Monday, April 7, 2008

Dirty Girls (or my bike's first trip on a plane)

Saturday dawned mucky in Wellington as I flew in on the 7:30am flight. I haven't done a huge amount of wet riding, it's bad for the tracks and for my bike, so I was feeling a little nervous, but hopeful that it would clear up a bit. Hehehe! My wonderful friend Shelley picked me and my baby up and we were off to Karori and into the real rain. We arrived early for registration and set about building my bike in the wet. Now it should be noted that I've never put together my bike before, this will be important for later. I managed to get it together eventually, but it did feel really weird. Oh well I thought, must be these heavier tyres (sometimes I can be sooo blond).

Slowly people arrived in their raincoats and armour and soon there were a good dozen of us chatting and hoping the rain would stop. The brilliant race organiser explained the plan of attack to us and we loaded our bikes onto the trailer and piled into the van. This would be the end of the clean, for people, bikes and the inside of the van.

At the top there was a lot of polite "you go first, no I'll be slower" and finally we were off in a line of nervous anticipation (well I was nervous having never ridden the track before). The track was lovely, not technical, lots of gorgeous hairpins, not at all steep, surrounded by bush and quite narrow. There was almost always a decent drop off into the bush on one side and a few painful trees very close and sometimes low to the track. I managed not to fall off at all on my first run, but felt a bit of a Nana. The next run most of the girls decided to have a go at the other more technical track, but I was still having bike issues and decided I would stick to the easier track and just concentrate on getting faster and riding the corners smoother. I was having difficulty seeing by the last third of the track because of the persistent rain fogging my glasses so was very much hoping it would clear a bit.

On the second run it did. I was feeling much faster and was going really well until almost near the end when I clipped a tree and ended up falling down a fairly steep bit of bank. I land heavily on my right leg and managed to grab a tree to stop myself from disappearing into the bush. I clambered back up the bank with the help of one of the girls, had a wee laugh at myself, and continued down knowing I'd hurt my bung knee a bit, but hoping it would be alright. I also had a pretty good bruise above my knee pad where my brake lever had decided to try and become one with me. I walked the stiffness off, and went through the bike on the trailer, body in the van sequence and we were back off up the hill. It was at the top of the hill that a couple of boys discovered why my bike felt so bad (its too embarrassing to say). With that sorted my bike felt heaps better and I pelted off down (actually up at the start) the track feeling much more confident. A little too confident in the wet as it turned out.

About a quarter of the way down I overcooked a little corner and ended up dangling from a tree with my right arm wedged through a couple of branches. I was a little concerned I might have seriously damaged it (after all my talk at work about breaking an arm), but it wasn't feeling grindy or too sore so I regathered my composure and continued down. Unfortunately I hadn't learned my lesson and was still going a bit too fast and went over a little bank a bit further down, but this wasn't very dramatic and at the time didn't even hurt. By the bottom I was feeling not very confident, but forced myself back into the van.

We had two more shuttle runs, where the track was getting increasingly wet and slippy and we were getting dirtier and colder. Both was good runs for me, a little on the slow side because of the wet (all the previous falling off), but I was feeling really stoked with my riding. After the 5th run there was a vote to have the timed run much earlier and we piled into the van for the last run of the day. We were all grinning and filthy and looking forward to showers.

It was really pouring for the timed run and the track was a bit like a river in most places. It was very cold at the top waiting for our turn. I was glad to get going before hypothermia set in. I whizzed off, and rode cleanly the whole way down, but I feel like I could have pushed it a bit more. My tumbles down the bank had left me a bit nervous and being further back in the line up the track was very slippery in places. I am a bit disappointed I didn't push harder, I think I could have gone a bit faster, but I didn't want to really hurt myself. At the bottom I was elated to be in one piece and have gotten right out of my comfort zone and tried something new. I was also muddier and wetter than I've EVER been in my life!

The prize giving took place not long after the last girl came down and we huddled around to hear the results. There were trophies (brilliant home-made ones) for fastest on both courses and for slowest overall (the captain planet Heart trophy) and rosettes for 2nd and 3rd on each track.

"And on the salvation track we had (from fastest to not so fastest):
Zoe - 11:21 Angie Strall - 12:02 Kathryn Campell - 12:11 Kade Mills - 12:22 Rachel - 12:48 Michelle Gil - 13:01 Melanie Dunlop - 13:44 Jude Ball - 14:00 Chloe Langly - 14:36 Joan Murphy - 15:12 Emma Wending - 16:36"

Finally there was a trophy for most special person, voted by the marshalls and organisers. I'm sure those closest to me will not be surprised to know I had the great honour of receiving this trophy. Yay! My first ever trophy which now has pride of place in my office. This was a brilliant day, with an amazing bunch of girls (and guys). I hope it happens again. I'm now sorer than I ever been after a day's riding and will be toddling off to physio to have my sholder and neck looked at.

One final piece of news. I've signed up for a gym near work and am going in today for my assessment, ah haha. I'm sure its going to make all my owies worse. What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger!

1 comment:

Muddy Water Jack said...

Hey, well done speed freak. You just have to learn a bit of moderation when you are getting carried away....hell, why should you. Keep having fun. Do stuff. Live life like there is no tomorrow! Hope you have got all the mud out, and the bike is clean too. I am pleased the organisers recognised what i know, you are a very special person, brave, determined (some may say stubborm - I have no idea where you get that from)and passionate. Keep it up, and keep doing the blog. Some of the best writing I have seen for a while.