racing
Leave a Comment

There is no reasoning with bees.

My mom and her friends have started twittering haikus, so in honor of her and the other ladies I admire so much, I’m going to give it a try. Behold my very own crankworx-themed haiku:

choose your own start time

sacrifice skin to the rocks

pain face offends bees?

I don’t know much about haikus, but I suspect they serve more purpose to their writers than their readers. I guess that’s the case with most literature, but I think it’s especially true with haikus. Unfortunately for you, this is my blog, not yours. Sorry!

I went to Crankworx this weekend with a kamikaze attitude. My week had been stressful and I saw the race as a good opportunity vent my frustration; I didn’t look at the course, barely registered in time, and slept through my hard workout mid-week, citing mental health and ice cream as excuses. Despite having my friends Kim and Marcus visiting from Seattle to help me fight off the crazies, I was looking forward to a good old-fashioned sufferfest, and as always Winter park delivered. I ended up not only hurting sufficiently, but hurting in many more ways than I ever could have expected. I was writing poems in my head mid-race, if that gives you an idea of how things went- it was another good day on the bike.

Let’s start with line one of my haiku. Now don’t get me wrong; usually I prefer the same start time as the girls I race with- it reflects favorably on my finish time.Yet sometimes I just think it’s more fun to give them a ten minute head start so I can elbow my way through four staging categories…

Kidding. I totally didn’t mean to miss my start. I don’t even know how it happened, and the only excuse I can come up with is that it was a gorgeous morning. It hadn’t started off that way; we woke up to a yard full of thick, mysterious fog. It was freezing cold, damp, and the visibility on the drive over was horrible. I’d packed all my warm clothes and was dreading another ride in my knee warmers (I’d vowed off them after the spring in Montana) when the  clouds magically parted and we were left with a technicolor day, accented with only the occasional whisp of cloud. I was pedalling happily back and forth on the road, admiring the greenness and blueness of everything when it started to dawn on me that I hadn’t seen another female rider in a while. The rest is pretty predictable; I sprinted to staging, fought my way through a bunch of casually chatting riders, and frantically began my race alone, already ten minutes off the back.

Luckily I wasn’t feeling bad. I had juice to spare on the first climb, catching a girl before the top and generally riding pretty well. I began to cultivate a little fantasy of not only catching but passing the entire pack, and was starting to think that maybe missing my start was all I needed to light that fire in my belly. Little did I know what the rest of the day had in store.

Lets move on to the second line of my brilliant poem. (it is pretty good, for a haiku, isn’t it?) After the climb I went flying into the first descent with a vengeance- it was steep, slick, and full of rough bouncy stuff. I was having  a blast riding it like a crazy person until I crashed, after which point I rode (as they say) like a small child. I do crash all the time, but this was slightly worse than usual. It was one of those falls where you just have to pause to collect your limbs (is my kneecap still attached?) and try to salvage what’s left of your dignity (am I dirty enough to cover that hole in my shorts?) You know you’re sitting in the middle of the trail, in the mud, in the way of the next rider, but standing up is out of the question because you’re pretty sure you just broke something major and you can’t find your bike. In short, I got rocked, and that combined with the fact that I already had a ten-minute hole to crawl out of did nothing good for my morale.

It took many miles and most of the singlespeed category (passing me) to get my mojo back, but the Winter Park trails don’t lend themselves to riding like a small child. Even after having ridden all over, I still think they’re some of the most challenging, aesthetic, and flowy trails in the world; you can only sulk for so long up there. I was just starting to have fun again when I recieved my third smackdown.

Line three of my haiku: the bee. The thing about bees is that there is no reasoning with them- they strike at will, and the injustice of it all is often more shocking than the actual pain. I have been stung by a bee one other time in my life; not during an attack on a beehive as one might assume, but at a soccer tournament, on my leg. I screamed. Then a few years later I rode with a girl who was stung in the mouth mid-pedal, and barely batted an eyelash. I felt like a wimp and decided that I would never scream about another sting, no matter how unsound the bee’s logic might seem. Thus, when Saturday’s bee took an issue with my face (which might actually be understandable, as I tend to make deeply unattractive faces when I’m riding hard) and defended itself right below my eye, I did not scream. However I did paw at my face like a bear for about a mile before finally stopping to ask a spectator to pick out the stinger.

It was at this point; standing on the side of the trail ten minutes behind any competition, bleeding out of my knees, and having a stranger pick at my face, that I just gave in to the comedy of it all.

Eventually stinger-free, I continued on my way, content to enjoy the greenness and blueness of everything, which is maybe what I should have been doing with that day to begin with. The course was one of the coolest I’ve ever raced, and I was happy for the chance to appreciate the remainder of it.

Sometimes all you can do is write a haiku and move on.

Next up: mudfest ’09. Mount Snow and Windham, here I come!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s