FOTC: Danny Levin

Danny’s First Race, by Danny Levin

When Danny sent his post to me, I had never met him in person.  He reached out to me with general comments about my blog (in response to a comment by a dude named Marius), and we started talking about racing.  A few months later, he decided to take the plunge and nail his first race.

Dude had all of the same anxiety and questions we all have–and it was all for nothing, because the guy is clearly a rocket on a bike.

Here’s his post about his first race:  The Albion Endur-O Cup.

(BTW, I met Danny after the fall Epic 8 Hour–a month after the O-Cup–and he’s awesome)team-colin-epic-8-hour.jpg

My First Race

After much procrastination (about racing in general) and much more encouragement – I finally registered and went to my first race at the Albion Edur-O-Cup… and spoiler alert I had a blast. I have liked the idea of entering some races: there’s the camaraderie, the atmosphere, the competition, and of course, bikes. The problem was that I am not a ‘racer’ and I certainly an over thinker. I would just sit and every “what if…” you could imagine popped up in my head. It was intimidating and kind of freaky (not in a good way).

So before the race, I made sure to temper my expectations and set realistic goals. When I asked the race organizer what category I should enter, they weren’t able to respond before online registration closed (I was registering at the last minute) so I chose “Master Sport Men 30-39”.

15 minutes after I had registered, they responded, advising me to enter “citizen men 17+”. Ugh, too late. Then I went to pre-ride the course on Thursday (race was Saturday) and it was intense. My rides are usually 1 hour and around 15km… This is a (gruelling – at least by my standards) 27km course that takes 1.5-2hrs. Realizing that:

  • a) I am a race virgin
  • b) I have not trained for this
  • c) I am in a harder category than suggested
  • d) I am a nervous wreck

I made the goal to simply finish the race and simply to not finish in last place for my category. With my “goals” set and expectations basically non-existent after the pre-ride, I was ready for race day. I even stopped thinking of it as “race day” and began to think of it as a group ride since my goals weren’t to win or blast by people – I just wanted to ride the course, see what races are all about and finish.

Race day came and although my body wasn’t as ready as it could be, I made sure my gear, nutrition and hydration were. I loaded up my car, I pulled out of my driveway and rolled up to Albion Hills. I parked my car and began to get ready. I stayed focused on getting everything in order so my mind wouldn’t wander into its usual overthinking state. I got my race plate, did a quick warm up and waited by the finish hoping to see my #1 encourager, Team Colin, cross the finish. I chatted with whoever was standing beside me and found everyone to be really friendly and helpful. What also made it chill were my realistic goals and expectations.

Pretty soon, I was in my starting block where I’d wait 10 minutes or so for the start. I chatted with some folks there and one person mentioned this was their first race too, and then another chimed in that it only is his second race. Hmm, maybe this won’t be so bad.

The race started and I purposely went to the back of the pack as I didn’t want to slow anyone down. Within a minute, I passed someone, then another. I was hydrating and energy gelling well as the race carried on. Someone had a mech issue with the bike so I stopped to offer a hand… One rider claimed to be “dying” and in need of water so I filled his bottle with a couple hundred mil’s of sauce. After the initial buzz of the anticipation/start, I was just out there on an epic ride.

And epic it was. I finished. 4th last in my heat (WIN?!). I know I could’ve done better. I know I will do better. I can’t wait for my next race!

Moral of the story? Stop over thinking. Just go and ride… everything else will fall into place and it will kick ass.

Great race. I finished. I didn’t come in last. I gave some guy the rest of my water bc he was dying, helped another rider out. Really stacked my trail karma. Rode with some folks for quite a distance and the chatting was fun. Im so glad I did this. So glad that I ended up at Wendy’s and ate one of each.

Danny and a bundle of adorableness

A Final Comment from Team Colin

I talked to Danny after the race.  Turns out, if he had entered in the Citizen Men 17+ category (as Superfly suggested), he would have placed 1st.  Boom.
Since that race, I’ve seen Danny at the Fall Epic 8 Hour, Team Colin Day (Um, Night) @ Joyride 150, and we’ve chatted online.  I think dude is hooked.  Awesome.
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