The Last Bike Race Before COVID – Togwotee Winter Classic
Togwotee Winter Classic Reboot
Note: A week after the race the coronavirus struck our small Wyoming town and I found myself quarantined due to a low white blood cell count. I take the virus seriously and strived to strike the right tone with this post. Little did any of us know but the race was a last hurrah, and the best day ever.
Togwotee Winter Classic Fatbike Race. To race or not to race?
Reboot or Re-booty? Read on! Or at least scroll to the end for the butt-grab photo.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, I’d been battling flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue for awhile. I felt more tired than I was during radiation treatment. I couldn’t shake it.
I attributed it to the adjunctive therapy that I take to prevent my breast cancer from coming back. I was also trying to do too much. I think my body was still recovering from the siege of breast treatment.
To top it off, the week before the race I had a marathon travel stint to see my Dad in Colorado. It was a great visit with him and my brother and thankfully my Dad came through surgery fine. But I came home with my tank emptier than before, emotionally and physically, so I decided not to race.
BUT, things change….. the day before the race I took a short bike ride and felt “okay.” Okay was a pretty big improvement. I rode two miles. That’s it, that was my training ride!
My friend Susan, with whom I originally planned to ride, said she she was going to go slowly and that the weather report looked stellar for race day. It wasn’t really a decision but a gut feeling. I decided to do it. I couldn’t pass up a day of riding in the mountains with my friends.
I wasn’t in race shape but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t sure how my foot would do. I broke it 6 months earlier during radiation treatment and it was still tender. But that didn’t matter either. I’ll say yes to anything that gets me out on my bike with my friends. I’m not competitive but I like the camaraderie and the personal challenge of racing. And as someone once said, you win if you make it to the start line.
I started slow ‘n steady but in the first few minutes I was unexpectedly overwhelmed. In a good way. I mean, in a F’ Yeah good way. I was flooded with a sense of joy and freedom that I probably haven’t felt since I was 6 years old and discovered slip-n-slides on a hot summer day in San Angelo, Texas.
I couldn’t hold back. After nine months of pain, fear, uncertainty, multiple setbacks, and clinical depression – I felt free. The trail was perfect, the sun was shining and the day stretched endless in front of me.
It’s like when I let my dog, Daisy, off her leash at the park. She bursts forth in total abandon with a big smile on her golden-doodle face.
I asked Su if she minded if I busted out. She said go.
The race was a mix of groomed snowmobile trail and packed road. Su caught up with me soon after I rolled out. My body wouldn’t go as fast as my mind wanted it to, but who cares!? A true friend, she waited for me every time I stopped to gasp for air.
I’m feeling more like myself lately and have dialed things back. I feel best when I’m moving so it’s hard not to push myself. My mistake was that I treated breast cancer like an endurance event and the harder things got, the harder I pushed forward – instead of listening to my body.
My goal is to stay off-leash; unattached to fear – even in the face of uncertainty. I wake up every day looking forward to what it will bring. Sunshine. Laughter. Riding my bike.
Big shout-out to Fitzgerald’s Cycles, The Bike Mill and Lava Mountain Lodge for making the race happen in style. Thanks to all the volunteers who sacrificed their own ride to help out! Thank you Jayme Chrisman Photography for the fabulous shots of a fab day!
The after-party was a lot of fun with first-class raffle prizes and the Lava Mountain Lodge has great food. Stop in for vittles when you are going over Togwotee Pass!!!
Calling all Fat Bikers! Make your plans for next year to be there!
See Togotwee Winter Classic’s Facebook page for more pics and info.
Happy Trails & Stay Unleashed.
P.S. It goes without saying — always say yes to whatever — even if you’re not ready. Don’t overthink it. Because if you don’t, the next thing you know you’ll be at home in quarantine due to a global pandemic waiting for someone to go to the store and buy you chocolate!