Come on and take a pre-ride

From the time Chuck first offered to pre-ride Broemmelsiek Park with me before Sunday's Broemmelsiek Challenge, I had this song in my head.  Well, the title,'s all I could remember.  But just changing the "f" to a "p" makes it perfect for our afternoon yesterday. :)

This is going to be my first mountain bike race, and I can't tell you I'm not nervous about it (and you wouldn't believe me if I did). Luckily, I had a couple of friends going to pre-ride the course and I got to tag along (unfortunately, Robin ended up not being able to go).

I'd never been to Broemmelsiek Park before and the drive took longer than I had anticipated, so Chuck had to wait for me for about 20 minutes (sorry!).I was all prepared with food and water, but I had forgotten that my mountain bike only has one water bottle and was in such a hurry after running late that I left my food in the car. This is why I really need to be early for group rides or runs.

The race was actually scheduled for about 3 weeks ago, but it was rained out at the last minute. Chuck had been out to preride before the cancellation, though, so he remembered pretty much where the ribbons that marked the course were. It was definitely helpful to have someone to tell me basically what to expect.

Like I said, I've never ridden at Broemmelsiek before, and I really liked the trails. They're not very technical, mostly dirt in the woods with a few rocks and roots thrown in. There are several little creek crossings. The wooded portion of the trail reminds me a lot of the mountain bike trails here in town, except they weren't quite as twisty and turny as ours. That's a good thing for me.

Loop 1 was going great. I didn't downshift enough going up a longish hill and ended up having to walk it, but there was only one section that I had a hard time with--a couple large rocks followed quickly by a big v-shaped root, leading into a rocky downhill curve. I clipped a pedal, bumped around, and ended up walking that section. The trail then leads out into a field for a moment before turning back into the woods with a small creek crossing.

Now, I'm finally at a point where riding my bike across a creek isn't a noteworthy thing for me. This had a fairly shallow downhill to the creek, then back uphill a little. I wasn't even nervous riding into it. I felt confident...right until my bike was flying out from under me as it rolled downhill and I was struggling (and failing) to keep it upright. I slammed into my top tube and then crashed off of it on the other side.

Chuck had stopped on the other side (I assume he heard me cursing and then hitting the ground--and then cursing again) and asked if I was ok. I got up, but I was hurting enough that I thought for a couple minutes I was going to throw up. The knee wasn't so bad, but my girl parts were very unhappy. I realized later that the blunt force trauma (yeah, I'm being a little melodramatic) from the bar opened up about a 2-inch gash. Not cool.

Once we started riding again I felt ok. Lap 1 took us 37 minutes.

I felt better on lap 2, and though I took a deep breath going into "that" creek crossing, I made it through without incident. I stopped and looked back at it, and I think that my pedal clipped a big root on the way down the hill. Just bad luck, but you can be sure I'll be staying towards the left when I come down it on race day. Lap 2 took us 32 minutes.

We took a little break after the second lap and talked over the course while Chuck had a Clif bar. That's about when I realized, "Oops...I left my food at the car," but he was nice enough to share. He said that he felt like he'd found some pretty good lines, and I said that I felt really comfortable with the course other than that one tricky section I mentioned above. He reminded me to keep looking for the best lines: "Smooth is fast. And smooth is safe." "You had me at safe," I laughed. We finished Chuck's snack and then headed out again.

I felt great on that third lap. I always talk about my overreliance on my brakes and what a chicken I am (and I am, no question), but I spent a lot less time braking and just more time feeling comfortable. I noticed how much less scary the curves are when my feet are even on the pedals (instead of one up and one down). I felt great...and then all the sudden I didn't.

I started struggling to keep up and was thinking that even with all the riding I've been doing I'm still not in that good of shape. I told Chuck that I was thinking the two lap beginner race sounded just right. He asked if I was getting tired or something like that and I said I was. And then--what a revelation!!--he says, "You need to eat something."'s not that I was out of's that I was out of fuel. Not only does that explanation sound better to me, it was actually right. Poor Chuck probably felt like he was out with one of his kids, having to keep feeding his unprepared friend, but this time he handed me some Sport Beans. Oh, my gosh...they were so good. And they worked! Almost as soon as we started riding again I felt so much better. That was a really valuable lesson for me. Being tired doesn't necessarily mean you're might just be your body telling you to eat.

When we got to that tricky spot we talked over a few potential lines and tried a few different ways to pass there, none of which really worked well for me. I think I'll probably be getting out of other racers' way and then walking over that part. Even with spending some time working on that section, the third lap only took us 33 minutes, so we definitely improved our speed on the course.

