Tonight was the end of the seven week Portland Racing short track series. I managed to get out to all of them, but raced only six. Since I have taken a year off of racing (and that includes training) I thought I'd to pretty terribly but hopefully improve over the weeks of racing. The first race was hard. Harder than I remembered. My eyes stung with sweat and I inhaled half my bike weight in dust. I finished near the bottom end of the singlespeed class, 34th place and I had a blast! Over the course of the series I managed to somehow get 3 more 34th place finishes! My wishes to see improvement were not happening, but I was still enjoying (almost) every minute of it.
This led me to think about why I race. It's hard. It's expensive. It is difficult to do with a young daughter and a wife that likes to race too, without being selfish (thanks Liz, I owe you!). It requires time sacrifices that are difficult to justify. But without the race, I don't challenge myself on my bike. I don't push as hard. I don't go to that place of pain, and I don't feel the relief on the other side. It is cathartic. And I feel that it is a positive outlet for beating out stress.
At tonight's finale I felt great. The course was the funnest one yet. I rode hard and even saw the front group not too far ahead after the starting straight! I pedaled through some pain, and when the results come out tomorrow, even if I got 34th, I felt like I was killing it.