Word (specifically, from the race organizer, with some subtle hinting from OBRA officials) is that the addition of a Womens' Singlespeed category to the Cross Crusade series is "not likely". Primary reasons given were the size of the start fields, which rival small nations during cyclocross season; and the added administrative headaches involved in trying to keep track of yet another category when lap counting.
If I want to race 'cross, that leaves me with three choices:
a. Race with Beginner Women again;
b. Cat up to Master Women 45+;
c. Cat up to an almost entirely male Singlespeed category.
If I choose A, I can't say my chances of success are improved over last year. I lost a lot of preparation time due to illness and allergies, and truthfully I don't feel like I've gotten any stronger by racing nearly every week of the short-track series.
If I choose B, the field will be smaller, perhaps fewer than 20 racers; but they will all kick my butt and do it on geared bikes.
If I choose C, I may as well go lay down on the MAX tracks and wait for the next train to run me over.
I enjoyed Short-track, I really did. But 25-30 minute races felt like about the longest I could handle and still remain standing afterwards. Suddenly, the prospect of a second season of 'cross, with its 45-minute races through mud and cold, doesn't sound nearly as exciting, or as fun. And I don't know what to do.
The fact is that, without knowing how to train, or even how to manage my time so that I CAN train, I'm honestly not sure how I'd prepare for cyclocross this year. Then there's the issue of not being able to know when my fatigue is mental or physical. Some days I can will myself beyond my comfort zone and make myself finish a race. Other days I am gasping for breath and all I want to do is stop, and some days I don't want to race at all. Because my Crohn's has never been in remission -- that is, I've never had a period of time since my original diagnosis that I could lay off the meds and eat whatever I wanted, I cannot know what it would be like to have a body that is fully energized -- or fully fueled or recovered. And that's what makes this so hard.
I am 47 years old and today when I woke up to go to work I felt like an old lady of 67. My body was bone-tired and my mood felt deflated. The part of me that I'd been trying to cheer up and buck up all summer was finally having its say, and this morning she asked me, "What is the point of racing if you never finish out of last place, if you're terrified of passing people and racing in tight packs, and you're constantly on the verge of being out of gas every time you race? And if you crash, you have to worry about getting hurt and not having health insurance (or ever being able to to get any). Why bother doing this at all?"
So today my self-doubt has taken hold and won't let go. What AM I doing this for, really?
I've signed up for the OBRA Championships, because they're offering a Womens' Singlespeed category and it seemed like the thing to do. But now I'm not so sure I want to do it. I looked at all those healthy people last night, all the other racers, and I HATED them for being so healthy. And today, now that I can admit that, all I want to do is go home and cry. Because there is no way that I can see my way clear to being the kind of human being who can go out and do this stuff every week and actually get stronger. I just don't know how people do it.
It is possible that all of this is based on lack of good sleep, on the fact that I raced twice last night and that I am quite tired today. So tonight I will try to relax, elevate my legs for a little while, get to bed at a decent hour and see if it helps.