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Old 08-05-07, 09:33 PM   #1
BluesDawg
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Mission Accomplished

The 6th and final race of my first and probably last season of participation in the Georgia State Championship mountain bike racing series is now finished. I raced in the 40+ beginners class. My goals for this experience were not lofty, but I am proud to say that I met them all. I wanted to enter 6 of the 8 races in the series. Done. I wanted to finish every race I started. Done. And I wanted to be ahead of at least one other finisher in each race. Done (barely).

What I have gained from this experience, other than a sense of accomplishment:
I am a better, stronger, more skillful MTB rider than before.
I have learned that I can push myself harder and endure more pain than I thought I could.
I have found some great places to ride that I want to go back for fun rides.
I have gained a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that racers make. It is hard and painful and it takes special people to excel at it.
I have enjoyed the camaraderie of my teammates and other racers. Everyone is very supportive of each other without regard to how competitive they might be. Really great people.
I have enjoyed the success of some of my teammates. One of our riders finished 3rd in today's race in the single speed class, thus winning 1st place in that class for the season. His wife won today's women's sport class race putting her in 2nd for the season.
I have earned the purchase of a new bike at "team discount" (about 30 % below list).
I can now say that I have done that and won't feel the need to do it again.

I do realize that I am not cut from the cloth that successful racers are. Even to the extent that I have the innate ability and talent, I don't really have the dedication to make the sacrifices of time, money and pain that it takes to do your best at this sport. I had fun, but not enough to want to keep doing it. I may do a race here and there, but I don't see myself becoming a regular. I would rather spend my weekends doing long road rides than MTB races. I missed too many of my favorite organized rides and centuries this year, one of them today in Covington.

I hope I'm not sounding too negative because I really did have a good time and I'm glad I did it. But it just ain't really my thing, not enough to make it worth me doing again. Right now I'm just tired and sore.

Here are some pictures from today's race. It was brutally hot! We were lucky that my class rode in the first wave starting at 9:30am. It was humid and 85F when I finished. The second wave started at 11:30am. By the time they were done it was approaching 100F!
I did two 7 mile laps in 99 minutes and change. I was 18th of 20 riders in my class. 31 minutes behind the winner, 10 minutes behind the guy ahead of me and 5 minutes ahead of the guy behind me. The course started with a mile of open, grassy field to spread the field and then went into a fast, flat to mildly rolling, twisty narrow trail in a pine tree forest with just a couple of short climbs. Then at about 5 miles there was a gnarly steep climb with roots and turns followed by a mile of rough downhills, climbs and turns. Then it was fast and flat again for the mile to the finish.

My race face at the starting line


And we're off


And there we go


Coming out of the woods after the first lap


Refueling going into the 2nd lap


Approaching the finish


Coming through the finish gate


It's over!


Drink up, you're going to need it


Whoo boy! That was hard!
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Old 08-05-07, 09:47 PM   #2
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Great report and insights. With photos! (bonus points abound)
Congrats on reaching your goals. I am impressed!
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Old 08-05-07, 09:48 PM   #3
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One word: CONGRATULATIONS
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Old 08-05-07, 09:53 PM   #4
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Congratulations BD, now you can concentrate on getting that new bike with that big discount. Your stick-to-it attitude is admirable, especially doing something that ain't quite your bag.
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Old 08-05-07, 10:07 PM   #5
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I'm impressed too! Congratulations on meeting all of your goals.
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Old 08-05-07, 10:10 PM   #6
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Congrats.

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Old 08-05-07, 10:48 PM   #7
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I've really enjoyed reading your ongoing reports. By yourself a beer, you've earned it.
Fantastic... really
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Old 08-05-07, 11:12 PM   #8
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You are my HERO and inspiration today! Congratulations!!!
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Old 08-06-07, 06:10 AM   #9
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Very nice, great effort, accomplishing goals is an excellent feeling.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:33 AM   #10
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I somehow left out acknowledgement of my family's support in all of this. Without my wife taking up a lot of slack, putting up with me being away so often and tired and irritable when I was home, overlooking the hay field that used to be a mowed lawn etc., I could never have completed this little experiment.

