Race Report - Greak Hawk Chase

7:17 AM

I hate writing a race report for a sucky race, which is why this one has been sitting around for a week now.  Hey, let’s get this over with…

We kept not committing to racing the Great Hawk Chase up in Duluth.  First, there were my classes (I could have taken both of my final exams in the days after the race, which meant I might be spending my weekend studying), but after a ridiculous week of cramming I was able to finish everything up before the weekend.  Then, there was the weather.  More rain in Duluth signaled the possibility of a rain lap, and paying for a hotel just to ride some ski trails was not something we wanted to do.

So we delayed, and delayed, and finally pulled the trigger on a hotel reservation Saturday morning around ten o’clock.  20 minutes later the organizers tweeted that they were putting together a rain lap, and hopefully wouldn’t have to use it.

Ugh.

When I found myself standing at the starting line (adjusted lap with more double-track) I was surprised to have a nervous, racing heart.  I suddenly felt very unprepared for the race ahead – no preview, no commitment, and my main weakness of inflexibility front-and-center.

What the heck – why not go for the hole-shot?  I’ve heard plenty of guys extoling the virtues of starting hard and hanging on.  This suddenly seemed like a good idea.

This was less of a good idea 10 minutes into the race when we had still to hit single track and my asthma came on hard.  First one, then another racer passed me.  Then more.  I tried to grab a wheel, but I was too busy giving in to the asthma and the accompanying anxiety to do much else.  I backed off, took some time to get my breathing back under control, and found myself in a huge bubble between the front and back of the field.  Which is pretty much where I existed for the rest of the race.  Too tired to attack and try to get back into the field, I checked out.

Not that I needed it, but this race was a reminder to myself of all the things I still need to work on.  Committing to a race while staying relaxed, having the flexibility to roll with whatever the race brings, oh yeah, and remembering to have fun at the races – it’s not like I’m a pro, for goodness sake.

Still the weekend was not a total bust.  The Spouse found a great new restaurant in Duluth for dinner: At Sarah’s Table Chester Creek Café.  They have a great view of the lake from high on the hill, amazing entrées built from local food sources, and a wonderful mojito that (almost) made me forget about the race!

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