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Pain and Mostly Suffering by Margie Nolan-BSS Mtn. Team

April 14, 2010

I announced after the Pace Bend race two weeks ago that I would not be racing Bar-H at St. Jo.  Too far to go and I was beginning to feel burned out on racing.  This decision didn’t last 24 hours, being the woman that I am… I changed my mind.

It all started when I checked the TMBRA Forum.  Everyone was complaining about the Devil’s Backbone – a particularly onerous hill climb that is part of the race course.  Naturally, I had to check it out for myself and see what all the fuss was about.

Friday I pre-rode the Devil’s Backbone, which consisted of several climbs that some of us have to hike up, dragging your bike along.  Otherwise the Bar-H trail consisted of some sweet single track, lots of climbing and some super sweet downhills.  I thought, “Let the race begin – It’ll hurt during the race, but all my races hurt!

For those that haven’t been to Bar-H, you climb, then recover, then climb, then you try to recover, then you climb, then you can’t recover.  After awhile, even small climbs start to hurt, and you can’t recover.  On the 2nd lap, I was walking climbs that I could normally make, my legs were screaming in pain, and I knew my competition, Michele, was just ahead of me.  I had to keep pushing through.

Photo from the Bar-H MTB Ranch

With only four miles left to the finish, I’m dead tired, still trying to catch Michele, excited I was almost done, and then the Under 12 kids caught me!  What???  Are you kidding me???  I’m dying out here and these kids are passing me like I’m sitting still.  All I heard was, “On your left”, “Can I pass???”, “Can I get by???”  I was surprised they didn’t say, “Move over old lady!”  I kept waiting for one of them to pass me with training wheels.  I just had to keep reminding myself that they hadn’t been out there on the course for over 2 hours.

At the end of the very last single track on the course, there was a long, uphill jeep road into a nasty headwind to the Finish Line.  As I left the single track, I saw Michele.  It was bitter sweet, I was relieved to have caught her and NOT looking forward to working hard to catch her.  I caught up with her and drafted off of her trying to recover, I knew there would be a sprint to the end.  We chatted with each other, we were both tired and agreed we’d be happy when we finally finished.   We turned the corner to the Finish Line and I downshift and took off.  She heard my shifting and started to stand up and sat back down and said, “You can have it.”  Tough way to end a race beating a friend, sadly it’s all part of racing.  I’m sure she’ll be happy to return the favor one day…

Margie Nolen
Bicyle Sport Shop-Women’s Mountain Bike Team

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