DirtWirx Race Week Wrap Up!

Go ahead and say that title five times fast…

Any way, it’s been about a week and a half since the DirtWirx Bike Week ended and I think I can finally put my thoughts together about how it all went. Mostly, I think I’ve been in shock. I mean, holy shit, I raced FIVE FREAKIN’ RACES IN ONE WEEK! Who does that?!?!?

Me.

I did that.

Most excited middle aged woman to stand on the podium ever!

Most excited middle aged woman to stand on the podium ever!

I raced the Time Trial and Short Track on Saturday, the regular Minnesota Mountain Bike Series Race on Sunday, the Duel Solemn on Wednesday, and then the 25 Hour Race the following Saturday and Sunday¹! You know what? I was one of only four women who did all five races, so I came home with a couple medals and I even won some cash money! Woo Hoo!

Because I’ve been trying to be my own best friend, I kept telling myself that I’m doing some pretty cool stuff and I totally deserve the medals and the cash. BUT…there was still this annoying, bitchy, voice in my head reminding me that the only reason I came home with those medals, and the cash, was because none of the fast people showed up. (And by “fast people” I mean any other women that know how to ride a bike.)

Mountain bike racing isn’t like your average 5k or 10k. You don’t automatically get a t-shirt and there aren’t participation medals. The only people who get recognition are the top three people in each class. Part of me thinks this is cool, but there’s another part who thinks it sucks.

It’s not like I’m one of those kids on the t-ball team who’s out in right field, picking dandelions, thinking that they deserve a standing ovation (or Dairy Queen) just because their parents signed them up for the team, bought them a glove, and drove them out to the game. No. I’m working hard for this. So when I looked at it like that, I felt like I totally deserve those medals!

But even with all the work I’ve put in, sometimes it felt like I really didn’t deserve them. Even though I came in second, third, or fourth, I WAS STILL FREAKIN’ LAST! It just seemed like being last and getting a medal is wrong.

How slow you go - MEAnd then I blocked out that bitchy voice and focused on the best friend voice: “The important thing isn’t where I placed, the medals, or the cash. The important thing is that I’m getting out there and doing things.”

Get out there and do things. That’s what matters!

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¹A lot of people have asked me how the 25 Hour race works so I thought it would be nice to share a little bit of that with you. Basically, you have 25 hours to ride as many laps around the course as you can. You can take any amount of breaks between laps and, at this race, you could even leave the race course to go do what ever and then come back and do more laps.

25 Hour Collage

I rode the whole time with my Sissy and I have to say, it was crazy! Our minds wanted to do a billion laps, but our bodies were only able to do four. We did two laps right away, took a nice long break, and then did a night lap. I thought about trying to do an early morning lap while my Sissy was still sleeping, but I opted for relaxation instead. It would’ve really been crappy if I had done a lap and was unable to do another one with her to finish our race.

 

Oh, and having cool outfits is NOT a must. Unless you’re my team, then fun outfit ARE a must! Go Team Tutu!

(Also? The race course was the same course that the Expert and Elite riders race during the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. How freakin’ cool is that?!?!?)

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Life without regrets

I used to think that I lived life without regrets, but after this week I need to rephrase that idea. Although exactly how to rephrase it, I’m not sure…

To me, living life without regrets meant that I didn’t look back on life and wish certain things would (or wouldn’t have) happened, because if they did (or didn’t) I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Typically, I like where I am in life. I have a fantastic husband, three awesome kids (plus their significant others), my sissy and her husband are truly the best sister/brother I could ask for, my in-laws are amazing, I have a lot of great friends, I’m currently on a HUGE upswing with my health, I’ve been doing cool things again (like mountain bike racing), and I actually like my new job.

Gratitude AttitudeI have a lot to be thankful for.

Sure, I have an ongoing battle with depression and sometimes The Deep Dark Hole sucks me in way too far, but I’m talking about my life as a whole…

As a whole, my life is pretty freakin’ incredible and I’m very thankful for where I am.

But…

My grandma passed away this week and I’m kind of a mess. I’m estranged from my parents by my own choice, and when I chose to separate from them completely, I also lost contact with most of my extended family. It wasn’t my family’s doing. It was just that I had already tried to go to family functions without having a relationship with my parents and it just made everything uncomfortable and awkward.

I thought it would be better if I just quietly went away. I have awesome memories of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and such – plus with Facebook, I can get a glimpse into their lives, “like” pictures and statuses, make nice comments, and kinda sorta still know them – even if it’s only superficial. It’s the choice I made and while it’s sad, I’m okay with it.

Even after my grandma’s passing, I’m okay with the choice I made about my parents.

I just hope that even though I put a great distance between us, my grandma knows how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, how much she influenced my life in a positive way, and all the happy memories I have of her. But I’m not sure she knows, because I didn’t make sure she knew these things.

I regret not actually saying these things to her often enough as an adult.

Grandma Betty,

I love you. I always have and always will.

~Kimberly 

I encourage you to not take how you feel about someone for granted. Send them a note or give them a call and let them know that they’re important to you. You just never know when it will be too late.

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The look on my face says it all

http://www.mnmtbseries.com/

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It’s been about three and a half weeks since my first mountain bike race of this season¹ and things are going pretty good. The goals I’ve made for myself have nothing to do with being last or not last, but with how well I do at each race. Each course is different, so my time goal for each race has been different, but a couple of my goals are the same every time I get out there:

  • Don’t get lapped!
  • Finish before the next class of racers start!

