Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If you Live long Enough by Jayne Marshall

I have determined that, in the Senior Olympics, if you live long enough, you’ll get a medal. Of course that is if you’re not intimidated by the ‘professionals’ and get out there and “just do it!” I have my first ‘Olympic’ medal. It’s only a silver, and there was no competition for the bronze, which is proof number one that my original theory—if you live long enough—is true.

After an ominous start, my first Sr. Olympics proved to be an enjoyable day. When I arrived at the starting point I wanted to crawl into the back seat of my car and pretend that I wasn’t there. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was so pretentious that I thought I could race against ‘these people!’ They all had their two thousand dollar bikes up on their little stands spinning away—I guess it gets your legs ready to move when you start the race. I’m sure you’ve seen it before but it was new to me. I finally got the nerve to go to the registration stand and things started to get better. Everyone was nice and friendly—bikers are like that you know—and encouraged me to have fun and not worry about my time or place in the race. The idea is that you’re here, it’s healthy, and many people would love to be doing it but can’t. So, I started talking to people. Met Jan who is 56. She explained that she would start with the pack but would then fall behind. She’s a triathloner, not a racer. These people are racers. Jan went to the nationals in the triathlon last year and did fairly well—didn’t get a medal but placed high enough to get a ribbon. She’ll be at the triathlon competition next week.

Prior to our race I went out to watch the start, and later the finish, of the 20K race to get some idea of the process. In the interim I went to the car and put on the heater. It was cold!! I noticed a little ol’ lady in the group. She did very well. Met her later and she was little but unfortunately not so old—73. That puts her in my age bracket for the triathlon. She said this was her first road race and was a little intimidated about drafting. She does triathlons where you can’t do that and will be at the competition next week. I’m a little concerned about this NOT drafting. I’m so used to doing it anytime I’m around another biker that it will take a conscious effort not to. I certainly don’t want to get disqualified.

Our race started and Jan’s prediction was correct. Both she and I stayed with the pack until we got to the hill going to the post office. We started at 40th and Pecos. I was drafting off the pack but someone moved into my space and I braked going up the hill. It was all over. The pack was gone and I was left to my own peddle power. I noticed that Jan lost the pack about 100 meters after I did so I didn’t feel so bad. The pack passed a lot of the men that started two minutes before the women. Soon after the first turn it started to rain—not a lot but enough to get the road wet. At the 20K turn it started to rain a little harder and around 32K’s it was raining. I got in before the down pour but poor Gay, the 77 year old, rode in it for about 5 minutes. It didn’t faze her at all. She said she never has any competition in these races and she’s always the last one in but she enjoys it and will keep coming, hopefully, until she’s in the 90 division. And I hope to see her there.

My time wasn’t that great –1:33 for 40K’s. A 15.9 pace. The pack was 1:17. I could have done a little better. I didn’t want to push it on the first lap in case I burned out—in retrospect I could have done better because I was fine throughout the second lap. In the second lap the road was too wet for me to really push it and there was really no reason to unless I just wanted to get a better time. I wasn’t going to improve my placing because there was no one around me. There was ‘the pack’, then Jan, then me, and then Gay. All of the other non-racers that were present did the 20K. Most of the racers did the 20K and the 40K. The best part of the race? I had Pecos Road all to myself! That’s my big push for next year. All of the’ Ladies’ over 50 come enter. Just imagine--doing Pecos Road with no cars--heaven!!

At the awards ceremony I found that there was one person from the pack that was in my age category. She was from Massachusetts. She also won the 20K. This was a competition to qualify for the nationals. I guess you have to win first or second in a state in order to qualify. (Since I was second place I qualify. Isn’t that a kick?) Most of the ladies in the pack were from out of state—a bunch from Massachusetts, one from Alaska, a couple from Nevada. There were a lot of men from Nevada also. The Nevada ones I understand. They may not have a qualifying race for them there or maybe it was at a time that they couldn’t’ get to, but, to come all the way from Massachusetts? Seems strange.

This week, if it ever stops raining, I’m in the end of the year ladies’ doubles tennis tournament; the triathlon this week-end; the mixed doubles tennis tournament next week; and looking forward to finally riding with the ladies again the next week-end. Isn’t life fun! Will not do well in the ladies’ doubles but hope to do well in the mixed. However, that’s a double edged sword because if I do I’ll be in the finals on Sat. and that will be one more week of missing the Ladies ride. So, with or without me. Have a good ride.


PS. Roxie--thanks again for the use of your bike.

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