climbing, I was finally feeling ready to race…even if I was racing no one. Luckily, there were lots of slower guys in front of me to keep my confidence up. Passing dudes on climbs never gets old. And I am sure they hate me, not for passing them, but for passing them and then making them pass me again on the downhills. However, to my credit, I did MUCH better on the downhills than in the past.

The course was difficult, and smooth sections were almost non-existent. This was the kind of course that a year or two ago would have driven me to the verge of tears in frustration, but today the rocks were just another part of landscape that I rolled right over, loving every minute of it.

I felt like I had a great race, but I was kind of bummed about the lack of competition. I wanted to know if I really raced as well as I felt I did. It would have been nice if they at least started all the women together. However, I still had a great time. Great enough that it makes me ready to proclaim my official retirement from my very brief road racing career of 2 races. It turns out that I enjoy long rocky climbs more than being stuck in a peloton of women yelling at each other.

GPS from the race

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