I just went back in time, to July 30, 2006. One year ago. My very first mountain bike ride. Ever. Check it out: http://cstrout.blogspot.com/2006/07/popping-cherry.html
Funniest is the line at the end, seems like I sort of knew what was coming. But seriously? Nothing could have prepared me for the awesome weekend I just had.
So this story starts a year ago, but really picks up steam in April. I got to go to Sea Otter for work, and see the premier of 24 Solo. As everyone around me was talking about how crazy 24 hour solo racing is, I just thought, wow, wouldn’t that be fun?
But it still wasn’t a reality. I was too new to mountain biking, didn’t have a crew lined up, wasn’t ready mentally or physically. And then a few things happened: I had to work Bike the Drive, which meant I couldn’t go to Iowa for Memorial Day. So there was an opening, and I raced New Fane. And then Ian shot from the hip with a suggestion about crewing. All of a sudden, I was thinking about it. And then my coach said it could fit. And then I was registered.
I did a lot of analysis in the lead-up, setting up a lap plan, dissecting past results, working through two 12-hour races with brutal mechanical issues. Jeremy signed on to help Kim, bummer about his collarbone, but happy accident for me! My coach had me doing some killer training rides, but then set up my rest cycle absolutely perfectly … as I noted on Friday, I was buzzing.
And somewhere along the way, my whole outlook on this thing changed. A year ago, I would have laughed if you had told me I was seriously considering a top 10 placing. All month, I was thinking top 15 was possible, top 10 was a stretch. Instead, on Thursday, all of a sudden I was Racer X. I shot Jeremy an e-mail from my blackberry: