“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself – the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us – that’s where it’s at.”

-Jesse Owens

I can now mark off another goal! I did it- I raced my first cross country mountain bike race and had a insanely good time doing it. Yes there are bruises (but I bruise easily and all the time), yes I feel like I feel like the tin man needing oil in my joints, and yes there were times when I had clipped out and just thought about laying down on and taking a wee little nap on the course but it was all worth it and I cant wait to do it again.

I got 6/6 for Cat3 women. I’m really happy with that. You may say- ‘umh, you mean you are happy with DFL?”. Heck yeah I am and if you are saying DFL (dead f*ing last) then you have no idea what this race was about. Everyone has a starting point, everyone has to start at beginner, and someone has to finish last. I am cool with hitting all three of those points. I finished last with a big huge smile on my face, ready to do another lap and not wanting to unclip from my pedals. I finished and was able to watch some of my teammates, who were in my same spot not that long ago, rip the dirt up like madwomen out there. I raced 5 other women, all of whom have been racing for a while. I knew some from the dirt derby races in Austin (which made it really fun for my first race) and they are fast.

I’m proud of my finish and proud that I did it. I freaking beat every chick who’s talked about doing it and didnt get off their bums and do it.

I kicked dirt (metaphorically) at all the big sunglasses-small doggie-fake nail girls who come out to races and watch their boyfriends race but wouldnt get dirty unless it was with a facial mud mask (ok, there’s one girl in particular that I saw this weekend I’m thinking of here but in general the mtb-girlfriends are not like that).

I stepped up and did what I had started out to do.

We took off as a group of 8- 6 from C3, 30-39, one 20-29, and one 14 year old. I held 3rd for about 20 seconds, 4th for about 1.5 minutes, and the enjoyed seeing the strength and confidence of the other women pass me and worked to keep up as I was in the very back. I worked my way back up in to 5th and held it for a nice while until the switchbacks. I have skills to work on and they will come. The woman who got 5th only got me by less than 30seconds so I feel good about that. It was all about skill. I think I was stronger on the climbs than her and sickly stronger on the downhills (one of the only places where my hands are completely off the breaks) but she had the skills and handling to get around the corners much better than I did. Props to her and all the women in my group. It was a damn good time girls, a damn good time!

Two big things checked off in less that a month makes me pumped!
First Half Ironman- October 5th
First Mbt Cross Country Race- October 26th.

Next up for me- Dirty Derby for some Halloween Fun. I’m going as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and zip tying on a basket with my stuffed animal dog. Off to see the wizard….

Also, the bike finally let me know his name. I guess after the race it finally came to me. Fionn after Fionn mac Cumhaill, and Irish warrior-myth-legend I read about in my Irish tales books as a kid. My road bike is named Fianna after Fionn’s most loyal and dedicated warriors. It is an easy fit for the bike. I was thinking today about how it is such a strong and tough bike and helps me climb over roots and rocks and that made my spastic mind go to Giant’s Causeway which then brought the bikes true name to me.