For those of you who don't know there was a big race in Chicagoland to ring in the New Year.
I wasn't there.
A major cycling apparel brand issued a challenge: Ride 500km (310 miles) between December 23 and Jan 3.
I rode about 10miles.
A week before there was a big ride organized by some of my teammates into the west suburbs.
I didn't go.
The national championships for Cyclcross are just up the road in Madison, WI this weekend.
I won't be there.
I've been thinking a lot about my career as an not-quite-competitive amateur cyclist a lot in the last few weeks, but haven't done any actual cycling in almost 10 days. It's not that I was planning on skipping out on the late-season races, I was actually looking forward to them. It's just that sometimes life is what happens when you make other plans.
Two nights after the Afterglow I was sitting in bed with my lappy-top in my lap, when something inside my body shifted. Somewhere deep inside the circuitry of the machine a warning light toggled on.
It wasn't the "you're-spinning-in-a-circle-and-need-to-stop-spinning-or-you-will-vomit" light, it was the "VOMIT IMMINENT" light which indicated that I had anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to arrange my personal affairs. Fifteen minutes to line the bathroom floor with old pillows, grab a retired comforter (comfort was going to be in short supply), and curl up in a heap on the floor dreading what was about to happen...repeatedly. For the rest of the night.
And so the storm came and raged from 11pm to 5AM when the last surge crashed on the shore. It was another 12 hrs before I felt well enough to take in any calories at all. It was another day before I felt healthy enough to even think about pulling a bike off the wall and pedaling into the office. It took only three minutes of actually pedaling to regret that decision. I made it into the office safely, but got the "are you okay, you look PALE" questions. No, no I was not okay. The likely cause (given the symptoms) was food poisoning. I had some leftovers that were apparently left a little too long. Somewhere between Sunday and Tuesday night the leftovers switched from delicious to delicious but contaminated.
So the start of the Raffia Challenge found me pale and lacking strength with a variety of chemical imbalances and disruptions to my normal colonies of intestinal bacteria. Instead of pedaling I celebrated the holidays introducing my girlfriend to my family for the first time.
The day after Christmas when Michael C led a group of teammates, friends, and acquaintances on a marathon of a gravel road ride, I woke up with that "I-am-sick" taste in my mouth. I had a upper respiratory virus (i.e., the common cold), and it stole my energy and my motivation to pull a bike off the wall and pedal. The cold lingered all week. I worked from home for the week playing Skyrim and ignoring bikes collecting dust and losing tire pressure. It was a full 8-10 days of no cycling.
It was no just 8-10 days of no cycling, but it was also 8-10 days wondering if I should just give up on cycling all together. As the New Years resolution came and went, I especially wondered if my racing days were over. But the Barry Roubaix looms on the horizon. Close enough that it is a palpable goal, far enough away that I have time to improve my level of fitness and actually make a decent showing. Not a decent showing, but I would like to see some improvement over where I was last year. My CX season did not go the way I was hoping, I did not achieve my goals, but maybe this new year will bring new levels of personal enjoyment from the sport, and personal performance in the sport.
To the New Year.