So with a LOT of encouragement from Matt, I agreed to try my first mountain bike race this past weekend. I only agreed because this was a race that was far away from all the people I know and would be self conscious racing in front of. Of course when I say I am going to race, that really means that I am going to start at the back of the pack and ride around the course at my speed, trying not to get in anyone's way or take anyone out. You see, I'm not that good on two wheels, but put me on something with four legs and that is a whole different ball game. Any how, against my better judgement, Matt and I made our way up north into the rocks and trees. This is a race that he has wanted to do for a long time now.
We stayed in a motel in Mattawa on the Friday night that was right on the Ottawa River, this made for a great relaxing night reading on the balcony before bed. Race morning came, did the usual stuff for Matt's race and saw him off as usual, then I found a shady spot to read for the next two hours before it was my turn (awesome, not even Matt there to watch me start and cause me to be nervous!). So the 30km race was small (sweet, less people to worry about running into!), the start went of well, I decided to start in the middle. By the time we hit the only section of single track (just down the driveway), I think I was in about 4rd spot. We had to get onto the highway for a short section and then make a left turn off the road onto some double track....here is where the "problems" began. The leaders carried on down the road, past the left turn sign, and this being my first race, I was hesitant to head in an entirely different direction by myself....so I turned around and rode back to the nearest race official to ask them where to go, meanwhile telling everyone I passed that I thought the leaders went the wrong way. It turns out the leader DID go the wrong way, so I sent the 4 wheeler after them, and led the rest in the right direction. Things were going great for the next 10 minutes or so, and then it went wrong. To sum it up, myself and a new friend ended up doing an extra 13km with lots of standing around discussing which way we should go. An extra 50 minutes or so of riding, with lots of repeated climbs up the same hills made of loose beach sand, and we were back on track. We rode the course just to see what we would have missed had we pulled the plug, we chatted, we rode through really deep muddy puddles, we hung out at the check station for a bit....all in all I had a great time. It turns out the problem was that someone had stolen a very important directional sign, aside from that the course was extremely well marked. This was a fun race for my first time, and I will go back again next year, the organizers are great, and the area is beautiful. So I think there is the possibility that I could have done quite well at my first race, but instead I did as it told me, and got Lost In The Rocks And Trees.