When I was in high school I was convinced to join the mountain bike team. With no experience or the right equipment I signed up. What did I have to lose? On my first day of our team ride I pulled up to the parking lot with my $199.99 Canadian Tire bike, my Walmart jogging pants and an old hoody. I thought I was prepared.
I did this every week, a couple times a week for a few months. Preparing myself for my first race at Hardwood Hills, I had no expectations of what a mountain bike race was like. I thought I was well equipped.
Equipped I was not, but physically and mentally ready I was. Showing up to the starting line on a cold rainy fall day, smiling ear to ear, I took a few minutes to check out my competition. Umm, Ok. So maybe my bike won’t hold up. On either side of me were girls with $4000.00 bikes, sponsored gear, helmets worth more then my bike and quads bigger then two of mine combined. Crap!
Within a few minutes we were all ligned up ready for the starting gun to go off. When it did I put pedal to the metal and went full tilt off the start line. Mud and elbows flying everywhere, grunts and shouts coming from beside me. Who the heck are these girls? Christ, I think I had applied mascara before this race. These girls barely wore deoderant.
Halfway thru the race I took sometime to finally study the trails and the competition, noticing I had just passed racer after racer. Though it seemed I was still way behind the packed, I soon realized I was passing those same girls I saw at the start line. The ones with the fancy bikes. Ha! I kept going strong. Within minutes I past the finish line, laughing at the fact that I had just finished my first ever mountain bike race, on a cheap bike.
Then I heard my name … “Renee! Renee! Renee!” I turned around to see my parents running at me. “Renee… did you cheat? Did you cut the trails?” My dad asks. “What? No! Why would you think that?” I reply. “Well, it seems as though you placed 15th, out of 55 racers” my dad says with enthusiasm. Well holy crap. I certainly did.
It doesnt always take the best equipment, technology or gear to win a race. It often times takes but sheer determination and a little laughter to get ahead of the pack and finish a race you never thought to enter in the first place.