I was having a tough time deciding what to do yesterday evening. I had tickets to the Nationals game against the Rockies and I also had my 4th and final mountain bike race in the series at Wakefield. What actually made my decision tough was that I couldn't find anyone to use my Nats tickets. At lunch yesterday, I was able to get rid of them to a co-worker, so everything fell into place and I went to the race.
When I got to Wakefield and got out of my car, I knew that it was going to be a tough race because my back was aching a bit. I went up to let them know I was here, then took off to warm up a bit. I didn't see quite as many people this race as there were at number 3. I put my gloves in my camelback for a little bit, but then I went to get in line for the race and forgot to put them back on! I realized that halfway up the big hill at the start. When I got to my grid position, I wanted to make sure that I was in the 2nd row this week instead of the 3rd row last week. And then off went the Expert men. There was only 1 Expert woman, so she decided that she would start with us Sport men.
I got a pretty good start up the hill this time and was probably about 15th going into the single track. Then I got caught behind a slow rider. I didn't realize it, but we had about 6 of us in line behind him. We finally got around and another guy got past me, so I followed him for a bit. I definitely wasn't feeling very strong at this point. My back was aching, but it wasn't really causing my problems, and my legs were tired. I finally realized that I had pushed myself really hard in the race on Sun. I didn't feel it just walking around, but it was noticable when I got on the bike!
The expert woman went past me at somepoint on the first lap and then she took off, with me struggling to keep her in sight. A few people passed me and I passed a few of them back on later laps. It was about the beginning of the 2nd lap when I realized that my back tire was way too low and that was causing me handling problems. Oh well, I would just have to deal with it. So 49:22 after the start, I crossed the line for the last time. This was about 1:30 faster than last week!! When I saw the results and could compare my times, I was shocked. I felt so much slower last night, not faster. And on the 3rd lap, I didn't really have anyone at the end to follow to push me along.
This race had a few less people, 34 instead of 40, start the race. But I came in 17th instead of 23rd. So I broke the top 20 like I wanted too, but I was still right about the middle of the pack when it came down to it. I was happy to have done the race, but not as happy after the finish, thinking I was really slow. Afterwards I was starving, so it was off to Bungalow to get a burger and meet my friend, "anti-blog" Todd for a drink. I told him about the blog, and he wasn't a fan of the idea. We'll see if he reads this and has anything to say in his defense! Also, the Nats lost, so I think I made the better choice in my dilema. :)