it was 99 degrees at the venue yesterday afternoon when i finished my bike race.
i wasn't sure how i was going to do because my blood pressure felt a little high, but not crazy high like on tuesday when i didn't finish the run. and it was hot.
but barb had bumped down to one lap and i thought maybe it would be a little like old times. a long time ago she used to kick my butt, every time. and then for a while she only finished just ahead of me, every time.
and then i trained real hard and left her in the dust.
and then not so much.
i can't even keep her in sight anymore, but i'm working to keep up with her sometimes maybe.
and last night since we started in the same wave i rode like i was on fire to keep her in view and didn't lose her until moosepoop but i was rolling very fast (for me) but when i caught mike on the smooth singletrack he said she'd gone by maybe four minutes ahead, so i knew that i could ride until my heart blew up and i wasn't going to catch her.
now here's a thing about our race venue: they put us all out on the course at the same time.
if you ride half lap, you start at 6:00. if you ride two laps, you start at 6:15. one lap riders go out at 6:17, and four and three lap riders go out at 6:30 and 6:32.
if you are a former national downhill champion and 70 years old, if you are a former national cx champ and you are 55 years old, if you are a retired four-time tour de france finisher, a middle aged lady, a someday professional hopeful, or a seven year old girl with fringe on your handlebars, you ride the same course, at the same time.
there are no prizes for winning, but there are prizes for showing up every week.
and after i lost barb, i started looking for that kid on the orange bike. the one that rides like a demon because he doesn't care if you're older than his mom; he wants to beat you.
see, certain places on that course i NEED to be ahead of that kid. it's not abut pride. i know he will toast me before it's done.
but i am heavy and carry a lot of inertia. i fly downhill and am skilled on a singletrack. i CANNOT afford to give up any momentum because i'm stuck behind a 50 pund kid+. i just can't. so i go real hard while i can, just to keep him behind me on the downhills because speed you lose is speed you have to make up and i don't have that much to spare.
but last night he didn't catch me until just AFTER ridgerun and since i was having a good night, i busted a hump catching him up on cliffs of insanity (trail map) and i said, between gasps for air:
"hey, kid. i want you to ride like hell and when you catch up to the lady in the ben and jerry's shirt, i want you to tell her "tag, you're it." i can't catch her, but i think you can."
and he said "i think i can!" and he was off like a blaze.
at the finish line he told me he didn't get her in time.
there'll be other weeks, i told him.
and thanks for the pull.
pull, i explained, is often what we call it when a rider ahead of you makes you ride faster than you otherwise would. and i said that catching him had been my pull.
and the light came on in his eyes and he said "yeah. thanks for the pull".
and we looked over at barb and i said "she's tougher than she looks, isn't she?"
"yeah, she is.", he said.