I’ve had a cyclocross bike for a while now. I was shooting to do my first race last year but a motorcycle took me out. A year later, I’ve accomplished another cycling goal.
Cyclists in general like to suffer… seriously suffer. In fact, I think the more we suffer, the better we feel at the end of the ride. You with me? If so, you must try cyclocross.
The whistle start sends you off into a lactic burning sprint. Soon after, you feel your lungs pushing their way up your throat searching for more air. Your mouth is so dry from the dust storm created in the first turn, you push your tongue around your cheeks trying to find some relief. That’s about the first 60 seconds… then you settle in for 29 more minutes of an all out grind. Yep, just like I titled it, “gut-wrenching fun.” Man, did I have a blast. My fitness isn’t where it should be… but I was tired of messing around. I needed to experience my first cyclocross race. So what was I thinking just before the start?
I’m thinking, “I’m not really sure how much pain I’m about to put my body through.”
Out on the course, I named this potting soil hill…
Here’s the face I made each time I conquered potting soil hill…
Wait… here’s a closer look. I’m calling it my cyclocross growl…
Wait again… I believe my good pal and his friends are laughing after witnessing my cyclocross growl up potting soil hill.
Anyway… I felt I kept a pretty good pace tackling my first cyclocross course.
Thanks to my good friend and sopro cyclist, Brian Sain, I had some pretty good coaching on what to expect and how best to approach it. But you’re still wondering… if this was a race… how’d you do? Well, I finished 57th out of 63 cyclists. Sure I wanted to finish better but I’m not complaining. I rode without a crash, without a mechanical and with my pride… because I would have never finished if I hadn’t signed up.
So, what to do as I prepare for my next race? (Yes, I’m hooked and you will be too if you try it.) Time to crank up the training.
There’s nothing like hitting the greenway on the trike. I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom when my wife sent me this pic. Wishing I could be pedaling with my little buddy!
“The bicycle has a soul. If you succeed to love it, it will give you emotions that you will never forget.”
– Mario Cipollini
“It’s yourself you’re climbing. If you don’t want to know, stay at the bottom.”
Need For The Bike
On September 29th, I was truly in the best shape of my life and pedaling the 101 mile Bridge to Bridge ride in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. Twenty-four miles in… I was descending a mountain road. I never saw mile 25. There was really no time to react. I remember seeing the burgundy color of the motorcycle’s gas tank turning into me. I heard the crunch. That was about it.
Cruising close to 30 mph… my bike stopped dead. I took flight. I’m not sure how many feet I flew but my back took the brunt of the pavement landing. My first thought… get up and get back on the bike. But that thought was quickly pushed away by pain… intense pain. It was in my right hand, right leg and lower back.
I wasn’t scared. I had a comforting thought knowing I’d be OK… I didn’t break my back… I would still be able to walk. Considering the speed and impact, I am truly blessed! It was a quick response by EMT’s and volunteer firefighters. It seemed within ten minutes of the crash, they had me in a neck brace and on a backboard. I called my wife from inside the ambulance on the way to the ER. She was on her way to the finish, cowbell in hand, to cheer me up the climb of Grandfather Mountain. She was miles away… but she was right there with me.
Fast forward almost seven weeks later. The crash wasn’t good for carbon. My 2007 Tarmac is basically a wall ornament.
So, with my leg healing and the Doc’s “ok” to get back on the bike… it was time to head to the shop to get a new ride. My wife was right there with me. I’m comforted knowing I can get back in the saddle and climb my way back to being in the best shape of my life. Even better… my biggest supporter will be pedaling next to me on some of my first rides back.
Sorry shadow… second place for you today.
Another successful year at 24 Hours of Booty. I’m so grateful to the Sain Family as I pedal with them to remember Aaron, to honor my mom and dad… and so many more. Thank you all again for your loving support and generous donations! While watching the video… look for Denise, a brain cancer survivor. She’s on a tandem bike with her husband. What makes it even more inspirational… Denise told me she found out before Booty her cancer had come back. But she pedals and continues her fight. People like Denise make me push even harder… adding more and more miles every year! Inspired? Please consider joining us in 2011!
24 Hours of Booty 2010 from CycleHere on Vimeo.