The North Shore Mountain Bike Association here in BC runs enduro races called Fivers every couple of weeks in the summer. It’s a great way to get out and have some fun at any level yet still feel the excitement of a race. It’s only $5 to enter as long as you’re an NSMBA member. Through this 45 day challenge I have kicked around the idea of finding something to race but was always too intimidated. When I saw last night’s race course posted on the website, I couldn’t resist. The climb was manageable, I knew 3/4 of the trails really well, and I had a day to try out the last trail. Ryan and I scouted out the trail I’d never been on before (Oil Can) the night before the race to make sure I was actually able to do it. It was challenging but went well.
Overall, I had the very achievable (I think) goal of just finishing the race before they took all the timing sensors down. If I didn’t come dead last, that’d just be gravy. While I’m still waiting for the results with other people’s times to be posted, by the looks of my Strava I went faster than I ever have before on those trails so in a race against myself, I definitely won.
All day yesterday, I was filled with nervous energy. I was so worried I’d crash, not finish, hold people up so they got mad, and any other number of panicky things that popped into my mind. This led me to pacing around Ryan’s living room, waiting for him to be ready to leave and asking the VERY important (at the time) question: “should I brush my teeth!?!?” Just in case you’re curious, the answer was, “if it’ll make you feel better and calm down, go for it.”
After nervously lining up to get my timing chip and signed in, I got on my bike and headed up. It was at that point that I realized that this experience was strikingly similar to….. just riding my bike. I will admit, knowing you’re on a timer on the actual trails probably led me to be a touch zippier than normal, but for the most part I felt calm and confident just like a normal day on the trails. Everyone was absolutely lovely. No one made fun of me for being a newbie or slower than others and we were spaced out well enough that I only had to let someone pass me once in the whole course.
Ryan was waiting for me at the finish line which was the best feeling in the world. Getting cheered on and also knowing that my very tired body got to stop soon left me beaming with pride.
After the race, we headed to Norco John Henry Bikes who were the sponsors for this ride. They had food and drinks and a really fun mini bike race. Yes, we got on the mini bike and raced. No we didn’t win. But it was a ton of fun and a great way to get to know the community of racers I’m in.
If you have a low-key type race like this near you, I highly recommend checking it out, even if you’re nervous. If you’re upfront about your newness, I find that people are really understanding and kind. Hopefully this is just the start of my racing career and I look forward to posting more race stories in the future.