With three races done, I’ve managed to make those goals every time! That feels pretty freakin’ amazing.

But…I’m going to digress just a little bit. Stay with me. I *pinky promise* to bring it all together for you at the end.

You know what doesn’t feel amazing? When an (ex) Facebook Friend, Anna, makes a post and it hits way too close to home. See, Anna was in her car and happened to see a man riding his motorcycle in the lane next to her. No biggie. People ride motorcycles all the time. BUT, Anna didn’t care for how big the man was and how he was dressed. She thought his shorts were too short and he was too big and hairy to leave home without a shirt on, so she snapped a picture with her cellphone and uploaded it to Facebook. Her and her friends spent the day typing rude comments and mean things about him. (I sorta wished I would’ve taken a screen shot of it just so you know I’m not kidding about how these “adults” behaved, but we’ve all heard and read mean comments before – just use your imagination.)

After reading some of the comments, I finally had enough and started sticking up for this guy. I mean, who the hell are these people to rip on someone just because he isn’t following the social norm and covering himself up – or better yet, staying at home so he doesn’t “hurt anyone’s eyes”? The action of sticking up for him promptly got me unfriended by Anna, which if that’s what kind of person she is – I don’t want to be friends with her anyway.

I went to bed and thought I had let what Anna and her friends did go, but I couldn’t.

Because think of this: If a guy is out there just riding his motorcycle, minding his own damn business, DOING NO HARM, and people are so mean to him…What’s going to stop someone from taking a picture of me on my mountain bike and posting it to the internet, while they and their friends rip on me?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

And yet, I’m determined to put on my tutu and get out there anyway because I’m not willing to live life on the sidelines, right?!?!? Right.

So far this week I’ve raced my mountain bike FOUR times! There was a Time Trail & Short Track race on Saturday, a regular Series Race on Sunday (which was so hard that I started to cry and hyperventilate – but I calmed myself down and finished the race), and last night I raced a Duel Solemn course! HOLY CRAP! This week has been freakin’ amazing!

We’re all BFFs here, so I’m going to tell you a sad secret. As pictures of me started rolling in, I felt a little sick to my stomach. I’m not a small girl. I weigh over 200 pounds still and here I am, on a bike – in bike shorts and a tutu. Let’s just say it’s not the most flattering of positions (or outfits) for anyone, but especially if you’re on the larger side of things, right?

I couldn’t help myself but to start thinking some of the same things about myself, that Anna and her friends had posted about that man on the motorcycle. I was no longer my own best friend, seeing all my awesome qualities, while being kind and gentle with the parts of myself I wish were different. No. I was horrible. I was a total bitch.

When a picture of me racing down the Duel Solemn course surfaced on Facebook this morning, I cringed.

[caption id="attachment_5530" align="alignright" width="300"]DS Kimberly “DETERMINATION and super strong!!!” Photo from Shockspital – DirtWirx Bike Week Album on Facebook.

I couldn’t post the actual things going through my head when I saw the picture so I posted this:

“Yeah. The look on my face says it all.”

And one of my best friends, Noelle, posted this:

“DETERMINATION and super strong!!!”

Because sometimes you can’t be your own best friend and you need someone else to see the great things in you that you can’t see in yourself.

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Don’t know what a Duel Solemn course is or want to check out more pictures from the race? Check out Shockspital’s DirtWirx Bike Week Album!

¹I feel a little bad about not updating about my races right away, but there’s been a lot of changes happening in our house and I just haven’t made the time. I’m hoping to get back in the grove of writing regularly again. It’s good for me. :)

 

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Have you ever been brave enough to be last?

BFFs, have you ever raced? In high school, college, or as an adult? Have you ever pinned that bib on and stepped up to the line? If you haven’t, I can’t even describe to you how it feels. You’ve done the workouts, followed your plan (hopefully), made sacrifices, and on race day…you get to reap the benefits from it all.

tutu

Hey, do you think this pink tutu is going to make my butt look big?!?!?

I’m lucky enough that I get to put on my tutu, strap a helmut on, and race tomorrow. But it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I had to weigh the risks vs reward and that’s so hard to do when you know you’re fighting for not-last-place. There isn’t a podium spot for someone like me. Mountain bike racing doesn’t hand out medals for finishing, so I know in advance that there will be no hardware to take home. As I timed my practice laps and compared those times to the racers from the year before, it became pretty obvious that I will most likely get last place. As in the very last person who finishes the race kind of last place. 

After giving into my doubts and fears and declaring on Facebook that I “needed more trail time” and I wouldn’t be racing, I decided that I’m going to race anyway.

And as my new best friend I have a few things to say about being last:

“Last place is so much better than no place. You see, at “no place” you’re still on the couch and only dreaming of the things you *might* be able to do. Don’t be afraid of last place because in every race there is a last place, but not everyone is brave enough to race. Not everyone is brave enough to dust themselves off after an injury or two, a broken heart, or what ever life has to offer them. But you, my very best friend…you are exactly brave enough to get back out there. You are brave enough to fight for what makes you happy. You are brave enough to work hard, even when you don’t want to. You are the mother freakin’ definition of brave. Get out there. Be brave.”

And so I will. I’m getting up tomorrow morning and heading to my first mountain bike race in FIVE years.

I am brave.

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