Before the underdog Eagles took home the Super Bowl win, I took home a third-place trophy in the Women’s Elite class at Round 1 of the National Enduro Series in Sumter, S.C.
Ray Newton Photography
What a day to remember. Turns out, waking up Monday morning after celebrating my accomplishment of feeling like one always feels after racing a 60-mile enduro – if you don’t know … – I actually finished fourth even though I was recognized on the podium with a third-place trophy the day before.
Oh, well. I’d achieved my goal of a top five finish, and that alone motivates me to put in more effort for the next one. See, you learn a lot about yourself racing a 60-mile enduro, like how I need to do more squats and lower back exercises, and the vice grip machine I bought to use at my desk worked wonders on my grip!
You learn a lot before and after the race, too, from how many snacks and bottles of water to bring, to what muscles will start cramping first and which part of your body will ache most the next day. I wondered what it would be like to NOT be sore after a race as I dreamed of riding my motorcycle for a living one day and training on the bike more than once a week.
Throughout the race, I challenged myself to stay tuned in to the world around me without letting my mind wander off like it did exactly 365 days before when I broke my arm there last year. The track was made up of generous pine rows that were so tight in spots I struggled wiggling my handlebars through. I benefited by staying calm and focusing on my surroundings and body positioning on the bike, trying drastically to move high up on the seat and force my front end around the tight corners. The course provided a variety of obstacles for me to become more competitive in multiple areas, specifically soaking wet log crossings, which will make a huge difference once mastered at speed.
This time, my mindfulness-like attention training helped me to stay connected and balanced on the bike, which made me more confident in my riding ability, and rewarded me with that short-lived third-place* finish, and only one giant crash of the day.
*Even though I ended up fourth, I impressed myself with my ability to stay calm and not overthink, especially in the midst of a cold, wet and rainy day. I was honored by my pit crew’s support; enduro spectators only get to see their rider for about an hour total across the 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. contest.
With a month until my next race, it’s time to dust off the ol’ pedal bike, after my dad reminded me that mountain biking is how he “got fast.”
For me, I got fast by training with someone faster; with seconds between our times at more than one of my five checkpoints, I’m full of gratitude and especially encouraged to stay as close as possible and finish out the rest of the 10-round season successfully.
Throwback to my summer ride in Colorado with Seat Time Adventures