Sarah Musick will be chronicling her experiences of her first mountain bike stage race at the 2012 Breck Epic. Check back for her updates.
Today is the first day I think about how many days/miles/elevation remained. It is a daunting thought.
After today’s stage the only parts of my body that don’t hurt are my nose and hair. Actually, my hair feels great!
Every tendon and ligament in my body throbs with pain as I keep forcing the pedals over. I dream of kittens, gears, rainbows, and suspension. It’s a beautiful game.
I have a nice chat with the second place singlespeed woman on the initial road climb and then she pulls away on her 19 tooth cog and geared geeks blow by me per usual. I have planned to distract myself from the head noise but it comes with a vengeance.
The first negative focus is my brakes. I can hear the slight squeal. I can feel the drag of resistance. More people pass. Then the fourth singlespeeder chats past me and I sink. Like a stone.
I am off my bike twice in the first singletrack climb trying to fix my brake. No luck. It feels like everyone in the entire race goes by me. They nearly do.
I’ve struggled with depression my entire life and a mutation of it over the past three years. I knew it would be a potential challenge this week. I would have been completely happy not to blog about it, but today wouldn’t make a lot of sense without an explanation.
I know every human on the planet struggles with negative thoughts especially when we’re suffering. For those of us who are depressed the negative thoughts come harder and faster. Just like any disease it is an exaggeration of what healthy people feel and experience.
As was my exercise today, when I caught myself thinking in negatives I threw them on their head. It went like this:
You’re not doing well. You’re not doing well. You’re not doing well.
You’re doing good. You’re doing good. You’re doing good.
Sounds unbelievably simple. For me it isn’t. It happens numerous times throughout the day. So much head time is exhausting for me. Often it brings me to tears. Here I am tearing down incredible Colorado singletrack wanting nothing more than for mud to be on my teeth from the smile plastered across my face.
That’s not how my day begins. Everything has been so calculated. Yet, regardless of the nasty start I’m thrilled to say it ended differently. For me this is a massive victory even if the time clock didn’t reflect it.
I embraced the squeal of my brakes as the sound of a baby bird with its wing caught. The baby bird and I talked all day. I rushed up and over the mountain passes just to get the little guy free from my bike.
My Love greeted me at Aid Station 1, took off my sunglasses and cupped my cheeks. I had been crying. I felt the surge of positivity. I tapped into that for miles and miles.
Just like my teammate Amy said, I kept looking up. Holy crap, what views today! It was like climbing a 14er with my bike by me.
Not once did I contemplate what the other singlespeed women were doing. It was about me getting past me today, and I did!
I rode a lot of ripping singletrack with someone’s Grandpa, too and he was incredibly cool. I would have never done that had I been ahead in the field.
I struggled a great deal today and can’t say I did so gracefully. But in the end the battle of Me vs. Me was won by the good guys. And I finally found the end of the rainbow at the top of French Pass… literally skittles in hand, given to me by a fellow mountain biker.
I finished the stage 4th singlespeed woman and hung on to the 3rd place overall by only 6 mins.
Read more from Sarah Musick:
Breck Epic diary: The sweet cologne of a competitor went to my head >>
Breck Epic diary day 2: One of my toughest days in America >>
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