My wife and son came and sat in the heat while I raced yesterday. She took all the pictures I posted above and he was my pit crew, handing me a much needed fresh water bottle after the first lap and helping me after the race.
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Old 08-06-07, 09:47 AM   #11
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I too am impressed with your insights. You really got a lot out of this experience, and know a great deal about what the "a lot" is. I usually don't know what's going on with me until three months after it happened. Nice post.
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Old 08-06-07, 10:37 AM   #12
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Isn't it great to read all of these wonderful ride stories? I so enjoy associating with people who don't sit on their collective butts, but get out there and live life to the fullest! Congratulations BD.
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Old 08-06-07, 11:12 AM   #13
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Sounds like you're ready for road racing now
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Old 08-06-07, 11:26 AM   #14
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Great job!! It's always a pleasure to see someone meet (or exceed) the goals they set for themselves. Now go have that beer!
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Old 08-06-07, 12:52 PM   #15
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Sounds like you're ready for road racing now
You must be joking- MTB riding is hard enough in comparison to road riding----So road racing in comparison to MTB racing would be too easy. Don't want to give Bluesdawg too easy a time.

BD- I used to race when I was younger-Running- and the time devoted to preparing- training- travelling and racing takes a lot of dedication. Fine if you don't have a home and family to run- Or you have retired at an early age- Or you are out of work. For you to have put in the time you have this year to do the racing, along with the rest of the things you have to do- Is remarkable. Well done and glad to see that you have reached your goal and come to your senses. Time now to settle back on your riding and put those MTB skills back into use for enjoyment instead of torture.

Well done.
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Old 08-06-07, 01:00 PM   #16
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I'm glad you did and not me, man you looked beat. Congratulations on a job well done. Now, to get back to bike shopping.
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Old 08-06-07, 01:08 PM   #17
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1. As Stapfam says, MTBing is harder than road riding. Just finishing a course is a major accomplishment.

2. Finishing a race is huge.

3. Finishing a race series is even huger.

4. And doing it MTBing as a 50+er is insane.

I don't care what they say, you're alright.
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Old 08-06-07, 02:32 PM   #18
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CONGRATS!! You challenged yourself, went out of your comfort zone and met your goals. That's something that every 50+'er should do once in a while.

But be careful with those two words in your title ... they haven't worked out too well for at least one famous person.
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Old 08-06-07, 02:52 PM   #19
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But be careful with those two words in your title ... they haven't worked out too well for at least one famous person.
But then I knew what my mission was and how to know that I accomplished it.
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Old 08-06-07, 02:57 PM   #20
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Thanks to everyone for all the nice comments. Having this place to document my experience was a big part in helping me see the "big picture". Now, time for that cold beer!
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Old 08-06-07, 04:35 PM   #21
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Have another cold beer! Thanks for the pictures, too. Your accomplishment is impressive. I'd like to be so fit as to have to choice to continue mb racing or not!

-soma5
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Old 08-06-07, 07:15 PM   #22
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One more picture. Volunteers were grilling hamburgers and hot dogs after the race, but this guy managed to find a great taco.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:15 PM   #23
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Congratulations, Dawg!

I rode over the rocks, roots, and rills on one of our local trails on my hard tail MTN bike a couple of times last year, but not in a race. Lost four water bottles on those two rides. Rattled me and the bike to the bone. Based on that experience and the fact that you were racing to boot, you certainly have my respect.

Well done, good sir!
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Old 08-06-07, 08:33 PM   #24
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I love the third picture, the one with all the riders heading up the green hill. Nice going.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:37 PM   #25
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Congratulations, Dawg!

I rode over the rocks, roots, and rills on one of our local trails on my hard tail MTN bike a couple of times last year, but not in a race. Lost four water bottles on those two rides. Rattled me and the bike to the bone. Based on that experience and the fact that you were racing to boot, you certainly have my respect.

Well done, good sir!
Thanks, but next time you ride over bumps on your hardtail, you might try raising your rump a little.
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