As you, loyal blog reader, well know, I’ve been running the past month. Not cycling—running. That was partly due to the rain and partly to the fact that I agreed to run a 5-mile leg of a relay race (which I did three weekends ago). Most of my runs were a half hour or shorter. And, of course, the last long run I did left me injured. So I didn’t even do much running in the two weeks before the running race. I know, this isn’t making sense yet. Keep reading.
Truthfully, I haven’t done much of anything physical—running, riding, rugby—for longer than an hour this year. I just haven’t had time. I’ve been pretty busy. So that’s all I’ve had time to do. To top it off, I replaced my shock fork with a rigid fork earlier this year for geometry reasons (normal-length wheelbase, etc.), so I take a beating when I descend on that bike.
But on top of all of that, I didn’t have a lot of time on the Fourth of July. And when I told my wife the beginner’s race was one lap, as opposed to two or three, she said, "Do the beginner’s race then—just don’t win."
So I did. I entered the beginner, or Cat 3 if you prefer, division at the WYDAHO mountain bike race, which I’ve never ridden before. I figured since it was so close to Jackson, Wyoming, I wouldn’t be even close to being one of the faster riders there anyway. And I probably wasn’t. But the faster riders, it seems, were all doing one or two more laps than I was doing. I say that because I won my division. Easily. Like, by three minutes. Despite having spent a lot of time on the singletrack behind some slow ascenders and having been misdirected and forced to stand around for probably a minute or two at the finish.
Truth be told, I was the only beginner in the 30-39 age bracket, so all I really had to do to win was finish, but I managed to beat out all of the other beginners as well.
So … I guess I’m curious: Does this make me a (dun dun dun) SANDBAGGER? Is it such a crime that I like SHORTER RACES? Or that I really prefer not to train for more than, say, 90 minutes? Or that I like to wear baggy, beginner-looking shorts and a t-shirt when I race my mountain bike?
Yup, I know. The answer to all of the above questions is "Yes." Nonetheless, I’m not entering an intermediate, sport or "cat 2" race until I get a bike with a decent amount of suspension and a proper wheelbase length. Until that time, my lower back will be making that decision for me.