I bailed on a climbing trip to compete in a 24 hour mountain bike race over Halloween weekend. My friends thought I was nuts. While they climbed–in costume–at Indian Creek, I raced solo in 25 Hours in Frog Hollow. I showed up to the race by myself, not knowing a single person there. I felt out of place at first (this was only my third mountain bike race ever), and before the race, as I ate breakfast alone, I doubted my decision to ride my bike instead of climb.
This is what I told myself when I registered for the race: I spent my twenties rock climbing and now it’s time to try something new. Since a new career–or marriage, or babies, or buying a house–seemed out of the question, I chose to try a new sport. Also, I’d won two mountain bike races in the last month, and that made me feel pretty good about being thirty. I should also admit this: the night I registered for the race I sobbed into my dogs fur (up close, he still smells like skunk from an unfortunate encounter this summer), and in between blowing my nose and sipping aggressively from my wine glass, I Google searched for mountain bike races in the area. When I stumbled upon the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow video posted above, I registered for the race.
I promised my climbing partners that if I didn’t win, I would start climbing again. During the race, my bike took a serious beating from the mud (it rained for several hours in the middle of the night), my remote seat drop made me want to quit after the third lap, and my shoes were so caked with mud I couldn’t clip in on lap ten, but 26 hours and 195 miles later–I won!
So I registered for another race.