Today was the annual Bike 4 Women, a race put on by Arctic Bike Club here in AK. On a whim, I signed up the day registration opened. After a winter of biking and looking ahead to our summer bike tour, it seemed like fun and something I could get in to.
So, I’ll cut to the point. Bike 4 Women was a blast and I’m really glad I did it. I wasn’t sure how it would go or how I might like or dislike it, but all in all – great times and definitely the first of many more bike races.
It was a little touch and go beforehand. I woke up cloudy-headed and with an unpleasant headache, and it crossed my mind to skip the whole thing and sleep it off. But! I had the jersey and you can’t wear the jersey later and say ‘no, I skipped it because I drank a couple extra Sockeyes the night before’… That’s just lame. So I rallied and drove up to Chugiak High School for my start time (12:25:40 PM).
Bike 4 Women is 9 miles round trip, and they start the 700+ participants in a ‘time trial’ style. Meaning, you get in queue and every 20 seconds, a rider takes off. All riders had bibs and number stickers on their helmet, so we knew where to line up and when it was our turn.
So, I creep (yea) up to the front of the queue, slowly and surely… And then the guy says “Go!” and I’m off – up a little hill out of the parking lot, onto the main road and begin whizzing my way down this hill behind other cyclists, seeing other women coming up on the opposite side of the road. And right away, I’m thinking “oh my god, why why why, oh my god, too fast, slow down, should I turn around, 9 miles, what was I thinking” and then start to feel wobbly and I start thinking my front tire must be loose and “oh my god, what if I wipe out, oh god, why is the bike wobbly, what could have possibly happened” and I move to adjust my foot on the pedal and realize it’s me that’s make the bike wobble. I am shaking so hard in the legs that my bike is wobbling.
So I take a deep breath. I tap the brakes a little to get in control. And I think calming thoughts: “relax, it’s only 9 miles, deep breath, you don’t have to race anyone, just ride for fun…“, etc. I got my adrenaline in check and found my stride.