Failing to plan is planning to fail. Poor preparation leads to piss poor performance. We all know the sayings and most of us are able to get organised to an acceptable level. I have not really self-identified as a hot mess until just recently, when in a very short space of time;
-my DI2 display broke on my XC bike,
-I sweated on my Garmin 520 on the ergo and it died,
-I crashed my road bike at 56km hr, and though I was incredibly lucky to come out with just a mass of scabs, I put a nasty dent in the top tube of my road bike and busted my hoods…
-…and a brand new kit I was wearing.
I thought that was enough; like it’s more than three things that have gone wrong; I have had my fix of misfortune for the next few years.
So with one bike that’s working properly, I headed down to Thredbo for the Cannonball Festival. Long term athlete and gravity shredder Ben Forbes was heading down as well, so we decided to make a trip of it. With the serious Josh Hooton we had a good crew.
During my plane flight I noticed there was some black stuff under the seat in front. Weird, I thought, maybe the underside of the seat has deteriorated? It took only a couple more minutes to realise my winter boots hadn’t lasted into this summer, and the entire sole had disintegrated. By the time we picked up the hire car the shoe was a remaining leather upper with some stitching on the bottom.
Never fear; I will pick up some shoes en route in Cooma. Josh, Ben and I all made a B-line for the bathroom, and I came out and had no idea where they were so headed down the road to Cooma’s best; Target Country. Featuring shoes for $10 in both a size 8 and 11 (I need a 9…) I purchased these super-tight beauties and found the boys chasing the trail of bits of sole like Colorado-branded boot breadcrumbs, to find me.
Perfect; it’s time for coffee. Grab some food and I was surprised that the coffee was BETTER THAN AVERAGE! I go to text Aido to let him know…and my screen had died. On and off and on and off again; it was the iPhone equivalent of the blue screen of death. I am a bit stressed at this point as I run between the three places that sell phones in Cooma; AusPost, the Newsagency and the electronics store, and try and pick something up. It’s a bit of a hustle and back and forth as I get a phone from AusPost then head back to the Electronics store to pick up a sim adaptor.
We head to Thredbo, the boys sleeping in the tight three seater van while I floor the van in third up the climbs at 60km/hr (a gutless wonder, don’t buy a Hyundai van). We arrive and head to the accom. Ben assured us that it would be fine for four people, and as we check in we are greeted with a single hotel room with two single beds…and two pull-out beds underneath. Even with two people it would be a squeeze but we were fitting in four…
The next day was full of runs, and the All Mountain Assault race. The course had gotten faster as the rain dried through the day and then slower as it loosened up. I played it technically conservative, what with my recent brokenness, but fanged the pedal bits and came away with 5th in Pro women, wishing I rode my gravity bike more.
The next day was epic for practice, with around 40km of descending on my 7 runs. I felt fine but lack of sleep was catching up…without a race we headed for some beers instead.
Saturday saw the Flow Motion Cup, basically a DH race on a Flow trail. Without much pedalling to be done it was down to being steely and quick. We were scheduled to race at 330pm however it was 530 before our race kicked off! The course had disintegrated a lot since the morning runs which made me think I should have just entered an age group and had it over with in good conditions, and had the rest of the day! The braking ruts were huge and intense and the course much looser than earlier in the day. Alas, I pedalled where I could and tried to stay smooth but couldn’t match the finesse of the super quick girls ending up 9th. Goes to show what a difference a few little mistakes can make in a discipline that takes no prisoners for imperfection! Our number four, Rob, did the race on his hardtail 29er singlespeed. What a crazy guy!
With my DH run for the next day scheduled again late in the day, I realised I would miss my flight to race, so instead headed on a Thredbo Valley Trail return loop on the big bike with the old Sydney crew; Rob, Marti and her friend Emma. While I probably wouldn’t choose the 160mm 14.5kg bike for a trail like this again it was a couple of good hours with good mates and finished with coffee; the way all good rides should.
Packing up I was sad to leave the sweet trails but ready to see the family again. While I love racing my bike, the long days waiting make me more anxious than just getting out there and racing of a morning, like in a conventional XCO, XCM or Gravity event.
Heading home I was at the airport earlier than expected, and the airline was being a stickler for the weight limit. Fair enough, they have a policy. I take out my $10 target shoes, a couple of bottles and dump them in the bin. The new guy gets me to re-weigh my bike; it’s still over. I have nothing else to take out unless I can wrangle my dropper post.
Long story short, it takes me a lot of grunting, plumbers-crack and sweating, but I get the dropper out, and have likely completely fucked it in the process. I pop my bag to oversize and head to security screening. Security stops me and states that I can’t take my seat and post through, as they have deemed it a weapon (seriously fuck you Canberra!) and I have to check it in.
At this stage I am 98% beaten. Thankfully I speak to someone else and they get the bike back then lucking look the other way with the overnight luggage. I think I looked so bedraggled with my scabby limbs from the road crash, crusted sweat from the effort of taking the seat out, and bags under my eyes from a crappy bed, that they took pity on me.
I get a call from Aido; Elv had fallen over running upstairs at my sister’s house and perhaps broken her arm. Yep; she broke her arm.
So now I am home, which is great. I am exhausted, and I have;
-Three broken bikes,
-A broken garmin,
-A torn kit,
-A dead phone, and;
-One busted child.
So things are going well.
I am officially a hot mess.