Thursday, August 7, 2008

Team Tinker Bell Races the Short Track

I am not a sprinter. I never was and, as I get older, my sprinting gets slower and slower. Instead, I shine in long, endurance events. I start to feel warmed up after about 5 hours and the first 30 minutes of any event are awful for me. So, why on earth would I agree to do a short track race? Short track is a mountain bike race on, well, a short track. Racers do a handful of these short laps for a 20 to 30 minute race. Since the race is so short, it's balls-to-the-walls from the very beginning to the very end.

My good friend Cynthia has been racing the Short Track series at CSU this year and many previous years. I've read her blog posts about these races and nothing she has written has ever made me want to do one. On the contrary, they sounded hard and they sounded like they would not play at all to my strengths. So, for some reason at Rios with a bunch of my mountain biking girlfriends, and before I even touched my margarita, I was agreeing to race the final short track event. Tracy, who does not race, was planning to compete wearing downhill gear; full faced helmet, armor and flak jacket. To add to that, she was planning to wear a silly outfit. That sounded fun! I'm so easily roped in.

After dinner, Tracy and I went to Target where we found silly pink, plaid, pleated skirts in the little girl's department and pink Tinker Bell T-shirts. Team Tinker Bell was born. We got an extra outfit just in case we would rope another girlfriend in.

Race day came and Tracy was experiencing stomach issues - nerves perhaps!?!?!?!

Team Tinker Bell

When we arrived at the race venue, it was sunny and hot and Tracy began waivering about wearing the helmet and the armor. Soon, we ran into Megan, who also does not race, and she agreed to wear the extra outfit. OK - now we had three girls in the same outfit. I finally gave in on the helmet and armor, although I did put my pink elbow guards on.

We looked kinda cute. Not the bizarre look I was going for when I agreed to wear the armor and the full faced helmet. I knew what this meant - I would actually kinda have to race.

We lined up to the start but it all seemed very informal. Before I expected anything, the announcer said "GO", and some 30 women were off. Right off the bat, there was a crash and several racers went down in front of me and I slowed to a stop to avoid them.

Tracy cranking up a hill

Needless to say, I did not get out front on the start as I should have if I was really on the ball. That's what happens when you get used to the starts at 24 hour races, where it's not so critical to be first off the line.

I got my shit together and hit it hard, passing a few racers who had a better start but weren't as fast as I am or as skilled on the turns.

Megan was right behind me as we worked our way past several racers, including Cynthia who was on her Single Speed.

Cynthia also dressed up

I was probably in something like 10th place and I lead Team Tinker Bell hard for four laps. The course had several turns that slowed down many of the racers. With our superiour handling skills, Megan and I were able to sneak in on the inside and pass them, sometimes to be passed again by these girls on the flats (those darn roadies on mountain bikes!).

I was redlining from about 30 seconds into the race and it never let up, so I started to fade a bit. After four laps, Megan passed me and took over for Team Tinker Bell, setting a tough pace which I could not quite maintain anymore.

Megan takes the lead for Team Tinker Bell

I got passed again twice as I rode over the log skinny instead of the faster route up a short steep hill; style counts way more than speed!

Me going for style points on every lap (now I need to learn to jump it like the big boys!)

I was pretty happy when I saw the "1 Lap" sign, although Iwas just starting to feel warmed up. I managed to not get pased anymore and got some stylie points by catching air on the little jump before the finish line.

I finished 13th, Megan 9th and Tracy came in right after me in 15th. Most importantly, we had fun!

Team Tinker Bell happy to be done (Sasha in blue helmet and Tinker Bell riders Tracy, Megan and Me)

After the races, we headed over to Cynthia's Annual Dirt Crit Party, which was super fun, despite the rain.

Thanks to Jesper for coming out and taking pictures of Team Tinker Bell! More pictures here.


Kim said...

Great write up Jen! And if Team Tinker Bell continues the saga next may have 1 new member :)

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy said...

someone needs to print kim's reply... cause there will be no excuses next time around!! ;) i mean, c'mon, look at all of our smiling faces! it was... uh... fun, yeah, fun!