First Race, First Fall
Since August I’ve been fretting about last year’s promise to ride in the State Cyclocross Championships. As the race date crept closer, I tried to think of ways to get out of it. This morning I got up early to ride the course by myself, and that finally made up my mind. It wasn’t terribly difficult, and the high temperature was projected to reach almost 50 degrees. A beautiful day to ride. I would do it–my first race, ever.
I don’t have a lot to say about the event except that someone’s got to come in last, and today that someone was me. I really didn’t expect to place, being new to racing. My goals were twofold: 1) to finish, and 2) to ride at least two laps. I achieved both. Towards the end, I added 3) don’t get lapped by the leaders. I achieved that goal, too, but just barely. Their hot breath was on my heels at the finish.
No ride is uneventful. The next-to-last racer was still within reach when I fell trying to get back on the bike at the top of the Mound of Mercy. The mind was willing but the legs had had enough and wouldn’t clear the seat while trying to re-mount. I went down. The spectators were great, though. One who knew it was my first race said, “First fall. First of many!” That remark put it into perspective. Clearly he knew what it was like to fall (and fall often) in front of spectators. I got back on the bike and rode my heart out. To last place. But with three goals achieved. Four, if you count riding the race at all.