Sunday, March 8, 2009

Keeping It In Perspective

With a little over 700 measly base miles in, I went racing this weekend on the other side of the state with my buddies Mike and Taylor. The plan was to hit two races - Saturday at Mason Lake (SW of Bremerton), and Sunday at Dungeness (near Sequim), and "race myself into shape". Let me tell you that this phrase was invented by and for much younger men. I knew I wasn't in any kind of shape to go racing and was extremely nervous heading over. In hindsight, the time spent worrying was time well spent.

They call these early-season races "training races". Which would imply that you're supposed to learn something. In my case, it appears I'm learning how to get my ass kicked.

Saturday's race went okay, which means that my heart went over 180 without blowing an artery (I was careful to print the emergency contact information on my registration sheet extra-legibly), and I didn't crash (although I came within milliseconds and/or millimeters on multiple occasions).

Sunday's race never happened. Strange muscles in both legs that I never new existed dropped me to my knees and made me cry like a 2-year-old every time I tried to walk up stairs all night Saturday and into Sunday. (Well, that and the fact that the weather cancelled Sunday's race, which is the story I'm going with officially, to save face.)

On the brighter side, my big brother Dan drove down from Bremerton in his new Prius to hang out and watch the race, which just rocked. I spent the afternoon explaining how things work in bike racing and why we do what we do, and then he got back in his car with a bewildered look on his face and drove back home.

Mike and Taylor tore it up. I, on the other hand, got dropped in my race, which means I fell off the back of the pack. Or in the most simple terms, I couldn't keep up with the other fellas on bikes. I started to get a little discouraged after the race, but I'm not going there. Truth is, I got to do some real racing with some good athletes super early in the season, I had a great visit with my brother who I don't get to see nearly enough of, and I got to hang out with my racer buddies all weekend and enjoy really great cammeraderie and get all immersed in the racing culture. I'll take all the pity I can get, but I know I'm damned lucky. The racing will come together. Either that or I will keel over after suffering immensely out on some frigid, windblown course amidst hailstones the size of baseballs, and people will go to my funeral and talk all about how I died "doing something I love."

More pics and videos here.


Hank Greer said...

Hang in there, Pat. And keep having fun.

Jacque Hendrix said...

You know Pat, I'm pretty impressed you're doing it. I'm whiney about the cold let alone even driving across the state for a race.

You go man. Make sure you post here when there's a local race so we can cheer you on.