Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Boggs or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Mountain

This past weekend was Boggs, presented by Bike Monkey. Boggs is an 8 hour long Mountain Bike race taking place among the beautiful trees in Cobb, CA. There were many ways that one could participate in the race: solo (the full 8 hours for the mentally insane), 2 person team (for the brutally tough), and 3 person team (for those who know their limits). The 3 person team was obviously the team of choice for me. Our all women three person team consisted of: Emily McLanahan, May Woo, and Myself (Sam Bell).

My emotions before the race was like riding the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. I have only been on a Mountain Bike twice before this race, and did not ride the course before the race started. Needless to say, I was going into the race with hardly any experience. However I was surrounded by our supportive Sheila Moon team and my anxiety was put at ease as I asked silly questions like what fashionable cycling outfit would be good for Boggs.

Boggs weekend finally came, Friday night was chuck full of excitement as we ate our pasta dinner and sat around the fire. I was still not sure what to expect from my first Mountain Bike race, but continued to get excited as the stories from last year's Boggs filled the air.

Morning came and my gut clinched. Holy crap, it was about to start. My team elected the young rookie (myself) to go first. My stomach continued to churn as we listened to the pre-race instructions and as the other categories were slowly started on their way. Our category started and I had a pretty good head start, well until we hit the single track and I got scared and forgot all the things I had learned that last ride with Murphy. Brake. Brake. Brake. Riders were passing me now, lots of riders. I was getting frustrated, I wanted to do really well my first race so I could be all proud of myself. Then the uphill fire roads came, and I pushed hard to get to the top passing a few riders on the way, and seeing one of myself teammates (Arena) on the side of the road fixing a flat. It felt like with every rider I passed on my incline, five would pass me on the decent, but I hung in there. Even after turning the wrong way, and going out of my way for about ten minutes I was determined not to be defeated by the mountain. I got the finish of my first lap feeling defeated. I watched as May took off up the road on her first lap, she looked tough on that little mountain bike. Emily and I ended up having to trade off bikes between our laps because I didn't have a mountain bike, it was a great bit of awesome teamwork.

Resting between laps was not as relaxing as I would have hoped. After speaking with Emily and our friend Joie, I began to calm down and be less mad at my performance. I mean, it was my first race and I lacked the technical skills that I will learn in future rides. Joie told me to remember what it was like being a little Sam and just have fun with it. My second lap was way better, and my theme song came into my head like I was a superhero. I beat my first lap time by ten minutes, and that in itself was enough to make me feel great. The last lap was the toughest, already feeling like I had raced two cross races in one day, I was in for another lap and my stomach started cramping. It was a painful finish, but I was proud of myself for pushing through it. In the end, our teams hard work paid off and we placed second in our category with our other 3 person women's team (Kathryn, Arena, and Clare) behind us in third.

There is no better way to end a Mountain Bike race then a campfire with tacos, beer, rum cider, and stories of the race. It was truly a fun weekend, and I can't wait to ride through the trees in the dirt again.



May and Emily:

Our Team:

This is the way you finish the race:


Arena said...

Awesome post Sam!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the race. Luckily your skills are naturally good enough that you were able to not flail when I flailed in front of you.

woo hoo!!! I'm so glad you are on the mtb team!!!!!!

Janie said...

Great job Sam, I am super proud of you for sticking to it and not getting too down on yourself. Remember it should always be FUN. Congrats to your team for coming in 2nd on your very first race. Love, Mom

may said...

Hooray!! I can't believe that was your 3rd mtb ride EVER!! You ROCK!