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Purple marks of victory

Posing after the race at a rather tricky spot along the course. I had to carry my bike down this part ...

My legs are covered in scrapes and bruises – natural tattoos symbolizing my insane summer.

My first year of mountain bike racing is coming to an end. And in true style, I’m going out with a bang – more like a lot of them.

The last two races have thrown me to the ground more than ever. On Aug. 28, I rode in the Blacks Grove race in Wadena, Minn.  I didn’t blog after that race for a reason. I was feeling a little defeated. Proving rather technical, that course put up quite the challenge. I fell a lot. I’m used to falling, but my spills on that day were the type you don’t forget. Flying over your handlebars with your feat still attached to the pedals can make a grown woman feel like a scared little girl. Needless to say, I was humbled. Those tough spots did, however, make me appreciate the smooth, fun parts of the course even more.

This past weekend, I rode in another challenging course at Maplelag in Callaway, Minn. Again, I fell – a lot. But I did have some small victories, which I think are rather important to celebrate.

Although I’ve been beat up on the trails the past few weeks, I can recognize the improvement I’ve made over the course of the season. My time spent in the dirt (and mud) hasn’t made me want to quit – it’s only made me want to continue. One day, perhaps I’ll look back at my first year racing with fond memories of the lessons learned on the trail.

But for now, I guess I’ll  just take it one bruise at a time.

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