Last weekend was my first race. I've been training for a while and I feel I was well prepared. I was 12th of 15 riders in my division, but I had a personal record of about 58mins even after stopping for a guy that endo'd right in front of me and dislocated his elbow. More about that in a bit.
Although I felt well prepared for the race, that didn't stop me from quite literally being left in the dust of everyone else that started with me. The first part of the course was up a jeep road and it was quite dusty. The race started, everyone started pedaling, it got quite dusty from my position in the rear of the group, and then everyone disappeared into the dust never to be seen again. Well, not really, I did keep up with a small group of 3 other riders as we started the single track called Wookie Way.
On the single track, I was easily able to keep pace with the group that didn't completely drop me at the beginning. I passed them all eventually on a rock here and a root there where my competitors got caught. They found me again on the climbs. After the longest climb of the race, there is a downhill section with a few ledge drop offs that I've practiced several times. I was confident in rolling down all of them and jumping a few of them. As the guy I ended up behind after the climb and I were approaching the tallest of the drops, I give him some space not knowing how he is going to handle the drop. He goes over the edge and all I see is his bike in the air upside down followed by screaming. He went over the handlebars, landing against a tree and dislocating his elbow badly. As he was screaming for a medic, I dismounted and set my bike down off the trail. Soon other racers were coming down the hill and I attempted to warn them of the bike on the trail and the injured rider against the tree by the landing. A few other riders stopped to help the rider as I started to run back up the hill toward the closest checkpoint to alert a medic and warn oncoming racers. Several racers passed. After a few minutes, I was within earshot of the checkpoint and the medic was running down the hill. He passed me and was to the rider within 5 minutes. As I got back to the place my bike was laying on its side by the trail, I could see the injured rider was getting help so I was comfortable to continue my race.
The rest of the race I worked to make up the lost time from my stop. Even with me stopping, I still recorded a personal best time. I was satisfied with my first race and glad I did not injure myself.