I’ve never been the type to approach things in a logical fashion.  Sunday for example I raced the Shawnee Mission Mayhem, a mtb race.  For one, I don’t own a mountain bike, I haven’t ridden a mountain bike in a good 4-5 years and the closest thing to a real mountain bike race has been the Lawrence River Trails race.  Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a mtb race too, it’s not mountanish by any means, and it’s conducive to cx bikes, plus I’ve raced there with various degrees of success (2 podium spots).

A friend asked if I wanted to borrow his bike and race the Shawnee Mission Mayhem, to which I agreed, knowing it’s been ages since I road trails or used a mountain bike.  Now, most people would think they would need to train first, maybe ride a mountain bike or go ride the trails before hand, nooo, not me.  I know it wouldn’t be easy or pretty but I did it anyway and could have done much worse.

Aside from the wicked heat, 100 plus, if you factor in the heat index, my biggest problem would be the rock gardens.  I’m a complete chicken shit when it comes to those.  I actually walked them a few times, there would have been no chance in hell that I could have ridden those things without breaking my neck.

It’s not like I’ve ever raced before, I do it all the time, but on completely different machines.  Duhh!  Cx and road bikes are quite similar, so it’s not difficult to go back and forth on them, but a mountain bike is set up completely different.  No drop bars, you sit upright, the front fork is all squishy, you have nifty disk brakes and you can rollover almost anything, objects my cx bike would never think of treading.

It’s not just rock gardens that give me pause for concern, it’s also hitting trees.  For the most part, if you hit them, your going down or smashing into them or smacking into parts of your bike, say your ribs into the stem.  I hit a good 4-5 good sized trees, and didn’t go down once, they knocked me form my saddle a few times.  I’ve got a lovely collection of bruises and sore ribs to show for my hour and twenty-two minutes of racing. These ribs are sore, I hope they are not cracked!

Calling that racing is pushing it.  I gave it all I had for the first 2/3 of the race, I hit the last tree and decided to phone the rest in.  I know I’m going to do poorly (12th of 15), winning is a complete delusion, I just want to hold off the women and juniors behind me, and not let those stragglers behind me in my race catch me. I’m sure as fuck not quitting if there are people still behind me, not gonna happen!!

Like I said, I dialed it back during the last third of the race, I know what will happen if I keep pushing like I did at the River Trails duathalon.  I overexerted myself and blacked out at the end, I don’t remember a good 10 minutes of that race and the 15 minutes or so afterwards, not good!

Other things that passed through my head as I’m riding.

  •  Drinking a water bottle is stupid hard, I now know why nearly everyone wears a Camel Back of some type. Go home and order one!
  • Get this race done, and I can go home and float around in the pool!
  • Get this race done and have a beer
  • Get this race done and have lunch.
  • Get this race done and not black out.
  • Get this race done and never do one again when It’s over 100.
  • You can usually tell what type of race it is just by hearing the name.*Mountain bike races have really tough / dangerous names; Mayhem, Lost   Valley, Rapture in Misery, Burning, Bone Bender…*CX races are full of cross related puns; ‘Cross Off The Year, ‘Cross Off      Cancer, ‘Chris Cross…

    * Road races go for the more euro sounding names; lots of tours of   somewhere, Grand Prix, Perry Roubix, Grand Fondo…