Finally on the bike again this week after a 6 and a half week hiatus. Interesting how much mental processing goes on during a bike ride. I’ve replayed my crash as well as many thoughts about my injury and recovery. I also battle with the fact that I should not be riding yet, or to put it in clearer terms, shouldn’t be risking another fall. Technically, I am not recovered to a level that would permit me to train at full effort or full speed, but in my case I feel like I am risking more by not riding at all.
It really is amazing how far sports marketing has come in the last few years. The leaders in the industry continue to innovate in order to make an impact with professionals, and amateurs. This is a case study on how one of the biggest brands in sports decided to make an impact on the weekend warrior. Using an unknown, slightly overweight, amateur cyclist you may know as Heavy Eddy.
According to “Mighty” Mick “back in the day, they used to train by chasin’ chickens. If you could catch a chicken you could catch greased lightnin’!!!” I don’t know why that goofy quote stuck with me. It might be because it was a great euphemism way ahead of its day, or because it led to another famous quote from Mick about eating lightning and crappin’ thunder! Or maybe I just needed to succumb to my primal urge to chase a flightless bird through a back alley in hopes of turning it into a golden fried mouthful of greasy goodness. But really, who chases chickens? Who even has chickens to chase in the middle of Philly? And what does any of this have to do with cycling? I digress. I guess what I am getting at is there are ways to train that if they don’t identify you as a total jack-ass and ensure you lose any remaining sense of dignity, might actually make you better, faster and stronger.
If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.
This is not only a great description of what happens during racing but an all enveloping description of the way I have felt for my rides these past few days. Even my blog posts are suffering! After a couple of weeks of rest, then a surprise summer cold and finally a few days of travel and ramped up client demands, I found it does not take long to find myself alone and falling behind with every pedal stroke.
There are some things that are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. In my case it was a series of cult movie classics that I was unfortunate enough to be exposed to when I was still a wee lad back in the seventies. Trilogy of Terror and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, were 2 made for TV horror flicks featuring mini demon-like creatures. It was an impression that left me scarred for a long, long, loooong time. I struggled to sleep in the dark, insisted on leaving my bedroom door partially open, and slept with the sheets pulled way over my head leaving only a 3 inch gap separating me from the cool breath of life and the diminutive demons of the dark who were scurrying around my bed echoing those chilling little whispers from hell. Not to mention the all out sprint/ long jump combo stride every time I ran up the basement stairs. Running full speed while taking 3 steps at a time, was all I could do to escape the scissor wielding Zulu doll from the underworld that was fast on my heels taking swipes and bites at my barely escaping achilles tendons.
I’ve just spent 2 weeks recharging my battery. Sure, I’ve spent time on the bike, after all what kind of vacation does not include cycling? But it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve really pushed myself through any prolonged efforts or taken a visit to the pain cave. Since then, I’ve stopped mid-rides for Italian ice, conversed with friends during rides without gasping mid story, and even been able to even hum a few bars of my favorite Taylor Swift ditty while rolling on the fattie. Basicly, I’ve been riding on rainbows, in the company of unicorns and fuzzy bunnies for the last 2 weeks.
I almost died last week.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a great story about how I cheated death while daring a high-speed 2-wheel descent down a mountain pass or a base-jumping accident. Or even better, saving an elderly woman, children, or a litter of puppies from a burning building. Nope, mine happened while doing yard work. Exposure to something caused an anaphylactic reaction while mowing the lawn. This earned me an ambulance trip to the ER. But in every cloud… there is silver, yet I say, platinum lining! I now am free of all yard duties until I can assess the culprit. Yes, in a manner of speaking you might say I am allergic to yard work! Which in itself made this the best week of my life!
Today we race! Been looking forward to this all year!
I want to send a special shout out to the EMC2 members and great people who have put so much effort and time into making this great event happen! Good luck to all the racers out there, hope the speeds are up and the rubber’s down. Also, thanks to all who are volunteering and supporting these races. And of course a special thanks to the residents and town of Elmhurst for letting us share their streets and making this possible. Amateur races are all day long. The women’s pro race is at 6:10 and men’s pro twilight event starts at 8:00. It’s a perfect day for racing, hope to see some of you out there!
For more info http://www.elmhurstcyclingclassic.com/
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.
It’s only 4 days into this year’s Tour and we’ve already experienced some memorable lessons in courage, drive and determination. From the comfort of my couch, morning cup of coffee in hand, I sit and watch. I am enthralled by the character that defines those who are tested for 21 days while being pushed to their physical and mental limits. It’s why I watch the Tour. It’s why I love the Tour.