Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ups and Downs: Update from Fitchburg

I'm home on the couch, drinking tea, instead of being at the bike race in Fitchburg.

I have mixed feelings about this. I have a slight, but annoyingly persistent cold, and yesterday during the circuit race I felt absolutely horrible. I sucked it up, rode a smart race, tried to be a part of the actual racing, and rolled in with the pack to an ignominious finish. The thing is though, with the form I have had in the last month or two, I should have been able to pick that race up and spin it on my finger like a basketball. Instead I suffered all day, had heavy legs, felt crappy, and descended into a spiral of negative thinking, self loathing, and general unhappiness. Not a particularly rational reaction to having a bad day of bike racing, but nobody has ever accused me of being particularly rational.

So I pulled the plug. I don't want to get sicker, I do want to race well at the Tour De Quebec next week, and racing when you're sick, trying just to follow wheels and survive, is no fun at all. I have never dropped out of a stage race before, and it doesn't feel very good, despite being sure that I made the right decision. After dropping out of Housatonic two weeks ago feeling the beginnings of this same cold and suffering from short sleep, I'm starting to feel a little all-or-nothing about my season, which was going really well until a couple of weeks ago. Being sick is being sick, though. So what? It's a good opportunity for me to catch up on some life stuff and settle for a few days while I get better. And given the time of year and the volume of racing and training I already have in the bag, the extra rest will likely do me a heap of good.

In much better news, my good friend and teammate, Matt Purdy, won the cat 2 road race today at Fitchburg in fine style. He dropped his early break companions to solo for the last two laps, which on that course is no joke. In the end he held a minute and a half gap over the chasing duo of Dylan McNicholas and Cameron Cogburn, who had both looked pretty unbeatable over the last couple of stages. He got the win, the points jersey, and moved himself way up on GC, possibly onto the podium but the results aren't in yet. I have said it before on this blog, but Matt is a seriously strong and motivated bike rider, and he has trained, and sacrificed, and suffered in anonymity for a long time now. He deserves this win in a big way, and I am really proud of him.

I'm a little sad that I wasn't there to help and to share in the victory, and to tell the truth I feel a bit like I let my team down. I have this "what if?" feeling like maybe I should have started today...but I know I shouldn't. I know my throat hurts and I'm achey and lightheaded, and pedaling up that hill yesterday--which usually makes me feel like a tough guy--made me feel like a chump. But I have a score to settle with that road race, and I was really hoping that this was my year. And with Wachusset removed, it looked like it might be. But the nice thing about bike racing is that it's a team sport, and there's always another race next weekend. But damn I wish I was there to see my boy come across that line with nothing but air behind him! Next time.


1 comment:

  1. Even without Wachussett that stupid road stage was hard. If you weren't feeling it then you weren't going to be any help and probably make yourself sicker. You made the right decision.