Saturday, May 8, 2010

racing again (or, does your bike talk to you too?)

My return to "racing form", or some weak facsimile thereof, has been hampered by a series of physical and emotional stresses including, but not limited to: stress, work (see: stress), spring allergies, lack of consistent sleep (see: stress), a nasty Crohn's flare-up that sneaked up on me sometime in late February and didn't become readily apparent until early April, all of which contributed to a lack of follow-through on things like yoga (three days a week) and crunches (every other day). My "training plan" wasn't much to look at on paper, but there it was, and there it went down the tubes with every wheeze from the inhaler and every flarby message from my gut.

In short, I wasn't really all that psyched to give racing another go this year, because when I looked at the calendar and saw that it was late April, I realized that my plans had gone to crap and I was nowhere near being anything that resembled, "in shape".

That said, I have been riding my city bike daily, although the fatigue issues have compelled me to toss the bike on transit most days and make my commutes multi-modal. Then, in late April, I managed to pull off a metric century that, based on my lack of fitness, I had no business attemtping in the first place. Having achieved that, I finally returned my attention to the summer's racing, which for me starts in June. I announced to Sweetie last week that sometime this weekend I needed some time with Stompy, my singlespeed mountain bike.

It's important to remember that for me, "racing form" may simply mean I am able to finish every race I enter. Even in my second year of racing and my first racing with the singlespeeds, that's not a bad goal for someone living in my body. But still, it would be nice to be able to get stronger. Did I start too late? Can I ever hope to establish a training plan that doesn't get totally train-wrecked by work, stress, and the challenges of living (and aging) with Crohn's?

And -- bigger question -- in the end, does it matter?

If all I ever succeed in doing is going out and finishing every race I start, even if I never do better than Dead Effing Last, isn't that still more than most people do? Most people my age would never have taken up something like bike racing at this point in life, and here I am planning to do it again. Either I'm in denial, or crazy, or both. Or, more likely, I'm adjusting my mindset to accept where I am in the process and say, "hell, finishing in any placing will be fine as long as I finish". I won't win any prizes, and I won't care.

Tomorrow morning, while Sweetie meets a friend at the farmers' market, I'm taking Stompy out to do a little pre-season recon at PIR. I'll see what I have in my legs (and my gut), and I'll see what I can hope to improve upon before late June.

When I went to put the lawn chair away after my little nap, Stompy talked to me. She knows I'm taking her out tomorrow and she's happy. I spent a little time reinflating the tires, wiping off the dried mud-flecks left over from February, and thinking of what part of the course at PIR I'd like to ride.

2 comments:

JHester said...

At 39 I did my first 20 min. short-track mtn bike races. This spring, at 40, I did my first cx race(I beat my gf, but was bested by a 12-yr old!). Honestly, your blog has helped get me out there on a race course. I aim for just finishing, too, and have high hopes of meeting that goal. It's more Effing Fun than I thought it could be. I'm a little more in shape than you (no Crohn's), but just as willing to go (end of May!)

bikelovejones said...

I got bested by a LOT of 12-year-olds last year and I expect a similar experience again this year. No matter. It's good to be out there no matter what.
Happy racing!