RJ already covered the basics of the Echo Valley Rally pretty well, but she forgot a few things, and I have some of my own story to add:

First, most importantly, she forgot to mention the TEPEE! We were the first people ever to stay in Uncle Tim’s Tepee!  It was a little chilly, but otherwise we got a great nights sleep, AND it was right next to the start line.

Anyway, this was my first mountain bike race ever, and if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I was deathly afraid of mountain biking for at least 7 years.  I tried mountain biking in college, but on my first ride, I crashed, and because I had such paralyzing fear after that, I sold my mountain bike and gave up.  This year, I bought a new mountain bike, determined to give it another go.  I’m not sure what happened this time around, but I’ve gradually gotten to the point where I can ride the thing! Yeah!  Not well, mind you, but it’s a start.

So anyway, I signed up for the sport category even though I really should be a beginner… but what’s the fun in that?!  We started up the first climb, and I was doing pretty well, teetering between 2nd and 3rd place. I even passed RJ for a little bit, and I was thinking “wow! I’m ahead of a real mountain biker! I’d better go fast up this hill because I know I’ll lose a bunch of time descending.”  La de da, mountain biking is fun, maybe I’m ok at this!

Then, we start on the whoop de doos.  The first few were ok, but one towards the middle had more “whoop” than the others.  I hit it the wrong way, and all of a sudden I was superman-ing over my handlebars.  I landed on my chest/shoulder and instantly knocked the wind out of myself.  HEAVE this is scary HEAVE did I break anything? HEAVE don’t get run over HEAVE

It’s been a long time since I’ve knocked the wind out of myself, and I forgot how scary it can be!  For a few seconds, I thought I was dying, but I found my wind and slowly picked myself up off the ground.  I finished the rest of the descent timidly, crashing once more, but I decided to continue on to the next lap.  By this point, everyone in my category passed me, so my chances of podium were long gone.  I just tried to ride as steadily as I could and slowly regain my confidence.

As we approached the finish, I passed a gal who started a minute ahead of me.  She said “we made it!” and I told her “not quite yet!”  It’s true, she had spoken too soon because I crashed again on the steep downhill right before the finish.  As she rode by me, she said “what did you do this time?!” She could tell I was a roadie in mountain bike clothes, and it was on grass, afterall.  Roadie wins the day, though, because I quickly got back up and finished. Based on overall times, I beat her by 2 seconds! Last in my category but not quite totally last. I’ll take it!