MK Bowl Saturday at 11am, it's cold windy and raining on and off. Should I be racing? that is the question. Answer, probably not, but I am. Well I'm here but racing is pushing it a bit, I'm in very poor shape, yet feel fine, Something ain't right, Technically the course is a piece of pee, but a good few are struggling, one reason to ride. The field is decimated, another good reason to ride, but the lack of any power is the one very telling thing that all's not well.
I'll give it a go.
I'm now on the second row, and rightly so. It does mean that for once all season I can follow a wheel off the start rather than pull the whole lot along.
We get the whistle and to my surprise I cut through the field to make the first and hardest climb near the front, seems odd. Though once over the top it all goes very horribly wrong. Technical stuff fine, but once into the flat stretch into the wind my lungs give in. Miles tears past me as if he has just found a strip of tarmac. to race on. I have nothing, except a brief moment on a climb when I close, but then his off again, he is now gone proper!
I think about packing in and slow down. Time to assess. Small field, that's good...keep pedaling points to be had just finishing, Kevin is behind me, I can show the upstart that I can still ride even when I'm on my chin straps......keep pedaling. I can see riders already quiting......keep pedaling. Though the thing that baffles me is that I can ride past guys on the technicals and the climb yet I'm dying a thousand deaths on the flats? so I keep pedaling.
I'll carry on, but nothing is getting easy, I can't breathe properly, the bike is picking up mud and grass and weighs a ton. Thankfully the small fan club keeps me going. I employ the old keep it clean and smooth method, and not even that works. I stretch to get some air and hit the deck hard.
This is dreadful on a course I should do well on, well actually forgetting the pain, I am enjoying the course and conditions. The bike is faultless, everything is working well despite the conditions. That's Belgian cross bikes for you.
Still it's hardly racing, though thankfully Kevin remains behind me....imagine the Facebook abuse! Nothing comes until the last few metres when I actually sprint past another rider
If I was a novice that would have been a learning curve
And everybody else?
In V50 Miles beat me by nearly five minutes, Kevin trailed in behind me after just one go in Novices. Andrew in V40 did well despite failing gears. Chris raced a blinder in Seniors, along with Neil racing first time in class, Ross looked good in Novices, good job to as it's first time in class next week. And finally Darren improved in Novices after playing cat and mouse with Ross.
|Miles at full tilt|
|No country for old men|
|Fuck me. Let this be a warning|
What about that tale of woe? or maybe a word of warning.
Sunday night I couldn't breathe, we Had to get a GP out. Was it the race? well yes partly, but the main reason was not listening to my body. I'm sat at home ill swallowing antibiotics, inhaling a steroid spray, wearing a nasal strip and with an x-ray to look forward to, they've already taken my blood, when I should be racing.
So when should I have rested? I'll tell you, three weeks ago. That moment leaving the Black Lion start and turning to Gareth shaking my head and letting out a huge puff of air that's when. If it's hard after one hundred metres you've got a problem. That same day I abandoned the ride, and that's a first.
Then there's the poor result in the cyclocross the week after, followed by the missed Sunday ride and then no training at all for a week prior to racing.
Prior to the breathing scare I just put it down to tiredness or weak legs, I even upped the resistance on the turbos to strengthen the puny limbs. At no point did I think anything was wrong, either that or |I simply refused to acknowledge I was ill. If I was someone else looking in on me from the outside I'd have called me fool.
The good thing is that's it's been a real eye opener. I've learnt that to race you need to be well, you can race ill, but you won't do well and the results the next week will be even worse. And sometimes you need to remember that is hobby (well it's not, it's in the blood) and that the mortgage will still get paid if I miss a race or ride.