Monday, November 14, 2011

Trying New Things

One of my favorite things about belonging to Team Blaze Spokane is that there are so many opportunities to mentor and be mentored. Our club is full of knowledgeable and inspirational people who are excited to help others succeed. One such person is Angie Fesser. Several times this year she has invited me to try cyclocross (correctly guessing that I would love it). When I told her I had no mountain or cyclocross bike she lent me her own bike. When I admitted that I was really unsure about my ability to stay tire-side-down on a course with no pavement she arranged a midweek ride out at seven mile to help me get comfortable with some basic off road skills. On a side note: All the things that I read about in Bicycling Magazine turned out to work in real life. Shifting your weight to gain traction, shifting gears ahead of time on a hill, and most of all if you stare at the giant rock in your path (instead of a line around it) you will ride right into it(sorry Phil).

So with that much encouragement I had to show up Sunday morning and try it out. David and I drove up to Walter's Fruit Ranch in Greenbluff. After signing up and buying my one day licence (which I was supposed to return afterwards but forgot) I geared up in my Team Blaze jersey (lent to me by Angie since I only have a tri top and that was not going to work weather wise). I met up with Angie, Janelle and Phil who passed along encouragement and tips before we got out there and rode most of one loop to see the course. Thank you Phil for suggesting we come early enough to do that, it really made a difference.

I was shivering at the start but couldn't tell if it was the biting wind or nerves. Probably some combination of the two. Once the officials blew the whistle for our wave I was fine but somewhat disappointed to find myself in very last place (definitely need to work on the start). Since I knew we would be out there for half an hour I tried not to worry about it and just rode. It was so fun! Scary but fun. I did have a couple of mishaps on corners where my back tire slid out, but for the most part I did okay bike-handling wise. I could have been a little more aggressive about passing people (going around on the narrow track worried me so I stayed behind even though I could have gone faster, especially uphill). The last lap was hard because the high level of effort maintained for that long made my brain not as able to coordinated the more technical stuff with my body. I did pass all of my teammates but not the other woman who was doing her first ever solo race (she was an avid mountain biker and had done the 24hr race). It was really great to hear a bunch of our friends out there cheering too. Rob and Lisa and Jenny and Jessica all came just to watch and cheer, how great is that?

I loved it! I finished up coated with dirt but wearing a giant smile (which meant I had dirt in my teeth). I may have a new obsession (its probably good that the season winds down with one more race in CDA this weekend-I don't really have time for another hobby at the moment). Combined with the Fall Folk Festival (at which I learned some basics of belly dancing) it was a really great weekend!

1 comment:

Spokane Al said...

Very nice Nicole - congratulations! P.S. I did not realize that you have a blog - I will add it to my Google Reader so that I don't miss out on future posts.