Sarah Musick will be chronicling her experiences of her first mountain bike stage race at the 2012 Breck Epic. Check back for her updates.
I confess I’ve lived in America all my life. America is about electricity and cell phones. It’s about fast convenience and instant gratifications. It’s about comfort. About heaters and air conditioners. All things I have grown quite fond of over the years. The land of plenty.
Well, in today’s Breck Epic stage I don’t think we were in America (minus the Aid Stations, you guys rocked). There was no iPhone App to improve our situation. No warm, dry building with a massive TV on the wall. Only rain, rain, rain, and dang it was cold, too. Nothing I purchased in America would keep me dry and warm today.
The light sprinkles started at the start line, of course. They started with the rest of us spandex wearing hoodlums who intentionally left our weather-proof structures (again). Once the sprinkles started they didn’t cease. Just like the rest of us.
I remember making mud pies as a kid. We were poor in Southwest Virginia and mud pies were free. I recall the warm mess of dirt and water on my hands, the desire to smear it on my face like a wild person, the irresistible urge to fling it at my little brother when he wasn’t looking.
Today, in Third World Colorado, the mud was cold. It was fun. But, more importantly it was frigidly cold.
My body was like an old station wagon on a long road trip. The “hands,” or “brake” light turned on at mile 15. I kept driving. Then at mile 22 the “feet,” or “gas” light shot on the dashboard. Not long after I got that dull, hot feeling you get after you become so cold. Maybe it was delirium, but I embraced the warm feeling and waited to die.
Thankfully, my “legs,” or “check engine” light never came on. My core stayed warm and I didn’t stop moving. I couldn’t stop for anything, except once to pee in an open field with riders passing. One guy asked if I was okay. I obliged his conversation whilst peeing and told him I was good except for misplacing my dignity. He confirmed we’d all lost our dignity and splashed away into the trees.
Nice guy. Hope he never recognizes me again.
I did slightly relish watching grown men disintegrate into sub-human softies with soggy-butt chamois, pushing their thousand dollar bikes and soaked to the bone. The whole experience of today’s stage brought us all down to a very basic functioning human level. Pretty bizarre to watch and experience the loss of power we think we have.
It was survival mode and I’m pretty proud of myself for how committed to surviving I actually was. I drank when the last thing I wanted was more water near me. I ate when I could hear the audible gurgles from my stomach. I talked to every human I came across because of my failure to do so the day before. And I hung tough when hypothermia was beginning to take over my limbs.
When I crossed the finish line I initially thought I was in Mexico because a cute lady stuffed me into a Mexican truck and forced food and drink down me. I realized I was back in America as soon as the force of the water hose hit my bare legs. Then in perfect American fashion, I was eased into a hot tub and a sandwich placed in my hand. Thanks, America!
Best of all, I love that we paid American dollars to have today’s experience, but for the record tomorrow can be totally different! I’m just sayin.
I finished 3rd out of four singlespeed women and it felt spectacular to be on the podium.
Musick started mountain biking in denim shorts one New Mexican summer a decade ago. After three years as the only girl on the college mountain bike team she moved from her home state of Virginia to the Rocky Mountains. Colorado changes people. She was schooled and mentored by top pro riders on Colorado Springs group rides. She became instantly captivated and in 2007 won the Colorado State Series. Currently she rides and races with the YetiBeti Women’s Mountain Bike Team, works at Carmichael Training Systems, and is a part of start-up company Enduro Bites, making her days full of freakin’ fast peps. Musick writes about her struggle with depression and the therapy she finds on the bike. She’s a badass (first year) singlespeeder who’s not taking prisoners in the race of life. Thanks to sponsors Stan’s NoTubes, Yeti Cycles, Ergon, Twin Six, Golden Bike Shop, Noosa, Bulumu, White Girl Salsa, Cooper Door Coffee, Honey Stinger, Optic Nerve