Friday, June 27, 2008

I smacked too soon (but I am gonna win)

I definitely feel silly about all my smack talk now, because I am in love with the Yukon. I don't want to beat the good mountain bikers of Whitehorse. I want to join them. They live in paradise - a Canadian Dream. An endless maze of singetrack that starts right out the back door. Dry, flowing trails that you have all to yourself. Amazing winter biking, too (sure, it's sometimes 50 below, but what place is perfect?) I'll tell you what place is close - Whitehorse.

I have experienced a ton of amazing biking in my first two days here. Probably way more biking than is healthy this close to a 24-hour race. But the lure of these tight, rolling trails is too strong, and I have lived in Juneau too long. In the land of roots and mud, you can forget what mountain biking can really be like. I am a singletrack-aholic from a prohibition town, currently on a bender.

My friends and I spent today in Carcross, a trail system with built jumps and berms (trails made for mountain biking! What a concept!) Unfortunately, I made a dumb mistake on an easy spur called "Old Wagon Trail" of all things, and went butt-over-face over the handlebars. I jammed my right knee right into my chainring and ripped a deep gash across my kneecap, and now it is swollen and sore. I'm hoping it loosens up before the race tomorrow. But even if it doesn't, I'm still going to win the race, which I'm kinda bummed about.

Why? Because I found out at the race meeting that I am the only woman competing in the solo class. Not only that, but I must be the only woman who has ever competed in the solo class, because I found out I am racing against my own course record. That's right. My no-training, still-injured, half-time effort of 2007 is supposedly the women's course record. Sigh.

There's still the boys to race against, but that's gonna be hard. I'm up against a couple of local heroes and Jeff Oatley of Fairbanks, a multiple (fast) finisher of the Iditarod Invitational and the first American to cross the finish line in the 2007 Race Across America. Oh well. It doesn't hurt to aim high. Gimpy knee and all.