Three Weekends, Two Bike Races, and a Date Night

I don't claim to be awesome at mountain biking, but I sure enjoy it.  Due to a baby who is literally attached, it's been really hard to get some time in the saddle this summer, but Bron and I made it happen a handful of times.

And then I raced.

Because I was signed up for Pierre's Hole last year before I got pregnant, I showed up at the race with a big belly and the race director rolled my fee over to this year.  Ready or not, I was going to participate this summer!

I went into Pierre's Hole with the intention of making the big loop back to the lodge--about 18 miles-- and then calling it quits.

The day of the race, I got a completely flat tire just a few miles in.  Fortunately, this kind guy offered to help me fix it and I was on my way again.  The hills were grueling, but the downhills were a kick in the pants.  I felt like some technique was starting to click and I was flying!  It was so, so much fun.

By the time I reached the second aid station at mile 18, I determined that the race was equal parts sufferfest and absolute blast!  The folks at the station cheered me on.  Only 12 more miles to go.  A day ride.  No monster hills.  It was race day!  The adrenaline was pumping.  I could do it!  And so I pressed on.

The first few miles were good, but I could feel myself gassing out.  I just didn't have the miles behind me in training.  My muscles were screaming.  I honestly would have skipped an entire part of the trail if I'd known how to get out of that valley.  Instead, I slowly plotted along.  I walked up hills I normally wouldn't have and silently cursed the wild flowers.  Yes, I cursed the pretty wildflowers!  I hated them that day.  I tried to stay mentally positive and give myself some pep talks.  I ran out of water.  Oh, it was arduous!

And then, I crossed the finish line--in approximately 5 hours and 24 minutes, almost exactly an hour longer than I'd raced it two years prior.  I couldn't help the tears!  It was an emotional feat.

I was so glad to be done!  And pretty darn proud of myself.  I was in disbelief that I'd actually done it!  I did it!  Wow.  That was just pure race day stupidity and grit.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I'm going to train.

By the way, Bron raced Pierre's Hole as well.  It's been a rough year for both of us on our bikes.  Between a nasty chest cold and not being able to train as much as he would've liked, Bron didn't make good time.  It's just the way it goes, you know?  But he did it!  For the love of the sport.  Sometimes I think that's all that matters.  At least that's what we tell ourselves.  We do it because we enjoy it!


Precisely seven days later, I hopped on my bike again.  This time it was a local charity race up in our very own South Hills: three loops around Magic Mountain, approximately ten miles total.  Compared to Pierre's Hole, it was a walk in the park.  It was fun.  And I came in first (out of one) for the women!  Hehe.

Good times.


Mountain biking is still Bron and my date night activity of choice.  Just this weekend, we played around on our bikes at Auger Falls and followed it up with some delicious burritos before returning home to relieve the babysitter.  Those date nights are so good for us.  Not only are we exercising to relieve stress, but I get some one-on-one time to reconnect with my best friend.  I know it means the world to both of us because if our marriage is strong, we're happier.  We can more easily take on whatever the kids and jobs and church and life in general throws at us--together.

I find it curious that except for hiking, Bron and I no longer do anything of those things we used to do when we were dating.  Instead, over the last decade, we've found new activities and hobbies.  Fortunately, many of those hobbies are things we both enjoy, and so we share in the challenge of learning them--together.  I'd like to think it means we are very well matched.         

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