Saturday, February 12, 2011

Starting the Season Off... Right?

Yesterday was the first stage of the Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix, AZ. The format is a ~23K time trial, a 57 mile road race and a 40 minute crit. VOS is my first race in a long time, and first official test of the legs and lungs since being sick. I woke up the morning of the TT feeling great, the sky was a little bluer, the grass was greener- well, maybe that was just the turf on the putting green in the yard- and the sun was shining. I felt fantastic! Start time is approaching and I put my bike on the trainer, kit up and begin my warm up. 

Here's a bit of background so this post makes more sense. When I was home for the holidays my brother's rabbit ate the laces right out of my shoes. Yes, I know the holidays were two months ago, but that's neither here, nor there. Finally, the day before leaving for Arizona, I decided to finally replace the laces in my cycling shoes. After an hour of struggling with the shoes and very thin cable laces, cutting laces to their appropriate length- which I just guessed- and reassembling the ratchet closure system, I thought they were ready to go. Did I try to ride with them? No, why would I do that? Of course it would be fine.

While riding in Tucson with Ali Jones I realized that my shoe did not, in fact, work properly. It kept opening up and I was beginning to worry that my foot might just come out of the shoe. I thought about it and figured that it was because there was too much cable in the boa system and it was over loaded. I tried fixing it to no avail. The ratchet itself had broken. Now, I usually travel with a second pair of shoes, but did I this weekend? Ha! No, no, of course not. The solution? Electrical tape. A few times around the shoe and I was set to go! It's important to be able to improvise, right?

Now that my shoe had no chance of falling off my foot, I was set to resume my warm up, and then race. Start time rolls around and I take off for 23K of pain! Holy Chicken, it was painful, and I was proper f'd afterwards. Technically, I'm happy with the ride- I chose the right gears, was focused the whole time, had good body position and left everything out there. From a time and placing standpoint, it wasn't my best ride- I'm sitting 15th, 2:30 back- but I'm actually satisfied despite that. With every track camp and effort that we do, I realize just how much the Pnu took out of me. It makes total sense why old people die of pneumonia.
With the dancing shoes on

I gave my best yesterday and that's all I can ask for. Having Pnu has helped me realize how important it is to be patient although, admittedly,  I'm still not very good at it. Perhaps patience is like art- it's never actually finished, it's just "done" when it has to be.

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