30 May 2006

"Back" in the day

Just a quick update before I actually do some work today ...

I finished the road race in 55th, my worst placing since I was a Cat. 3. As I've said before, though, it didn't matter to me, and I wasn't going to make any efforts on Friday.

I ended up 36th at Snake, four back from where I was last year. It's pretty obvious from the results who made it through the carnage on lap 1, and I take some solace from the fact that even former pro riders were just barely in the money, or just out of it. Kind of a frustrating day, but I felt "better" than I did a year ago, and it really was good 'cross training ...

Sunday went pretty well. It was again sweltering, this time topping out at about 93 or 95 degrees. They allowed a feed in this race, which was a godsend -- I went through four bottles in less than 90 minutes. I again felt like dog crap in the early part of this race (getting to be a yearly thing on Sunday), but was better than a year ago ... I let myself get too far back, but never lost contact, and again saw great improvement in my bike handling and awareness over years past. I started feeling better as the laps counted down, and with four to go I was in great position. As expected, we got swamped on the hill with three to go, so I went from top 10 to 35th or so ... I fought like hell on the last two laps, missed the mid-hill pileup as we came into the finish, and rolled in at 26th, four up from last year ... so far, even-steven for the two days ...

Things were not good on Sunday night. Between Snake and Melon City, and packing the car, and sitting in the car, and hauling bags, I did something to my lower back. It started to tighten on Sunday after the race, and despite a healthy dose (overdose) of Aleve, I was having trouble walking by the time we were done with dinner. Kim did a bit of a rub-down, and I stretched as much as possible, but when I woke up on Monday I was hurting. I popped some more Aleve, and went for a morning spin -- I felt OK on the bike, so I figured the race would be alright ...

The temps cooled slightly, down to 87 or so, and I had a fantastic start. But then I started to lose concentration, and let myself slide down about halfway through the pack of 130 -- I was worried about the heat, thinking too much about my back, and at one point even saw lightening off in the distance ... At half-race, I decided to get back into it, and from 25 to go until 15 to go steadily progressed until I was in the top 30 or so. My plan was working, and I wanted to be in the top 15-20 by 10 to go. At 15, I popped a Clif Shot, and as we came around corner six I stood and tried to jam ... nothing. There was no power there. And my lower back muscles twinged. Crap.

I held position for the next lap or two, but after we saw 12 to go, I again tried to stand, and it was game over. My back seized up, I couldn't hold my body position, and I slid out of line and watched the pack roll away. I actually chased for a lap and a half, seated the whole time and suffering all sorts of pain, but finally gave up the ghost and rolled over to the team tent, where Tammy found a bag of ice and Kim gave me some soda through a straw as I laid on the dirty cement since I couldn't sit upright in a chair. That sucked.

My back is still screwed up this morning, but is better, and I can at least move around and sit in my chair at work. I am disappointed, however, and am second-guessing my decision to pull out yesterday ... maybe if I had held position instead of trying to move up ... maybe if I hadn't let myself slide too far back ... maybe ... maybe ...

Truth is, though, yesterday felt super-easy physically (notwithstanding my back), but mentally I just wasn't there. I was having fun during the race, but I knew I wasn't in a position to do anything, and I started to question why I was there. Had I rolled in with the group, my results this weekend would have been more or less exactly the same as a year ago, and although I felt better, can I really say that's an improvement? Especially when my teammate Robert, with only 900 miles in his legs this season, so easily sat in the top 15 all day while I languished in 50th? So when my back locked up, it may have been a bit too easy to sit up, rather than try to push through -- granted, my objectives are down the road, and I probably did my body a favor, but that doesn't mean I'm not at least a little disappointed ...

I feel slightly better when I look at my race resume and see that this is only my third year racing Memorial Day at this level, and I did "feel" quite a bit better than last year. But I have to admit to more than a small bit of self-doubt, wondering why I do this if my results aren't improving. I still sit way too far back in the pack, even if I am better at moving up. Question is, do I care enough to spend the energy to make those moves? Right now, I'm not so sure ...

Hopefully this is all post-race fatigue talking. Probably is. I may race again in two weeks, depending on how my back feels, but either way I have a long vacation coming up with no bike and no racing. And then all of a sudden it's July, and 'cross season is just around the corner ...

That bloated feeling: Remember when I lost 7 lbs. in one day a few months ago? How about gaining 10 pounds in five days? That's right, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I was 10 pounds heavier than I was last Thursday. OUCH! It's all water weight (I hope!), as I drank soda this weekend, took Aleve (which has sodium), and drank a bunch of salted drinks to ensure I stayed hydrated ... still, when I look at my toes, I can see how tubby they are ... water only for the next few days!

ONLY 201 DAYS TO NATZ!!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris don't be so hard on yourself...you are an inspiration to many. Life is full of cycles up and down, get some rest and all will be well.

A fellow mate =)

Stina 1 + twins said...

Hmm... seized up back, rapid weight gain, swollen feet...why, if I didn't know better I'd say you were expecting twins! LMAO

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