I'm so glad that I got a chance to ride on the course so I'd know what to expect and what to watch out for (treacherous roots). I'm pretty excited for Saturday's race, but I still can't say I'm not nervous about it. I'm used to being slower than other people, so that's no big deal, but I'm worried about being passed on the trails. It's no big deal in road rides to pass, and in foot races you might have to wait for a little bit on singletrack til an OK spot, but it seems like it'll be different on bikes. Yikes. Wish me luck...and fast healing.

Also...not one, but TWO other bloggers tagged me with the Q&A that's been going around.  And Shawn even called me witty! (Extra credit, Shawn. :D)  Thanks to Shawn and Caroline, you get the opportunity to ask me anything you'd like, and I promise to answer.  Granted, I'm not that interesting, but I've definitely seen some interesting questions going around.  Now, Chris K (who stole this from Colleen and turned it into the worldwide sensation it is) got over 50 comments on his initial Q&A post.  Please don't leave me out here with no questions asked or I'll have to make up my own.


  1. Hey good luck tomorrow!

    Hmm. If you could do it all over again, what career path would you choose? Where would you live? What kind of house would you have?

  2. OK, my favorite question- If you had a third arm, where on your body would it be and what would be it's purpose?

  3. Good luck out there today!!

    What were you like as a child...good girl or little brat?
    Does your husband read your blog? What does he think of it?
    Is there anything you would do differently if you could go back?

  4. What do your kids think of your blogging?

    Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?

    Do you/would you ever vacation by yourself and where would you go/do?

  5. I would like to know your favorite books of all time (just a few, say 3 to 5ish)...

  6. When I saw that knee on FB I was like, YES!! You are in the club!! :) I'm glad you weren't hurt too bad and I'm glad your friends were there to save you with the fueling!! That's one thing I have had a hard time getting down, I'm not sure why it's harder than marathon training but for some reason it is for me. Good luck with the race, you are so BA - you will do great!

    Ok, here's the ?
    - don't you wish Chris K never started this Q&A thing?

    - if you could live anywhere, where would it be?

    - when are you coming to hang out with me in Colorado!! :)

    Happy Weekend!!!

  7. Kate! aouch on the knee! my kid asked what happened as soon as I open your blog page!!!!

    ok questions.....

    will you run another marathon?

    how old were you when you got married?

    did you have a big wedding?

    best 3 books you have read that you think I should read?

    what makes you mad? something you cannot tolerate?

    unlimited budget: where do you go on vacation?

    who would you like to meet?

    what poster was on your wall when your were a teenager?

  8. 1) Don't you think Jill asks silly questions?
    2) Do you feel sorry for Kovas' wife?
    3) Who is smarter - you or Kovas?
    4) Who is smarter - your youngest kid or Kovas?
    5) What does your husband think of your Blogging?
    6) How did you get so Super - were you born this way or developed it?

  9. Maybe next time wear the cape and you will fly right over those rough spots. You are awesome! Might be needing to sit on an inflated donut later, but awesome!

  10. You are hard core. I will have to remember that about the eating/tired connection because that could certainly be me.
    Do you ever wish you taught something besides Spec. Ed. and what would it be?
    How is it going with your clipless pedals?
    What scares you?
    What are your 3 favorite books?

  11. Ouch on the knee! Hope the race went well,

    Why did you start your blog?

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Can I still ask a question or two?

    Do you wax or shave your legs? I see you are a hard core cyclist who gets munched by the road so I know you must do one or the other.

    Do you wax or shave any place else?

    When you are really sad, is there something that can bring you back up? What is it?

    Is there something that ALWAYS makes you laugh?

    How would you characterize your sense of humor?

  14. Ah...swearing and kind of blog...

  15. Wow, this mtb race sounds amazing. Hope that it went well, I look forward to reading the race report!!!!

    And yes, I saw the creepy butt filming dude called out on the Tour de Donut facebook page. What kind of nonsense is that? I hope he didn't film my butt...

  16. So, i wonder if I am already too late..... No worries if I am, I just want to feel like I'm contributing. :)

    If you could have any kind of super power, what would it be?

    If you could stay one age forever (and not be dead) how old would you be?

    Would you rather....give up running/biking/swimming with others, always doing it 100% alone OR be forced to stop running/biking/swimming all together but be able to have your blog / friendships you've gained as a result of it?


Post a Comment

Popular Posts