|Blue ride with my guy. Only break that we took that day.|
Two years ago almost to the day, I was training to race my first Cat. 1 mountain bike racing season. To some, that may not be that big of a deal and for others, you may not even know what I am talking about. There are 4 cross country mountain bike racing categories. Cat. 3 (beginner), Cat.2 (Intermediate or sport), Cat 1 (Expert) and then if you are lucky enough to get sponsored, there is Pro. I had raced a year and a half in Cat 2. My first full season in Cat 2 was in 2009 and because I had such great results, it was time to challenge myself a bit further. This mostly means that the length of the race would go up but it also has a lot to do with the competition. The racers are stronger.
Ten days before my first race in April 2010, I was completely derailed with a cancer diagnosis. I went from training for bike racing to using all that strength up kicking cancers ass with surgeries and ridiculous amounts of treatment that has changed my body forever.
I have since been trying to build up my strength to race competitively in this 2012 season. If you have been following along, you know that last year I did race and completed two endurance races. While I do not want to down play those races, they were clearly not my most competitive. My results were not what mattered most. It was my way to say “Fuck You” to cancer. It was all about picking a goal and finishing it. I needed something to distract me. I have always used cycling as my escape and cancer did not change that. I had no expectations. Nor did I really feel like anyone else did either.
This year, I want things to be different. I do not want to be that “cancer girl” on the start line- I want to be the racer girl that feels she can compete with the best of them.
I have been going back and forth in my mind about racing this season in Cat 1 or Cat 2. After checking in on my ego, I realize the best choice for me is to start back in Cat. 2 and see how it all goes. I can always move up from there.
My first race will be the Chainstretcher on April 22. It is the first race of the Hudson to Highlands race series as well as my first race really ‘back’ to racing. It is held on my home turf and at one of my favorite places to ride – Blue Mountain Reservation
I really have no clue how this race will pan out but as I line up on that start line, I hope to find that inner racer girl again.