Sometimes Dfl Doesn’t Hurt

Postby Tinkerbell on Fri 19/Jun/09 9:16am

Last night was rather cold, but there was still a huge turn out to night racing. Unfortunately during the previous week those little imps the loggers had been at work installing massive fences and cutting down trees and there were changes afoot to the course. These changes were not suited to those of us rocking one gear as there was a lot more flat 4wd track in the second lap. In fact the second lap was predominantly 4wd track and it wasn’t really much fun. The course was also longer so it’s difficult to compare times.
Despite this I really enjoyed the race, my legs feel good and I had fun on the slippy wet singletrack. My strategy from last week let me down somewhat with the addition of more flat 4wd track and I wasn’t able to catch up with people in the last lap at all. However I did have company throughout these boring flat sections and it was most welcome. Firstly, because riding with someone else made me push harder, and secondly, because my companion was most amusing. Being a gentleman I insisted he finish before me as I was mentally prepared for the DFL (Dead Freakin Last) I received.
I was quite happy with it for a number of reasons.

Why last doesn’t hurt
Reason 1.
It is expected.
Last night was the coldest night we’ve had so far and often the colder nights are the ones that whittle out the slower riders. There were about 20 less people there last night and some of those would be from my end of the field. Also with the change to the course I knew I would be fighting a loosing battle. Much like during the Hammerhead race, having a realistic expectation of getting last serves to blunten the traumathat may otherwise be felt.

Reason 2.
The race was successful in other ways.
Last night I felt really strong throughout the race, and even better, I was able to push harder for longer when riding with my companion. I conquered nasty pinch climbs stronger, ran up Tip Hill faster, helped someone whose lights had failed and felt like I had definitely improved over the week. I finished the race exhausted and muddy and grinning.

Reason 3.
Fear of getting last can keep you off your bike.
Last year, when I was fitter, I was terrified of getting last. It seemed like the worse thing in the world. This year I know I’m slower and that there’s a risk I’ll get last. If I let getting last be something I must avoid at all costs I’ll have to stop racing. I don’t want to stop racing. I find it one of the most enjoyable, satisfying, motivational and challenging things I do. Someone has to get last at every race and if that person is me occasionally I don’t mind.

Reason 4.
You stay warmer.
On cold nights being the last one in means you don’t have to wait around for the prize giving. It’s sometimes underway when you get there. You stay warm from your efforts and then its time to go home with your bacon sandwich and dry change of clothes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’ll always be satisfied with last. In a couple of month’s time I hope to be getting back towards being fit again and then I’ll be expecting to avoid getting last like you avoid ebola (I was going to say swine flu, but apparently some people don’t want to avoid that). For now though I can read the situation well. On warmer nights when there are more people racing I don’t expect to get last, when there’smore singletrack and less 4wd track I don’t expect to get last and when there’s a new course I don’t expect to get last (I’m gifted with track brain). Next week I’ll see what the race gods throw before me and adjust my expectations accordingly and then I’ll ride my bike as hard as I can and be happy to be out doing something I love with a huge group crazies who like racing around in the dark.

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Original Published: 3:00pm Thursday, 18th June 2009 - NZST
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"I am smiling"
Member for: 12 years 2 months

Re: Sometimes Dfl Doesn’t Hurt

Postby xcmtb on Fri 19/Jun/09 9:25am

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"DFL - Dead Twazzicking Last!"
Member for: 12 years 8 months

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