The state championship time trial this past Saturday was my last race of the 2016 season. After a season filled with ups and downs I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to do well at this last race. This year I decided to race time trials in the very competitive senior women’s category which was definitely a humbling experience after winning many of the category 4 TTs over the past few years. In addition to the added pressure of tougher competition, I also had several bike mechanicals throughout the season, dropped chains, flat tires etc., that derailed several of my races. The state time trial was broken down by age categories and I really wanted to end my season with a win. The week leading up to the race I cut back the amount of miles I was riding, kept closer track of my nutrition and hydration and piled more and more pressure on myself to do well.
The morning of the race came and I wasn’t sure how my legs were feeling, but I got a decent warmup in and was hoping for the best. I rolled up to the starting line feeling ready to race my last miles of 2016. I definitely had butterflies in my stomach, but that nervous feeling is usually motivational for me, so I took it as a good sign. I felt good off the start line and quickly got into a nice rhythm. However, about 1.5 miles into the race I went to shift to an easier gear and all of a sudden my legs were spinning with nothing behind them. My chain had fallen off onto the inside of the cassette and I had no choice but to stop, get off my bike and get it back on. “Of course this would happen in this race, after putting all of this pressure on myself,” I thought.
Determined to still give it my best shot, I got back on the bike and really tried to push myself even that much harder. My legs were still feeling good and I was determined not to let this twenty second mechanical delay derail my whole race. I got to the turnaround point, feeling strong and was powering back toward the finish line when it happened again! Again my legs were spinning and my chain had dropped off on the inside of the cassette! This time I was even more frustrated and definitely uttered several expletives as I got off the bike yet again to get my chain back on.
I was tempted to just phone it in at that point, but I really still wanted the win so badly. I wanted to finish my season on the top step of the podium, something I hadn’t done at all this season. So I used all of my frustration to just push myself to the limit. I finished as strong as I possibly could and just had to wait for the results. I knew I had lost at least a minute due to my two mechanicals, but I hoped that it wasn’t a race losing minute. I made peace with the fact that the results would be whatever they would be and that there was always next season to come back and kick butt.
Finally, the results were posted and despite losing about a minute and twenty seconds I still managed to pull off the win. I wasn’t winning the Tour de France or the national championships, but this race was important to me. I was very happy to end the season on a wonderful note, feeling strong, in spite of the adversity I had faced during the race. Now it’s time for fun autumn endurance rides and setting some goals for myself for the 2017 season.