Character Building

It’s kind of strange, and humbling, and sometimes even life changing, when life throws so many curve balls at you in a short period of time. I sort of feel like this whole year has been like that, curve ball after curve ball. The week after my crash at Mellow Johnny’s I developed bronchitis. It seems to be a chronic thing for me in the past year, ever since racing the cold and wet Excruciation Exam last January. That was the very first time I have ever gotten bronchitis and I am so much more susceptible to it now. I got it again this past November after being caught in the super cold rain while camping for the Tyler race. I think what triggered it this time was a not so smart decision to pre ride the Rocky Hill race course on that Friday when it was drizzling and 30 something degrees. I thought I was home free after having a great race, until four days later when the nagging cough began. It never made me feel “sick” until the Friday after Mellow Johnny’s. I had already been off the bike from being so sore from hitting the ground, and now I was off because my chest and lungs just didn’t want to cooperate. I was super frustrated and this cough had lingered long enough. Desperate for answers and help, I finally went to the doctor…again. He put me on a treatment plan, and now I’m working at keeping my exercise induced asthma under control so that my bronchials can get a break and heal.  As of lately, I’m FINALLY feeling like my old self again and I am SO THANKFUL for every breath I take, literally!

I was slowly working my way back to riding, not including any intensity, just spinning my legs so that my muscles didn’t forget how. The weekend that the Pace Bend race rolled by, at the last-minute I decided to register. It was a long three lap race that I knew was going to be shortly over two hours. I figured it would be good to force myself to pace it, and since the course is pretty rocky I would just focus on my bike handling. At the starting line I was informed that they shortened my race to two laps! I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that. I didn’t want to go hard and now I almost felt forced to, but I held my ground and let the girls gun it from the start while I twiddled my thumbs in the back. I was sticking to my plan, riding happily through the woods, when out of nowhere, I found myself on the ground. In probably what was the smoothest part of the whole course, I had clipped a root with my pedal and apparently there was no saving it. After being banged up already I can honestly say I was ready to just pull the plug. My desire to ride and “race” had quickly faded.

Not long after that I came up to one of the rockier features and saw Carlos standing on the other side of the drop. He had gone over his bars and slammed his knee into a rock. At this point we were both mentally in a rut. We stood there for about five minutes trying to regroup, but neither one of us could get the other to snap out of it. In an attempt to bail from the race all together, but not knowing a short cut out of the trail, we continued riding. I guess he got a kick of energy and a newly found motivation because it didn’t take long before he said, “Hey, I’m just going to keep going!” Well, monkey see, monkey do, right? So I followed his lead and kept going too.
Just to keep this short, I will spare you all the details from the race that would never end. In a nutshell, between the two of us, it involved another slide out, a mechanical, getting whacked in the head by a tree, and another stop with one of the girls who broke their ankle on the course. Hence, we both finished…in last.

Finally for some good news…we bought a camper!!!! You know, some people lean towards comfort foods when they’re down. Well, since we like to do things big, we got a “comfort” camper! Lol That’s not really WHY we bought it, but it definitely did bring us MUCH comfort! 🙂 The friendly folks at Princess Craft Campers and Trailers in Roundrock were great! Pat and Steve helped pick out the right camper for us and we ended up with a sweet A-Liner Classic that has the off-road package. This thing is AWESOME!! We’ve spent two weekends in it so far and we absolutely LOVE IT! So if you see our triangle-shaped home at the races, feel free to stop by and check it out!

20140404-160225.jpgWe pulled our new A-Liner to Comfort, TX this last weekend for the next TMBRA race at Flat Rock Ranch. The weather was perfect, and I was super excited to be feeling better! At the start of my race I moved up from third to second in the first mile. I stayed close to Jessica, who was leading. As I got towards the top of the “upper loop,” all of a sudden I heard Stan’s squirting out of my tire. Ugh! I was only five miles into this twenty-seven mile race. I added some air in hopes of it sealing, but the gash was too big. I ended up having to put a tube in it. I knew my race was over as far as any sort of good result was concerned, but I still wanted to ride. When I rode through the start/finish I just kept going into the second half of the trail. I wasn’t really riding my full race pace, but I was still going at a good whip. Anyway, it wouldn’t be a “proper” racing experience if I didn’t go flying off my bike at least once, so I made sure to take at least one bad line and go over my bars on a lovely section called the “evil worm.” I laid there for a few minutes till I came back to my senses and then soft pedaled the last few miles trying not to kill myself again.

The funny thing about all this is that even though my results don’t reflect it in these past three races, and neither does my body for that matter, my technical skills have improved so much. It’s been a huge focus of mine and I’ve ridden so many more sections that I had to dismount from my bike in the past. These trails are far from easy, and regardless of the terrain, hard or easy, crashes happen. Sometimes you go long periods of time without one, and sometimes they just seem to happen one after another. Well, that’s where I’m at right now…battered and bruised, and there’s been a whole lot of character building going on in the Uranga house hold! Through it all, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off, Carlos has cleaned up my wounds, and we’ve thanked God once again for another healthy day.

One more week till our next adventure…Abilene here we come!