This blog post brought to you by, yet again, a first-time MIT racer, Lucy Archer:
The Bruises Mean I’m Doing it Right… Right?
Following on a theme, Beth managed to convince me to come out and race the event MIT hosted this year, the Sliderule Shredfest, last weekend. Honestly I didn’t need that much convincing, mostly encouragement, but I got what I needed and with about 45 minutes of practice along the Charles I headed out to Charlemont on Friday evening. I had been promised rain, bbq, beer, fun, mud, and bruises (not necessarily in that order, of course), and the weekend definitely did deliver!
Provided we don’t count the weekend with my parents in Tahoe when I was 12, or the 45 minutes along the Charles last Thursday, my first time on a mountain on a mountain bike was Saturday morning’s cross country race, the second time was for short track, and the third was for the team relay. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, though I don’t think it involved quite as much climbing as the XC course started with! Luckily I was behind most of the other Women’s B racers and, following their lead, I walked (I’d rather say I sprinted, but it wouldn’t be true) up the mountain with my bike in the hope that it would get better. It definitely got better, and I managed to almost fall off the mountain only a few times! The second lap went better and faster (I think…), though apparently once a little too fast, as I learned my first lesson of non-road riding: the endo. No harm done to either me or the bike though, and apparently I came in third! Not too bad for my first time on a mountain on a mountain bike.
After three hours standing in the rain watching the A and B racers race, and a brief visit to the six inch deep mud puddle that was the bottom of the Dual Slalom course, it was back to the lodge (yes, there was real shelter for the weekend, it was nice and dry), we made the discovery that there was both a washing machine and a dryer, which meant that I’d have clean, dry kit forSunday! The hot showers were also a wonderful, glorious thing. The evening was beer and lots of bbq, including burgers, chicken, brats, and ribs. There was a reasonable amount of social time, until I realized that I was curled up in a corner falling asleep and retreated upstairs to sleep.
Sunday dawned wonderfully clear and sunny (though a little cold), and we all headed out for short track. The course was fun, though it did involve me learning the meaning of ‘off camber.’ I made it through nearly all of the course at least once (out of four laps) reasonably successfully, and didn’t walk the bike once on the last two laps! I’m quite proud that only three of the Women’s A riders (including Beth) lapped me twice (women’s A and B were combined because there were only 3 B riders). I also had a lovely moment when a root shoved my bike out from under me and dumped me off the trail at exactly the right time for Beth to get past me, which was quite convenient. MIT ran both A and B teams for the relay, since we had enough people to do so, and MIT won the B race! I’m not especially responsible for that, since I did 1 lap out of 8, but I think I can still share in the awesome.
I’m not sure when it happened, but over the course of the weekend I decided that this mtb thing was far too much fun to not do again, and I’ll be heading out to race next weekend too! That said, I’ve figured out why the Club level memberships come with one race weekend: it’s a devious plot to get us hooked so that we can’t do anything other than go back for more. Don’t fall for it! Wait, what am I saying. Fall for it, really, it’s a ton of fun.
Message from Beth: I’d like to specifically recognize and thank Ben Eck and Luke Plummer for organizing this race weekend. They demonstrated tremendous initiative to propose the race months ago and worked all summer long to prepare the courses and ensure the race run smoothly. We are very proud of Ben and Luke and the entire MIT team of volunteers and racers who helped make such a great weekend possible.
~Beth (plus my new horsey friend I found on the race course)