Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Informal Race and my Demons

I have been racing since 2008.  In the past 6 years I’ve averaged 20 races a year.  I think…I am…getting burned out.  Or something.  I’m not sure, but I just haven’t been my usual self.  And it doesn’t help that I lost my race buddy (Tom’s crash that has put him out of commission this summer). This year I just don’t have that spark I used to, that makes me dig deep.

So today I had just left my house for a road ride, turning from my road onto Clazemont in Montpelier.  As I started up the shallow long hill, I heard “on your left”.  “What?” is my typical response, not as in “I didn’t hear you”, but as in “Oh no you don’t, you are not going to pass me!” (Old habits die hard even though my biking Spirit is weak lately.)  I stood up to start banging the pedals and looked to my left and lo and behold it was Frank Yeager, my teammate.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a teammate while I’ve started a ride from my house.  Instantly, I think partly because it was Frank and I knew I didn’t have much of a chance, and partly because of my weak bike spirit, and partly because I’m not in great shape right now (not training hard because of the weak bike spirit), I just sat back down and didn’t chase.  Background- since I started riding I’ve always been a chaser, like a dog I can’t let a road bike pass me without trying to stay on their wheel. 

I slogged my way to the top of the hill, feeling sorry for myself…then when I got to the flat part, I saw him at the stop sign turning right onto Taylor’s Creek.  That was where I was going.  He was quite a ways away from me, just a small speck…but something in me went “I can’t let this go, I’ve got to try to get him” (maybe it was that I had finished the hill, or that I had a little warm-up, or mostly that I wanted to give myself a second chance).  So I put my bike in the big ring and started hammering.  The old chase spirit came back.  My legs eventually started burning, I was breathing hard- and it felt good to suffer, the way it used to.  I don’t think I’ve pushed myself in a while.  It felt good too, passing two other bicyclists that he had passed.  And after a couple of miles I realized I was gaining on him!  Slowly, but steadily I was reeling him in. 

About 4 miles-ish up the road, when I was so much closer, maybe 75 yards from him, he turned right onto Centreville Road.  I was going straight, so the chase was done, but I felt good- it had lit that old fire again.  I’m not sure if it will stay lit or not, but now I know the embers are still there…and for that I thank you Frank.  And please, let me have this…don’t tell me if you weren’t going hard on Taylor’s Creek, if that was some recovery spin for you- I don’t want to know.  Leave me with this spark of hope.

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