Sunday, September 14, 2008

Metaphor—Highland Park Race Report

Kisscross is a metaphor for life. At least today's race was. The amount of adversity I was met with mirrored what's been happening with my life lately, and it wasn't pretty. I awoke to pouring rain. I loaded my bike in the car in pouring rain. I drove to Grand Rapids in pouring rain. I got ready in pouring rain. Finally, I raced in pouring rain.
I can, with all certainty say, hands down, without a doubt, that this was my worst race ever. The weather conditions were bad (some would say perfect), I was bummed that I had to go by myself, my bike didn't want to shift and I didn't feel the least bit strong. You could say that things were conspiring against me to make me quit. I didn't feel well last night and I didn't sleep much. I had a million reasons to stay home today, but I wanted to race, so I went anyway.
Instead of wallowing in how crappy my race was, I decided to make it a learning experience and try to glean something good from it. Here's what I learned:
  1. A little preparation goes a long way. Conversely, no preparation doesn't go very far. The fact of the matter is, the first time I looked at my cross bike since last season was this morning when I got it out of the garage. The fact that there were cobwebs on it and that my rear tire had no air in it whatsoever should have been an indicator that it wasn't in stellar repair.
  2. I need to be more self-sufficient when it comes to my bikes. Not only do I not feel capable of doing simple repairs and maintenance, I don't even know enough about what's appropriate and not appropriate that I can look at my bike without knowing something's wrong. This was evidenced by my friend Frank's consternation when he saw what tires I was using today. I still have no idea what was wrong with them. The reality is, my husband is not always available, and I'm not girly in most other ways, so I might as well stop acting so helpless about my bike.
  3. I'm not a quitter anymore. It probably seems like a small thing to other people who race all the time and who have more guts and stamina than me. However, for me, compared with where I've been, I feel like I've come a long way, baby. I convinced myself during the last Kisscross season that quitting a race because I was tired, out of breath, out of shape, etc. was not acceptable. I did give myself an out for mechanicals, though, and at sometime during the second lap of today's race, I couldn't shift my bike at all. Every time I tried, the chain started skipping and jumping around like crazy. I finally quit shifting completely. A fleeting thought went through my head about how good an excuse it would be to DNF. I just couldn't do it, though. As bad as I felt, I knew I would feel a hundred times worse if I stopped before I finished my four laps.
I ended up finishing 26 out of 26 (DFL). But tomorrow, I'm going to take my bike in to get looked at, and it's going to be ready for the next race, even if I'm not. I'm also going to try to get my life in order. Because I figured out today that stress from my work, no matter how bad it is, should not be an excuse to let the rest of my life turn to crap, anymore than shifting issues should be a reason to quit a Kisscross race.
(Don't look for me in any of these photos, because I'm not in any of them. I took all these during the B race because I didn't have anyone there to take my photo today. At least you can get an idea of what the course was like from these.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chris made a promise in a previous blog that your bike would be ready.Kinda like the Mayor of Detroit who did not have "Text" with that woman. You need to take your bike to Comins and have Kenny Bellhorn tune it up. I hear he knows a lot about bikes.