But then I had to actually race my "peers" down at Massasoit, and the truth came out.
As you might've noticed it was 40 and raining (or snowing, depending on where in Massachusetts you were) on Saturday. A mountain bike race was actually the only way I was going to get any training in whatsoever, because you can't possibly ride for fun in that weather, and racing on the road would be insane (right, Quabbin participants??). So it's all good. Bike racing!!!
Due to the pouring rain at the start, we had a no-warmup truce going and thus everyone was equally stone cold when the whistle blew. Apparently most people had at least ridden to the end of the start straight, though, because 15 seconds in, everyone went shooting off to the left while I tried to keep riding straight down a paved road.
And then... rooty singletrack conga line. Forever. I didn't know where I was in the race, but it sure wasn't the front, so OBVIOUSLY I needed to go anaerobic to make passes any chance I got. Then I realized I was behind Justin Spinelli and passing him was probably not necessary... or wise.
Eventually stuff settled in and I ended up behind the Sweens and Shawn Mottram. This seems totally reasonable.
Five minutes later it did not seem reasonable, but it did seem like maybe a warmup would have been reasonable.
Then! In the best stroke of luck, EVER, my GoPro loosened up and started rattling around on my stem and I decided to stop racing my bike and take it off. I waved goodbye to Kevin, Shawn and Timmy D and never saw them again. Thank god.
Meanwhile, B2C2 teammate and new Dad Will Crissman went past me during the camera removal and I spent the rest of the lap chasing him back down. When I caught him he explained that he had a case of "dad legs," and not in a good way.
Then I remembered the horrible things he did to me with "pregnant wife legs" last fall and quit feeling bad for him. I gapped him on one of the climbs using my GEARS (yeah, he was on a singlespeed) and he cheered for me while I did it. What a guy.
But then I stopped in the feedzone to pick up warmer, drier gloves and he caught me again, and we had to awkwardly ride around and pretend that he didn't just cheer for me like a big weenie back there.
Eventually I gapped him again with gears and single-male legs, and once more I was alone in the woods and starting to have fun. The course was nice and greasy after the rest of the cat 1's had done a lap and I was drifting like Gigi Galli out there. YEAHHHHH. MOUNTAIN BIKING IS OK.
Then Will caught me, and I realized that the reason I was having fun is that I wasn't pedaling hard enough.
So then bike racing went back to only being kind of fun while I pulled away from Will again.
Then I got mud in my eye so bad I had to stop, and it was no longer fun at all. That combined with the fact that my rear brake was DEAD thanks to all the sand in it meant it was probably time to start praying for the race to end. So I did.
But I did catch a dude on the last lap, so I guess he was having less fun than me. I rolled across the line in 9th/16 and made a beeline for the car, which I proceeded to deposit mud all over and then sit in until I was warm. Which was the next hour.
Then Rob Stine gave me a beer and all was right in the world, except for the part where I was still shivering and standing around in the rain drinking a Narraganset Light.
Mountain biking: still hard. (via ToroLoco)