Friday, August 7, 2009
Afraid of the Dark
I was amazed once I got back into Hope how many people were congratulating me, even though I arrived by car. "I didn't finish" I would say. And they would say, "I know, but congratulations on going as far as you did."
I have never received so much support in a race before. Even the guys who were busy finishing in under 10 hours took a moment out on the trail to give a few words of encouragement. Even people who I never met before, somehow figured out my name and cheered me on at the check point in Cooper Landing. And even now after having written my story of how I quit, people are calling and emailing to say that I did a good job getting that far.
But what went wrong, a few people asked. Was it my nutrition? Not enough training? These are valid questions. I started the day thinking I might be able to finish this race, and if I would have crawled out of Devil's I probably could have after about 18 hours. But what stopped me from finishing in a reasonable time? And what happened to my body on the climb out of Swan Lake?
I don't know. I'm still mulling it over. I know now that you can go into that dark place where I was at Swan Lake, but then come out fairly unscathed and able to ride. If I had continued my nutrition plan and gotten my crap together mentally, I could have finished.
The thing I haven't wanted to admit out loud is that that maybe I quit because I was afraid that as soon as I got back onto the trail, and everyone had left the Devil's trailhead, that I would be alone out on that trail in the dark and unable to ride.
Last year I rode from Devil's to Hope in my portion of the relay. Three hours of this ride was in the dark. The terrifying bear infested dark. The place where this years Soggy poster really takes on meaning. The place where a man watched a squirrel eat another squirrel in this years race. The place where Cheshire Cats talk to guys riding winter bikes in the summer. The place with the scary unicorns.
Okay maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic. Am I really just afraid of the dark?
Photo by John Quimby