Alafia alafia alafia - I came, I saw, I got weak. The stage was set - perfect trail conditions and weather; training has been consistent; got my Ells back thanks to AJ's Bikes; lined up on the front row at the start, got a start at the middle of the pack and then wussed out. During the long straight-away at the beginning of the race to horseshoe and even during horseshoe, I did not take advantage of the opportunities to pass and move up a couple of spots. Instead I got weak and settled in behind slower riders. This would have left me more tired at the beginning of the race but in retro spect I think I would have been ok. This settling probably cost me 30 seconds. I got comfortable instead of aggressive and it cost me.
When we hit the more technical sections I was stuck behind slower riders and couldn't move up. I was able to pass some riders and then I settled in behind a couple of riders in my class and rode the race on their rear wheel basically. We passed other slower riders but I did not challenge the two in front of me. Not that they were too slow for me, just a little, little bit. Thats the problem. I settled for the comfort zone instead of pushing myself. Its a race, there shouldn't be a comfort zone. Thats the hurdle I have to overcome. Of course you can't go all out a blow yourself up and bonk but there is that level of exertion that you can feel inside where you know you can go. When you ride in a group of faster riders and your bringing up the rear you end up going faster and harder than you thought you could go. You push yourself. The faster riders will drag you around. You thank God when they slow the pace down a little. Its the best way to improve. Ride with people faster than you.
At the start of the season the goals were to get in shape for the 12 hour at Razorback next year. This past years race was a pretty dismal performance at the race as know one on the team put much effort into it and when it was over we realised that we haven't been riding enough and need to make a better show for next year. So one of the guys says lets do the race series, and here I am. The season started and it was seriously a challenge to finish the race. As the weeks go by you get stronger and stronger. You learn some of the ins and outs of racing. Its all fun and games but you get feeling like you can take that rider in front of you. He jams you on a climb, you see him just up in front of you, sometimes you are even faster than him, usually he is stronger than you and thats why he is in front.
It comes back to that feeling inside. You know the energy level that you feel. Did you use all that you had? If you didn't, you want to kick yourself after the race if it would have made a difference in the place that you finished in. Thats what happened to me. I came in 10'th place, not bad but #8 and #9 were seconds in front of me. I could have and I should have. Regrets. I left some on the course. You look at the race results and the standings and you just want to do better.
Original Ellsrider and Special K both did well, finishing #6 and #7. Special K winning the race within the race. Both did really good. There times were 5- 6 minutes faster than mine. Strong! Doesn't look like I will be passing Original Ellsrider anytime soon. Next race in two weeks. Another new course for me, I believe it is at Oleta.