Much of my summer blog entries are dedicated to mountain bike race reports. Tales of absurd victories (When getting first place doesn't feel like such a win (Chal-lange 2011) - July 2011), health mishaps (NECS #2 Race Report: Like, oh my gawd! Gag me with a spoke!), riding through hurricanes (Let the LIVESTRONG Rumpus Begin.. and end... dear gawd, end!), and facing challenges and fears ("Chal-lange!" (Part I) & "Chal-lange!" (Part I)). That's because I find each race to be so different from one another, and, unlike the charity rides, the competitive spirit in me comes out. I'm not at a point where I can realistically race others, but I'm working at it.
Mountain biking comes with some many ups and downs. Not only do you have elevation and climbing, as you do with road biking, but you've got terrain, unstable ground, obstacles, things whipping at you, mud, and all kinds of other challenges that road riding doesn't present.
Road riding can be challenging too, don't get me wrong. And I love it. But mountain bike racing, I'm finding, is much closer to what I've been experiencing fighting cancer. Not only do you have the everyday up and down, but as soon as you start the race and leave the clarity of the start, you venture into the woods of the unknown. When you concentrate on all the things that could go wrong, all the trees you may crash into, you doom yourself to crashing. And when you crash, you have to get back up and ride. You don't have much of a choice. There aren't SAG wagons, or cars that can give you a lift. You're on your own. Bleeding, or muddy, you have to ride on. And while you're recovering from the first blow, you're likely to suffer another. Your machine may get damaged, but you have to continue on. Fellow racers who have "been there" pass you by, offer their support, "love on you," and encourage you to move on. And then, as soon as you leave the woods, and back onto the open field, you realize you have to go back in again - you have another round to go.
This Sunday, I am asking each of you, and your friends and family, that are up for the challenge to ride for me. I am running an EFTA-sanctioned mountain bike race, close to home, but I can't race it. I can't ride it. I'm still fighting my own cancer. And I just found out today that I'm going to need chemo. It's going to be tough enough to get back on my bike for the LIVESTRONG Challenge in October. But I know that I will not be strong enough to do this race.
That's where you come in. Register Today! Ride for me. Ride for someone you love. Ride for yourselves. CHALLENGE YOURSELVES! And bring friends. Lots of friends.
FYI, if you come, and present your race bib to SBC in Hamden right after the race, we'll be treated to a small buffet, a FREE beer or soda AND 1/2 price entrees!