Friday, April 6, 2007

As my life as a cyclist evolved

So now that the foundation is set on where I came from now I can go on the fun stuff. So the first bike that got me hooked. A Rocky Mountain Hammer hardtail. It was steel but strong and light. It took me through 2 season. That first rough year but then I realized about proper training. I got hooked up with Georgian Cycle and Dave set me up with my first road bike. A Giant OCR2 which I still ride to this day. That year with the road bike saw huge jumps in my riding ability. I went from being at the middle of the pack at the weekly mountain bike series to busting into the top 10 by the end of the season. This is where my really addicton began.

September 2003 I signed up for the Chico Racing Fall 8 Hour as a solo. Id been watching some of my friends move up to the solo class and decided to try it. It was an experince. I did everything wrong from the food to proper hydration to even being on the wrong bike. Scary thing. I loved it. I finished in the top 25 out of 50 riders but it was tough. Thats when I figured it was time to get serious. I'd been drooling over the Giant NRS for sometime and noticed that most solo guys were on full suspensions inicluding the Giant. That spring the ground work was set and Dave set me up on an elctirc blue Giant NRS 1. Now i know it should be functon over form but I still think that a fast looking bike is very intimidating.

The first solo race came in May at Mansfield and I did pretty good. I took it easy and paced myself not know what to expect. I finished again in the middle of the pack but without any major issues. That year I raced on a 5 man team for Summer Solstice. I was getting better at dealing with being tired and still riding fast.

Well then came the next step. A small event in London at Boler mountain. It was a 12 hour event but great prep for the 24 hour coming up. I was doing really well and at one point was in 2nd place in the solo division. This is where the mental part of riding is hard. I hadnt learned about full commitment to an event. With less than 2 hours left in the race I took a few falls. It scared me. I was still getting used to riding really tired. I finished that lap and with just over an hour called it a day. I still managed to hold onto 4th place. I was a bit disappointed and more so now. Live and learn.

Then came my first 24 hour solo race. Hot August Nights. Well they lied to us. It was far from hot!!! It was cold right from the start . In the low teens at the beginnning of the race things were pretty good. Then as the sun went down so did I. At around the 10 hour mark of racing I was cold and tired and fell multiple times in a short grindy section. I came in that lap and bailed to my tent. With temps hovering just about the freezing mark I wasnt going back out for a while. The morning came around and I got back on at 8 and finished out the race. It was a learning experience.

I finished the season with the fall 8 hour. Wanting some revenge I went hard right from the start. Everything was perfect and finished 6th overall in the solo catagory. It was a great feeling. Good way to finsh the year.

2005 started off pretty good. I had trained all winter, invested in another Giant NRS for a back up bike. I've been lucky and have the best support crew out there. Mom. She enjoys this almost as much as I do. The only downfall, she isnt a bike mechanic. The 2nd bike was a necesity. After the first 8 hour race I was glad I had it. This was the worst start ever. In the first 5 laps I had 4 mechanicals. The seat post on my race bike kept coming loose. After the 3rd time I tore the post out of the other bike and conitnued on. Well then the chain started jumping. With this I slammed my knee into the bars a couple times. These were hard to deal with but finally sorted out. I gave up worrying about a top 10 finish but more in training. This is when things went really bad. My left foot began going extremely numb. It got so bad that I couldnt even walk on it. Well that was it race over for me at the 5 hour race. The next morning the pain was almost gone. The following day it was like nothing ever happened. It was strange.

The plan that year was to Summer Solstice solo but when the event sold out Rick, my sisters boyfriend and I decided to tag team it. There was lots of problems but in the end we road well together and ended up taking 3rd in the largest 24 hour race in north america. That podium was great to be on.

The following months 8 hour continued with some bad luck. The foot issue came back. This time at around the 4 hour mark or riding. At the same time my lower back continued to get tighter and even road riding was getting hard. I knew that my race season was over early.

I spent the rest of the summer seeing physio and massage therapist. No one seemed to come up with an answer to the problem. My sister loaned me a yoga dvd that fall and I was finding my overall body getting better. I had never been able to touch my toes before. Things got better and before you know it it was spring of 2006. My body was feeling great overall with no lower back problems.

That spring I decided to focus on the road bike and skip the first 8 hour. Things were going great and I was strong. The plan was to hammer the Summer Solstice race. I felt perfect the weeks before the race. I was consistently in the top 5 at the weekly series and putting some hurt in the boys on road rides. Then it hit. I got a cold a week before the race. Not just the sniffles but a sinus cold. 3 days before the race Jenn got me on Cold FX. Man that stuff works. I finally felt better the day before the race. Of course things dont go fully away that quickly. At the 7 hour mark I had to drop out. I was so depleted that I was getting dizzy spells on the course. This was one of those evil uncontrolable things that you never wish happen. The only bonus thing of it all was my foot flared up and my sister, who is a R.M.T. was able to track down the source. Stupid butt muscle. It was kinda funny though. People walking by and here is this woman jamming her elbow into a guys butt as he screams in pain. Jenn would just say "its ok he's my brother" as I fought to breath.

I skipped the summer 8 hour to focus on healling. Rick and I decided to go Tag Team again for Hot August Nights. We had an awesome race and the level of competition was high. The eventual winners are semi pro. We finished 6th and I'm really happy with that.

The fall 8 hour came and I decided to see how all the therapy had done. I took it easy with only one thing on my mind. Finish the full 8 hours. A friend from the Midland Tri club also competed and we rode for a couple laps together. He slowly fell behind. I felt really good at this event but just kept focusing on finishing. I the end I finished 9th. I had a minor wheel problem which cost me one position but at the end of the event I was happy. The foot issue was gone.

Now comes the 2007 season. With the first fun race down lets hope that things are back to normal and I can get some great results again. The first big race is the Mansfield 8 hour. I have almost 2 months to be ready for it. I will be!!!!

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