At the beginning of 2011, Nationals was not on my radar. My real focus was always the Master’s National Championships in Havana, Cuba and the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. However, it seemed that I would have a free place to stay and I had some frequent flyer miles so the idea of competing started to become a reality. The dates seemed to fall perfectly in with my master plan. I could compete in three events: time trial, criterium and road race in late August and early September. Return home, race the velodrome and a 20k time trial and then take 10-12 days off before leaving for Cuba and Utah. Well, not totally off. I race mountain bike in Utah so I planned on doing three or four mountain bike rides as well.
I think it was John Lennon that said “life happens when you are busy making other plans.” In this case I probably should have made other plans because a ton of things went wrong.
I made the mistake of racing eight times (the track three days and two criteriums) in the week leading up Nationals. In my own defense, I don’t have much experience racing the track. The races are much shorter so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. Man, was I wrong! Since you can’t change gears on a track bike you have to pick a gear that will make you go fast, which usually happens to be a big or hard gear. The races are much shorter on the track but they are all-out efforts. On Sunday, the day before I was to leave for Oregon, everything hurt. My hips were killing me: hip flexors, glutes, quads, IT band, shins— my fascia even seemed to hurt! This was a bad sign. Plus, my free place to stay fell through. I should’ve just stayed home.
I made the trip but was still in pain so I decided to not pre-ride the time trial course. I’m not a great time trialist and figured it would be better to save my legs.
Time Trial – Wednesday 8/31/2011
The course was awesome. Much more technical than I expected. It would’ve been a real advantage if I had ridden the course. When you’re riding as fast as you can and you see a corner, it helps to know how sharp the corner is. In this course, you only saw that corner once. It was hilly too. If you know the length of the hill you can gauge your effort. I didn’t know the course.. …… The results spoke for themselves. I wasn’t last, but seven minutes slower than the winner! I did see a small herd of deer on my descent right on the side of the road. I’ve heard of them jumping out in front of you so I backed off for them too. They sure beautiful animals.
On my cool-down, I happened to see a Snap Fitness gym and stopped in to check it out. A few of the trainers recommended some massage therapists and decided to get a massage. The masseuse happened to work at yoga studio so I decided to return the next day for a class.
On Thursday, as I was leaving for the class I thought I might visit a few of the other Snap Fitness locations so I checked my wallet for business cards. My company has a deal with Snap Fitness and thought I might as well do a little promotion while I was in town. I only had one business card in my wallet but luckily I had brought extra cards in my lap top briefcase. I grabbed everything and headed to Yoga. The yoga class was great and my hips did feel better after the class. On the way to the gym I spotted a Wells Fargo and thought I’d grab some extra cash in case I decided to get another massage. Stopped but, uh-oh, no wallet. Hmmmm…. The business cards were in the middle console but no wallet. “Maybe I never brought it.” I went to the gym, met the manager, exchanged cards and headed back to the hotel. I immediately checked where I last saw my wallet two hours prior but it wasn’t there! Now, I’m worried. I don’t have much cash and I flew here. Without an ID I can’t fly! It just doesn’t make sense. Why would someone steal my wallet out of my room but pass on my lap top and two $5000 bikes? If I did take my wallet and someone stole it out of the rental van, why would someone steal it but leave my Blackberry and my digital camera? I checked the van time after time, went through every inch of my room again and again but it wasn’t there! I had no other choice; I had to cancel everything in my wallet. It’s now Thursday and Monday is Labor Day. If I don’t get an ID by Saturday I’m stuck in Bend without cash. The only person who can help me is my friend Debra who’s watching my dog Mufasa at home, but she isn’t answering her phone. I finally get in touch with her and she’s able to get my passport to overnight it the next day. I’m not that confident in the next-day service…..After a sleepless night I rise early and go to the DMV. After a long line, they inform me, they can’t help me. Great…. On my way back to the room I feel I’d better eat something because I’ll have to race in a few hours. As I’m waiting for my breakfast I receive a “non-sufficient” funds notice on my Blackberry. Now, I’m freaking out. Did someone withdraw cash from my bank account? Do I just get up and leave, drive back to the room and then go to the bank. If I do that, I’ll have to eat really close to the criterium. I decide to wait. Three minutes, five minutes, eight minutes, eleven minutes and I finally get my food. I inhale it and get back to the room. I transfer some money from one account to another and then drive to Wells Fargo Bank. The banker assures me that both my Visa and two debit cards are cancelled. Whew…. With this mindset I head out to the National Championship Criterium.
Criterium – Friday 9/2/2011
The course was a long rectangle of a kilometer and half. I honestly didn’t even feel like riding my bike. This was to be my 85th race of the season and after losing my wallet and the pain in my hips; my head wasn’t in it.
It was fast right out of the gun. I didn’t feel like hurting. After 15 minutes I was done. I had averaged 29.2 mph. They weren’t fooling around. I decided to watch the race for a bit and twenty minutes later nine racers crashed in corner four. That could’ve been me. In hindsight, I’m glad I pulled out.
Went back to the room; still stressed out….hoping my passport would arrive the next day.
That night, the room above me had their TV so loud I couldn’t sleep. At 4:30am I finally called the front desk. I had put my clothes on and went room to room to make sure which room it was. They weren’t even awake. Thankfully, the front desk got them to turn it off.
At about 10am the UPS guy knocks on my door and I now have my passport! A load off my mind.
Road Race – Sunday 9/4/2011
Everything from waist down is still hurting. Just sitting on my bike hurts. I’m not in the mood. I’m here—- I start the race anyway. I do one lap and just couldn’t get my mind into racing. The course was really cool though. I limped back to the start/finish. I could barely turn the pedals in a small gear. I don’t even want to see my bike for at least two weeks. Those plans of racing the velodrome and a 20k time trial next week…… I don’t think so. I hope a break will get my head on straight. I’m mentally and physically burnt. I still have another 15 races to go! Yikes.