Money Man: How to find inspiration for a race

It’s our health issue and my sister and I both like to work out (bike or hike or run or walk). Nothing too crazy although we sometimes teeter on the brink of obsession — inspired by “incidents” along the way.

Mud, Sweat and Beers 2010, complete with jammies.

Here’s an example:

In our first mountain bike race, Peak2Peak at Crystal Mountain in 2006, we were treated to the unlikely sight of a man in stiff blue jeans. Us, in our $100 spandex shorts and $100 jerseys. Him, in his Levis. Passing us. Easily in the first mile. Up a hill.

But it wasn’t the jeans. It wasn’t the hill he sprinted around us on. It wasn’t the 20-year-old bike his gold-stitched denim pockets sat upon. It was the shocking jangle of chain as he whizzed by. From his wallet. His chain wallet. Sticking out of his back pocket.

This is when an obsession was born and bred on the hard-packed trail of a ski resort. We looked at each other and reached consensus with nary a word: He was going down.

We’re happy to say that there was a resounding comeback in that race. We caught the Money Man and his wallet later. (Six miles later, a sore spot in this story.) But we passed him on the climb out of the valley and never saw him again. And we were smart enough not to look back to see how close he might be.

That led to an obsession to beat all men wearing denim jeans and translated to many more miles on the trails over the next few years. Then came Mud, Sweat and Beers at Mt. Holiday.

But, before race day arrived, as our obsessions are wont to do, we faltered. This biking thing was hard and really, we were in it for the fun. So, when we stumbled on a rack of Disney jammies en route to Brick Wheels for spandex shorts, it created the perfect storm: We decided we’d wear our spandex shorts, but (light bulb!) hide them under matching pajamas.

What would be funnier than two grown women in striped Snoopy pajamas in a mountain bike race?

Everything apparently.

No one, and we mean no one, acknowledged our getups on race day. It was awkward but we marched on, proud to be creative in a world of disc brakes and sponsored jerseys. As we jostled for the front of the back of the pack at the start line, we got a few sidelong looks but still, no laughs.

On the trail, it got worse. We were talking and riding and enjoying ourselves when suddenly, it happened. The unimaginable.

We started passing people. There we were, faster than last year, our training paying off! We were ecstatic (understatement) and put the pedal down!

But there was something in the air with each person we passed. Something not good. Something close to distaste and perhaps, yes, there it was, straight-out disgust. What’s worse than being beat? Being beat by a couple of girls in Peanuts nightwear.

We had, unwittingly, become Money Man.

We passed men and women in $100 spandex and $100 jerseys. We passed them left, right and center and picked our way out of the front of the back of the pack to the back of the front of the pack. We were on top of the world. The Money Man obsession had paid off in spades

In the end, our time was so unimpressive that we couldn’t scare up a look of envy at the finish line. And, granted, it was the last time we rode a race out of “uniform.” But still, it was a memorable race. We were Money Man for a few miles that May and the obsession took hold.

Now we enter races here and there — biking races, 5ks, tris, whatever the passing obsession might be. And, while we never see a podium, it’s still hard not to love the thrill of getting out and trying. Who knows where we might be if not for the jangle of the Money Man?

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