I just got the results for the Fool's Gold race and I ended up 25th OA (19th in Male Open) in 6:32. That's pretty good as far as I am concerned, way better than I assumed I was doing after 3-4 hours into the race. In fact, had I known I was only 37 minutes out of a top ten finish, I could have maybe pushed a little harder - who knows. What if's have always been a part of racing.
I am happy with that also since I choose to do my bidding on a singlespeed and in most cases I put myself at a disadvantage by doing so. I like singlespeeds and the benefits of riding one outweigh the liabilites. It is fun to beat geared bikes and it is more fun to beat geared f/s bikes on a really rough course like the Fool's Gold one.
I am not in this to beat others - although that is fun, it is not what motivates me. I like to push myself just to see where I will break. Rich Dillen puts it best "I want to see how big of a scorch mark I leave on the Earth when I finally burn out". Yeah that's how I feel.
I am still new to the solo racing thing and I am still learning. Team events are a piece of cake now. In the early days, I'd get nervous and all spastic before a race and now I am as calm as a cucumber. I have only done one solo 24, three Marathon XC's, and four 12 hours and in each one, I doubt myself, I doubt my abilities, I get discouraged. You can really get in a deep, dark mental hole during one of these events. The encouragement from family, friends, other racers and spectators is really helpful. The funny thing is that the more I learn from reading blogs of others and talking to more people at the races is that everyone has the same issues. R.E.M was right - Everybody Hurts.
Gee, I thought it was just me. Maybe I don't suck after all.