Wednesday, August 16, 2006

MW Windows Race (“Feel the Pane”)

Rocky Mount, VA
August 13, 2006
By Chelly Richards

Rocky Mount, Virginia, is where my boyfriend, Darrell, grew up and lived before he, as so many of Rocky Mount’s young people do, left for parts exciting and unknown (in his case Atlanta). What makes it great is that the race really has a small town feel. About 20 MW employees come out to help and there’s a large cheering section waiting for you as you enter the last descent. The local paper and TV station are all over the place, snapping pictures on the course, video taping as you ride by, and grabbing people for interviews.

They started this race 5 years ago as part of the Virginia DeRailer series and Darrell has done it three times, winning it every time. Of course, they love this. The paper prints an article with pictures of him on the course and victoriously riding across the finish line. The headline is something like “Darrell Prillaman, Our Hometown Hero”. The local station’s hour-long special on the race will air in a week and if you miss it the first time, don’t you worry – you have about 10 more chances to see it that weekend. This time, there’s an interview with Darrell and his parents (Dad was the elementary school principal for 40 years so he’s a celebrity, too) with me and his niece standing there, as well.

Good thing they didn’t ask me about my race on TV because it wasn’t pretty. Beforhand, Darrell told me how easy the course is and said there was no need to pre-ride. I think he over-estimates my abilities. He was right that the course is almost entirely double track but now I know that that doesn’t mean anything. Virginia is rocky. Whether there are two tracks or one makes no difference. The uphills are steep and the downhills are steep and muddy. I screamed (literally) down every one of them. There are two RIVER crossings for which I lifted my full-suspension bike over my head. One time the water was as high as my waist!

Again, I finished back with the newbies. I couldn’t understand why this girl behind me wasn’t trying to pass and found out later it was her first race. I ended up with third out of five in the 19-35 beginner women’s age group. I was beaten by one girl in tennis shoes and beat another two in tennis shoes. For someone who has been clipped in for 3 years, I think it’s fair to gauge success by the number of not-clipped-ins that you beat or are beaten by.
On the way home, Darrell and I had a conversation that went like this:

Me: I’m sick of hurting so much and always doing so bad.
D: Chelly, everyone hurts during the race.
Me: But its different when you hurt and win sometimes. It just plain sucks to hurt and lose all the time.

He had no idea what I was talking about. My next race is tentatively planned for Lynchburg, Virginia, in a month. The game plan is to just keep doing the races. Bike racing just doesn’t come easy for me so all I can do is keep working at it and hope it gets better.


Post a Comment

<< Home