For the last six weeks, I’ve been traveling every weekend: driving or flying across the country to race and ride bikes. While it has been incredibly fun, it is also exhausting. With a sinus infection taking its toll on my energy levels, I was not looking forward to this past weekend in Chattanooga nearly so much as I was when I first registered for the event months ago. The weather forecast was all rain and thunderstorms and riding road bikes on slippery wet hills just didn’t sound fun.
I was so wrong.
On Friday, I traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee with six other cyclists, talking, joking, and laughing for most of the nine hour drive. By time we arrived, my hesitation at being out of town for one more weekend had diminished. I was just glad to be riding bikes and hanging out with good friends. Friday evening was beautiful and we meandered to the packet pick up like a bunch of hooligans on bicycles–never quite sure where we were or where we were going, but having fun getting there nonetheless!
Saturday morning started out dry, but quickly turned wet as the ride began. The hills were as difficult as promised and, as expected, I was dropped on every climb. But as usual, my mountain biking paid off as I descended every hill with confidence, going “full send” even on the wet roads and catching my group that had left me on the uphill. At one point, it was raining so hard that it was impossible to discern the pouring rain from the sloshing rooster tail coming off the bike ahead. And it was so.much.fun! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun riding in the rain. It was warm, pouring rain, and we were rolling along.
In the end, we all finished within a few minutes of each other, and due to the benefit of being female, I ended up finishing 7th, despite being shortly behind the other guys in my group.
It wasn’t really a race. I didn’t ride particularly well. But I had fun and ended the weekend feeling refreshed and encouraged after so much time laughing and enjoying bikes with good friends–which is so much more valuable than racing anyway. And I’m already looking forward to next year!