This weekend I raced my first non-practice criterium since my spine surgery almost a year ago. It was a bit of a milestone for me and I really embraced the accomplishment. I had been feeling pretty good in the saddle lately and even managed to drop another 8 lbs. So when I finished a somewhat hilly little crit course and managed to finish with the lead group I actually felt pretty good. I was even convinced that my lycra encased sausage bod was looking a bit better than it had in the past. I felt a bit stronger and maybe even a bit slimmer. Until, one of my teammates posted a pic of me in my pre-race starting line stance. Other than the fact that my stature resembled that of a mountain gorilla that had gorged itself on mangos and doughnuts, all was OK.
I find motivation in a variety of forms. I like to imagine what the group must have thought a I lugged my fat little frame repeatedly up the mini hill. Bopping up and down on the pedals like a giant red, white and blue workout ball bouncing uphill. I am sure there were a few wondering how I managed to hold on- including myself.
My only real frustration was that the longer I held on the more confident I was that I could position myself for a strong finish and finally use my weight to an advantage. Especially, as the downhill portion of the course sets up for the final sprint to the finish. Unfortunately, on the second to last lap I chose a risky line, clipped a manhole and hopped a wheel. For a split second I thought I had relieved myself mid race! As I recovered from the jolt I sat up. It definitely freaked me out a bit. I looked down and realized the rubber was rolling fine and since all was ok I worked hard to bridge back to the group. It took me most of the lap and when we came around the bell sounded signalling the last lap. As the group set up for the final climb I found I was at my limit. The engine room was not responding. I worked hard but could have used a few moments of recovery so when the group jumped I slipped off the pace. I scooted to the finish just off the back of the main group. I was less than happy with my result but realized my training was paying off. Unfortunately, my weight loss was not quite there yet.
After 3 weeks of a re-adjusted diet, training myself to avoid processed foods and sugars, I realize that years of pasta, prosciutto, cannoli, and a fair share of adult beverages are still clinging to me like a four year old clings to his momma at his first day of preschool. It doesn’t matter what the scale says. It doesn’t even matter how you look in the morning mirror. What matters is when I don my kit and take the BMC for a road ride. The kit and the bike team up together to tell me the truth.
That night I ate some goat cheese, had an extra piece of sausage and did not refuse desert.
Hill repeats begin again this week.