Try doing something new.

Do something that scares you.

Each season, and sometimes multiple times in a season, I try to do at least one new adventure.  One new thing that makes my hands shake and my stomach leap up and down by just making the commitment to do it reminds me why I love competition and pushing myself.  It also helps keep me in touch with the feelings my athletes are having right now as they approach their first triathlon.

This past season has been my introduction into mountain biking.  Last season was doing a half-ironman, before that it was marathons, trail runs, and Olympic distance races.  Fall will be cyclocross.

Last night I did something that I’ve been scared to do for a while.  I raced in my first crit race.  We’re very lucky here in Austin to have the weekly Driveway Crit Series every Thursday.  I’ve been many times to watch and cheer on Greg while he’s raced but the triathlete in me has never had the guts to try and break my “no drafting” mantra and hop in the pack.

They do a monthly ladies night to introduce the sport to women who are typically intimidated by the fact that it is usually 90% men out there racing.  Though I love cheering on Caveman and enjoy seeing his strategy and him kicking ass out there, always being the sideline girlfriend isn’t this cupcake’s style so I decided I’d take the quick clinic and consider doing the race.

Happily my friend and teammate Kristi had the same fears I did and we decided to jump into this river at the same time.  They were a bit tricky leading us around the course for a while and then stopping and lining up.  Many of us thought it was just another drill but to our surprise, it was the race start and off went the gun (or actually the guy yelling “go”).  For 30 minutes we had the track.  It was a nice introduction in to the crit competition.

I have a long way to go.  It took me a while to learn my lines around the curves and will take even longer for me to hug someone’s wheel but I had a good time.  I like the pain and fire in my legs when I’m going hard and strong.  I am so use to being out there against the wind alone that I had to keep reminding myself that there is comfort in a pack. I’m also a big ring addict with the go as hard as you can all the time mentality.  Crits though do have a lot of intricate communication and strategy between the riders- all of which I still have to learn.

At the start both Kristi and I lost our opportunity to cling on to the lead pack so we rolled in a group of 3 or 4 for a while.  Our wonderful teammate Sara played mother hen to us and helped show us how to group together and worked to have us ride her wheel while she pulled us to others.

I ended up being off by myself for a deal of the race but I took the time to learn my lines and come up on other riders to try their wheel.  I got very comfortable with one pretty fun curve on the course and looked forward to it with each lap.  It was also right before the area where teammates and friends stood to cheer us on (and heckle us 🙂 in a fun way).  At 15 minutes of the 30 minute race I could only make myself the promise that I’d stay in for 20 full minutes but as I finished that lap, the race official let me know there were 5 laps left.  I knew I could finish that countdown so I kept going and lapped a number of slower women.  It ended up being 23 minutes of hard and fun effort.  A great way to stoke my appetite for El Chilito dinner.

All in all I was happy with the race.  It sure was so much better having Kristi out there with me on the course than it would to have been out there alone.  Knowing someone else is also nervous helps you both get over it I think.  Having an experienced rider I look up to a whole lot out there helping and teaching also made it a good experience.  I’m excited to learn more and will roll at the crit for ladies night next month.

Peace and blessings to you all~

Many thanks to the wonderful photographer, John Krause, owner of J.Rocket Rotors (see side link), husband to Sara, "dad" to awesome dogs, and all around great guy!

Many thanks to the wonderful photographer, John Krause, owner of J.Rocket Rotors (see side for link), husband to Sara, "dad" to awesome dogs, and all around great guy!