I quit! … But I accept.
Sea Otter Classic #day2
40 mins Circuit Race
I woke up feeling a bit broken. Not only from a beaten up right side of my body, but also from sleeping on a thin mattress in a tent for 2 people [?]
The night before driving down to the Sea Otter race venue, I lost my lift. I then had to do a last minute car rental. And that set me back a whopping USD 700!!! That basically meant zero budget for accommodation for this 4 day event.
Magically, an Instagram friend, Janice, appeared and offered to share her tent on the camping grounds with me incl. everything I need for camping; mattress, sleeping bag, warm clothes, jacket, beanie, flash light, you name it, she’s got it covered. I have obviously never met her before. Big hearted woman ❤️
For those of you don’t know me well enough, I am NOT a camping girl ⛺️❌ It took a lot of courage to accept this offer.
Anyway, I take it as ‘an adventure’, knowing this is not ideal for performance.
THANK YOU Janice!
I survived the first night, but woke up broken, sore and now with a cold. I had no desire to race. I headed down to Shimano who kept my bike over night to get my Di2 out of crash mode and then went out on my warm up. 20 mins before start, my back shifters stopped working again. I rushed back through the crowds to the Shimano booth, who got my shifters working again (somewhat).
I am on the start line. I have no mojo. Today’s field a larger. Juniors, Cat 3, 4 and Masters together. At least twice as big as the Pro field.
We have a rather big hill on the circuit. All riders seem to be doing ‘tempo’ up the hill on every circuit. It suits me perfectly as I can then happily sit at the front. The fast downhill corkscrew is a different story though. I usually LOVE descending, but with the wind pulling hard on my 60mm rims and my still open wounds, I find myself not enjoying the downhill much.
On the second last lap (of 6 total), a breakaway forms on the top of the hill, on the other side from me, and I miss it. 3 masters women chase, so I have to go with them. As we reach the bottom of the hill, I am spent! I give up! Can’t be bothered with the suffering!
I ride the usual ‘tempo’ up the hill as I get closer and closer to the 3 masters women. Damn, they don’t ride well on that climb, why did I give up??? I chase and chase down towards the finish, but I am still spent.
I finish 4th place Masters Cat (of 14 total).
I have no regrets and no excuses. But reality is that I gave up on the last lap. I gave up instead of digging in. And really that’s not good enough. No mojo. It is what it is. I accept #keepsmiling
Before, during and after my first ever (unsupported) ultra cycling race, BikingMan Oman, 1000km with 7,200m elevation meters, I said it countless times; selling it to myself and also attempting to convince others (who just looked at me and laughed… “yeah yeah… you have no idea, just wait and see”), I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN!
Ultra cycling is one the most ridiculous thing I have ever done in my life.
I’ll tell you why:
- It’s long, it’s stupid long, there is just no need to cycle that long, what for?
- It’s lonely. Yes, the actual event is lonely, from start line to finish line, but that I don’t mind that so much, because something happens when the gun goes off and I know I have to deal with myself and my mission, totally alone. This is actually a unique opportunity to learn about one self. In my opinion, it is more so the demands of the training which is the harder part. Because how can you possibly ask someone or anyone not into ultra “hey, you fancy going on a 8hr slow ride?” Hell no they don’t! Training is ultimately long and lonely. And this is even coming from someone who is very comfortable in her own company and even so often prefer yet. Yet, I still think it is lonely at another level. Do I enjoy the long and lonely training – and the long and lonely drives to training? Not that much.
- It’s painful. Yes, it’s going to be painful. It will probably happen to most riders. We just deal with it. And then we heal. But during the times of dealing with the pain and no way to escape it, again I swear to myself; I will never do it again!
- Wet, cold, tired, even freezing. How about dealing with bad weather? There’s no escape. Fun? No!
- Mechanical issues. Well well, if you are not a bike mechanic, or like myself, don’t have any interest in repairing bikes, well then you might be screwed.
- Organizational stress. Organizing a million small things; some mandatory, some personally selected, some I don’t have a clue if I will need or not. To carry it, or not to carry it? What if? This might be useful, but what if I’m not going to need it? Borrowing from other riders. Asking for help. Getting help. Argh… It’s stressful. Stressful organizing. Stressful packing. I have said twice now (as I head off to my 2nd Ultra Race); I will not do it again!
So this is the reason why I am going back. I can’t stop where I started. I am not satisfied. I need to know for myself if I can do better. If you remember from Oman, I rocked up with ‘all the gear and no idea’. I jumped on the bike and started pedaling into the unknown. I had ups and downs, I has mechanical issues and I had pain. I was on a mission to learn about myself, and I dealt with every situation as it appeared. In the latter part of the course (final 300km), I hit race mode, flicked my psycho switch and will-powered (because there was zero physical power left) through the ridiculous Omani hills, crossing the finish line Top 10 overall and 2nd Woman (53 mins after female winner Jasmijn Muller). I was overwhelmed and surprised, but admittedly pretty chuffed with that result for my first ever ultra. I remember my exact feeling at the finish; Good I did so well, I have now proved to myself that I can do ultra cycling well and there is no need to do it again!
Was I physically strong in Oman? I am not sure. Was I mentally strong? Yes. Was in control of myself and my situation? Absolutely yes. Was it beginners luck? No, I had plenty of problems along the way. Was I efficient? No (not enough). Did I waste more than 53 mins? I would say yes. Do I know where I wasted time? Absolutely yes = unfinished business.
I have to know.
I went to Oman as a beginner. I will now go to Corsica with experience. I am by no means an expert, it takes years and many races to build solid experience. But I have one ultra race under my belt and I know where I should be able to save time (as long as it is within my control). I want to know how I do with my time saving strategies, if I will be able to cover the entire course faster, if I can handle it mentally and physically (there is also risk of breaking down) and if I can be efficient, when there is also the option to take it easy.
BikingMan Corsica – 700km w/ 13,000m elevation.
This is not Oman. This is Corsica. It’s way more hilly, it’s colder, it’s wetter. There may even be encounters with angry stray dogs. I have never been to Corsica, but it also looks absolutely stunning, I hope I will be able to take in the breathtaking views and not miss too many beautiful places while I pass during night time. Once again I will be heading into unknown territory, geographically. But this time, I believe I know what to expect, from myself. I believe I know my ultra cycling strengths and weaknesses, to a certain extend. I have mentally prepared myself for above mentioned reasons for not doing it; loneliness, potential bad weather and PAIN.
I aim to go all in. Push myself harder than Oman. Enjoy the dot watching.
Race starts 29th April 2019 at 5am GMT+1