Of crash, cramp, and confession at
Race day again and true to TA tradition, I had to do something stupid like having a BBQ and stay up late before the race. The BBQ was good, fellow Absolutee Lippy was
very generous to offer his place and his dogs for company. But after the BBQ and the pouring rain,I honestly
didn't feel like riding, let alone racing the next day.
Sunday, woke up at 7 in the morning to gloomy sky, was hoping to hear thunder
and see flashes but it didn't happen. I told fellow Absolutee Bruce at the BBQ that I'll
would race if it didn't rain. Well, it hadn't and I had to keep to my word, so I hauled myself out of bed at 7.55 am,
still hoping the heavens would suddenly open but they didn't. I quickly put on my tights and jersey and load my bike in the car.
Amazingly when I arrived at the track entrance, Bruce
had just got there and he too was not in the racing frame of mind. He had his prata for breakfast, not
the best choice of fuel b4 a race. I was running on empty since I woke up too late. I
wished I had Hammergel for a quick fix but all I had was water with me. So, we rolled to the starting line only to realized that I didn't have my helmet and my gloves and so I thought great, I have a valid excuse now. Unfortunately, ever helpful BKC
(or SPD) was there and offered me the use of his helmet and gloves. But I couldn't find BKC
before the roll call, and again, Bruce denied me reason not to start with his spare gloves and helmet. Geez, why do these people carry spare helmets
and gloves around? Fellow Absolutee and ever reliable Wheelie Mike was there too, cheerful and ready to race.
I was determined not to fall too far behind this time since my old strategy of taking it easy in
the beginning had never paid off.
The trail was great on the first lap, a little
damp but not enough to cause problems. By end of lap 1, I was still feeling fresh and
was in sixth position which is about as high up as I can honestly hoped for. As I
neared the starting point, I could hear Team Absolut being mentioned over the speakers,
so I knew either Wheelie or Bruce were doing well ahead of me. I took consolation
in the fact that I was was not that far behind since I could hear the MC. It was encouraging to hear people egging me on at the start line, not just from fellow Absolutees but other riders. Now, I always felt racing is a waste of my time since I'm not good enough to be in the top 10
but then the camaraderie among mountain bikers keeps me coming back
Lap 2. I was getting hungry! I was disgusted
with myself that I could actually think of roti prata in the midst of a bike race. I
felt a little tired but I was able to maintain my position. No problem, but now
was a lonely race for me as usual. Nobody within sight in front or behind me. I
was pleasantly surprised to see fellow Absolutee BillyGoat there taking pictures of me suffering up
the climb. Just another typical bike racer, a closet sadist. We seem to have many of
those in Team Absolut, always ready to inflict pain on fellow teammates in our club rides and grin at the same time. Of course, I did my best to smile and not let the pain show.
Lap 3. Getting very tired. Slowed down lots and all I wanted to
do was to finish. How I wish the race was only 3 laps. Track was getting soft and muddy, my bike was getting heavier, my legs were feeling weaker, the drivetrain starting
to ghost shift, and the chain was getting sticky. Every little incline felt long and painful and my chain protested with violent chain-suck and my thighs protested with more lactic acid. And most
disappointingly, 2 riders passed me and saw Bruce DNFed because of chainsuck. Ahh, finally downhill and a banked turn. I just loved banked
turns. They're so fun and then without warning... Crash! Before I had any time to react, my head hit the ground hard, and that's it! I don't know what happened and without warning, I was
scraping the ground. "Maybe I should not like banked turns so
much," I thought. I was glad the ground was soft and no one was behind me as I was
prostrate across the entire track in a blind corner. Picked myself up and felt a slight twitching of thigh muscle. I knew this
was not a good sign.
Lap 4.Rode slowly on fourth lap as the twitching
gots more frequent and muscles tightening up. Saw one rider pass, then another, there was nothing I could do. I was tired, my
legs hurt and I couldn't respond. Right thigh muscle was really knotting up and I was
glad to cross the finishing line, whatever position it may be. And immediately as I
relaxed, my thigh muscle cramped up and I fell to the ground. It was 3 minutes of hell as I
couldn't move. The first-aiders did a wonderful job with some muscle spray and massage. I was really
grateful too to this Caucasian girl who volunteered her expert massaging skill. Now, I really
hate massages but today, it actually felt good. I was sprawled on the ground
to the amusement of fellow Absolutees. See, I told you they were
Will I do the race again? If you asked me after this race, I said no, but every year,
I keet coming back for more. It's not winning that drives me 'cos I'm not even good enough to break into the top five at my best, but I have a confession to make, I am an adrenalin junkie or maybe an endorphin addict who just need my weekly fix. So much so that I even agreed to join
fellow Absolutees in my first road race next week.