Torture? You can’t name a 20 mile race “Torture”, can you? YES, you can – and, YES, it was.
So here’s the scoop. Our gaffer, Dan Delgado, aka Lambion came up to me the other day at work, and asked, “Hey, are you gonna do that mountain bike race this weekend? The Torture?” I promptly replied, “Huh? Torture?”. He had me at hello. A quick search on the smart phone pulled up “La Tierra Torture XC Race”. May 4th, 2013. It was May 1st, and I had 24 hours til registration closed. Perfect. Done and done’er.
I’ve ridden the La Tierra Trails a couple times since arriving in Santa Fe about 6 weeks ago. The trail system is only about 3.5 miles from my doorstep, and is super fun. Lots of sweet singtrack bliss, very flowy… short climbs tempered by squiggly descents… wash, rinse, repeat. So when Lambion turned me on to the race, I was stoked… but also bummed, because I knew I wouldn’t be at my best (not even close).
Forget the fact that my fitness has slowly dwindled with each 60+ hour work week that have my dogs barking every night. I NEED to race. I NEED my drugs. Friendly competition stirring up lactic acid, releasing endorphins, sweating away the bad, gasping in the good…
It was an XC race, USAC sanctioned… so it was over-priced but most of the proceeds go to local trails and charities… all good… but I had to purchase a one-day license since I let mine lapse last year… and I don’t think I’ll be renewing since most of the races that I’m drawn to throw the middle finger at the USAC anyway… tangent, I know… back to this one… I rode Cat 1 SS, which only did 2 laps (the Pros/Cat 1 geared did 3)… so it added up to 19ish miles with 2,200’ of climbing. Compared to the longer epics I’ve been doing, this was a sprint. And I got my ass handed to me from the get go. The pace out of the gate thrusted my heart up into my adam’s apple and my boat anchor legs seared with acid as I tried to hang with the lead pack. That lasted all of about 3 miles before I had to give in to my reality. I had to let off before I blew a gasket. My legs just weren’t throwing down the power needed to keep up with mandex stallion brigade. “My race, my pace” became the mantra, and I still had a blast out there. The course was a mix of switchback climbs, semi-techy sections, wide open descents, whoops, jumps, you name it… the variety and quality of terrain was top notch. My gearing (34:18T) would’ve been perfect if my fitness allowed me to push it… but I should’ve been on 32:20 for the shape I was in. My lungs, legs, and biceps would’ve thanked me. All in all, I’m elated I did this event, even though I was cursing the idea as my alarm went off at 6am… and I’d been shooting handheld til midnight in a pit of a crime scene alley set… I still was able to crank out about 11mph average… and slip out of the pain cave into 6th place… Just what the doctor ordered. But the best part??? Angela and Lucy were there to cheer me on and give me roasted almonds after I was done. Hugs and smiles go a long way to repair the involuntary pulsing of raped muscle fibers. It’s been a while since I’ve had the family at a race, and nothing compares to seeing those loving faces and cheers as you roll through… LOVE IT!!
I was joking with my friend after the race… partially validating my poor results… no matter how good you are at anything, there’s always gonna be someone smarter, faster, more skilled, more genetically dominant, etc… but as far as having fun goes, you can always control your fate… and I always seem to take the top step in that department, and sharing fun with your friends (old and new is even better). That’s what will keep me racing and riding for years to come… as long as it’s FUN. Now for recovery – Legs up, beers down.