Every week I get stronger, more savvy, smarter, better.
I can corner now faster than the girls I start with. I can downhill faster than them. I get bottle-necked up behind them because of my start position. They’re in my way.
And that’s ok. I’ve spent plenty of time being in other people’s way. I still do, every race, when the Women’s A group catches me and passes me at blinding speeds on the left.
The point is that I’m gaining skill. I can ride shit now that I would have never ridden before and that the women around me won’t try.
This morning I got to the course, took a lap and pulled up short in front of a row of small logs that had been laid down as obstacles.
I still do not know how to bunny hop.
I dismounted and ran my bike across them. Sam was up ahead, waiting.
“What are you doing with your bike on your shoulder!?” he demanded. “Ride that shit!”
“I haven’t learned to bunny-hop yet… remember?” I replied.
“Where are you going?”
I was veering off the course, out across the grass, back toward and open field behind the car.
“I’m going to learn how to bunny-hop.”
He left me alone.
And you know what?
At least enough to clear those logs.
And I recovered a lot of positions and reserved a lot of energy for not having to run over them. I rode a lot of parts of the course today that other women chose to run.
I’m getting better.
From my vantage point I can see the slope of my improvement. It’s like looking back down a long hill that you’ve just climbed. It feels good.
In the same moment I can look ahead and see every inch of my potential. I am not racing hard enough. Or fast enough. I could do more. I could go faster. I could place higher.
And I will.
Today I just killed it. I placed dead middle of the pack again but I raced with a confidence and spirit that I have not had thus far. I’m getting truly and absolutely comfortable on a bike and it’s a thing of beauty. I powered up gnarly little bumps, managed save after save in the 6 inch deep mud, and took risk after risk on tight, slippery corners. I went down once, recovered quickly and lost no positions.
My remount is starting to come around.
The season is almost over but this could get interesting :).