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Cheating Yourself.

"We knew that we had to be at the front for that last corner. I tried but I messed it up with visual judgment at the car deviation. I thought we kept going straight for another block, so Pinot got a good jump and then there was no time to come around him," Bookwalter explained, his anger fading to regret as the adrenaline of the sprint eased.-Cyclingnews    ___________________________________________________________ This quote hit me squarely between the eyes. It's the "anger fading to regret as the adrenaline of the sprint eased" bit that rang so true with me, because I've been there. Usually a lot of profanity colored the air before I withdrew into a dark cave of self-loathing. It's one thing to not have that extra needed to contest for the win. I've watched the winners ride away and observed the finish play out from behind far more than I'd like to admit. Sometimes (most of the time) you don't have it. Somebody is stronger. Usually a whole l…

Fenders.

Since I ride in the rain more often than some people, I try to at least make some adaptations so that I'm not completely miserable while I'm out there. Jackets, cycling caps, shoe covers... I'm going to get wet eventually, but I try to delay it a bit and make sure that once I do I'm not chilled to the bone. I've done enough of those rides.

At the top of my list of "must-haves" is a decent set of fenders. Unfortunately, the majority of my bikes don't allow "full-coverage" fenders because of tire and caliper brake clearance, so usually I just settle for "kinda-sorta, mostly covered-ish" fenders. I opt for the temporary mount style, held on by a couple rubber straps, because most race-oriented bikes don't have the mounts for more stable/long-term mounting. They slip out of alignment every ride, and are usually jettisoned as soon as the roads are mostly dry. Again, they're a compromise.

The gravel bike, unlike the vast majority o…

"Inside!"

Lately I've been in a discussion board thread about racers, mainly lower-level Cat 4/5s, yelling "INSIDE! INSIDE!" in crits, then expecting everyone to get out of their way because their own bad choices put them in a dangerous spot.

Here's my take:
I tell new racers to let me know when they get trapped on the inside of a turn. I like to be aware of things going on around me, especially things coming up fast behind me. I'm focused on the turn ahead of me, hitting the apex and giving the riders around me adequate room, so if I miss the fact that you tried to take an impossible line behind me that will result in you A.) braking or B.) t-boning the rider ahead of you, I'd like to know. Everyone gets caught inside once in a while. Let's all communicate so we can keep our skin.

That said, if you're finding yourself letting everyone know that you're on the "INSIDE!" more than once or twice, the problem is most likely you and I will be less enthuse…

Opted Out

As I expected, I didn't line up for the first race of the year. I just wasn't comfortable with the way I was recovering from the death bug, so I sat it out.

I usually do the first race of the season, traditionally a Moose Run time trial. It's usually my first indication of how much my off-season preparation is going to translate into early season results. It's by no means scientific, as a lot of things can skew the results.

Last year was a warm spring, and the snow was long gone, the temperatures mild, and the roads were clear. We'd all been on the road for weeks by the time the first race happened, so everyone was at a higher level than normally is the case in April. I pulled off a personal best for the course, despite being in mid-training burnout. The rest of the season was less stellar, with a podium at the Spring Stage Race and a Tour of Fairbanks crit win being the only other highlights.

The rest of the season was marked by wrecks and motivational problems. Eve…

The Six Hundred.

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred  -Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge Of The Light Brigade
____________________________________________________________________________ What you are now reading is the six hundredth blog post I've written. Each and every one has been a certified literary gem, encompassing the entire spectrum of human experience in bite-sized form for consumption by Micronesian fishermen and French porn bots. A worthy endeavor, indeed. Mainly what it's been is a test of endurance. Most blogs don't make it to 60 entries before the writer realizes that the medium is dead and moves onto more important things, like sorting socks or scooping the thawing dog poop in their back yard. You have to be an ego-centric fucktard to make it past 100 entries, especially when your average entry doesn't chronicle interesting events or innovations but instead is just nominally about a sport that nobody particip…

Almost Normal.

The power was decent. The heart rate was more or less right where it should have been. The sweating, while still profuse, wasn't out of the ordinary.

Terrified at this new turn of events, I immediately backed off and rode easy. I wasn't falling into this trap again. Feeling even a little bit good is just a sure sign that very bad things are about to happen.

I'm still not close to where I would have been if I hadn't gotten sick. However, this was a large jump from where I was only a few days ago.

I'm not sure why I felt better. Despite the three year old climbing in bed with us and forcing me to the edge in the middle of the night, I slept fairly decent. I've been backing off the cold medication a bunch, which may explain part of it. I'm not as stuffed up in the mornings. My coughing fits aren't measured in minutes anymore, and I don't involuntarily fall to my knees when they hit. All of the symptoms are still there, but they're now at mere plague-l…

Marginal Gains.

Nope, not some British asshole's idea of a good way to cover up systematic abuses of the TUE system. I mean marginal improvements in performance from a more or less legit source- getting over an ass-kicking illness.

I've been sick a bunch of times. Hell, my appendix went all jihadist and blew itself up all over my insides. I've broken, shredded, or dented myself a couple times, and my patient zero children have kept my immune system on its toes over the years. All that said, this has to be one of the top-five debilitating illnesses I've ever experienced. Usually I just go turtle for a couple days and bounce back. This time I wasn't so lucky. This time I pretty much wrecked myself.

Unlike the collar bone, where I was pretty much structurally unsound and resigned to healing, the body was still in shape after the initial hit. I just had nothing to give it. I still don't, and every day I get a little more worried about the fitness that might have drained out with the…