I am back from my eventful weekend racing bikes. Before I dive in to details, in retrospect, I am glad I’ve begun this trend of riding bikes competitively day after day. It builds one’s strength and keeps a rider well rounded in both road racing, and criterium racing.
Going into this weekend, I knew I was in good shape for the race to come. I had taken all the right steps in training ( a never-ending affair) and wanted to see how I stacked up against everyone else. Seeing as this was the first road race of the season, I heard a lot of talk from people saying that they were going to use this event as training for races in the future. The first race began in Santa Maria. I had the pleasure of staying at a future teammate’s house nearby. The journey involved taking the 154 freeway through Angeles Crest. The sights I saw traveling up and down the roads were awe-inspiring. It was on that road that I began to understand the joys James Dean felt from driving along the highways and canyon roads. Thankfully, my story does not end the same as his story ended. I made it to the house to pick up a team jersey and was greeted with the utmost hospitality.
When it came time to race, I decided I was going to warm-up mid ride given the distance we were required to travel. My stats looked something like this. The course was not too demanding and the most difficult part of the race was the flat section after the first big turn. There were guys up there putting a serious effort once things got flat. I managed to hang on and saw some stragglers before the rollers came. Once altitude was introduced, the playing field began to level out. Looking at how much climbing we did, I’m surprised we didn’t hit it at a hotter pace. Needless to say, I began the race at the back of the pack and ended toward the top 10 finishers. In passing our field of 100, I began to realize the most encouraging feeling I have ever felt,
“Victory is tangible”
To see others huffing and puffing up the roads was motivation for me to keep on bridging gaps, and hanging on to others when the accelerations came. After the final lap things began to pick up in speed. I still was able to hang on and was a little upset about my positioning since I was behind someone who was having a more difficult time than I. I made it to the top ten and when the sprint finish approached, things began to get hairy. The course was on a one way road, and other riders had been pulled from the race for jumping the double yellow line. When it came time to sprint, people were jumping this same line without penalty. As upsetting as this was, there was nothing I could do. The worst part is that someone started to nudge out and ended up moving me towards this same spot where I ended up hitting the first set of orange cones and crashed out of the race.
Long story short, I am fine and do not wish to take photos of the damage that was done. I have a lot of road rash, and I think my right foot is sprained from the crash. Nothing looks infected and I have been taking proper care of said injuries.
I ended up going right back to the house to began to shower, eat, and recover. I was concerned for my foot because it had swelled up on the outer area and I thought it may be broken. After icing and medicating, the swelling went down and I was only able to put little amounts of weight on it. The house I stayed at really tended to my wounds and well being. There were other riders from this team at the house and I got a sincere vibe that they were genuinely interested in my well being. This is a big reason why I intend to join their team. Food was eaten, drinks were drank, and sleeping was challenging at the end of the night. Before I went to bed, I was discussing my options as to what to do tomorrow. I could either:
- Go to the hospital (which really wasn’t an option I was willing to go forth with.)
- Stay off the foot and not race the next day
- Or stay off the foot, and either race or go for a spin on my own
I chose to race on Sunday for two reasons. One, because physically, I felt like I needed to fully assess my foot to see if there was severe damage done and to recover from my wreck. Two, to mentally keep the fear of racing with others in tight-knit quarters from consuming me.
Sunday morning came and I was able to put a bit more weight on the foot and Looked forward to being able to get back on the bike. No significant damage was done to the bike (mostly cosmetic) which made all systems go. The silliest thing I found out was that, as long as I didn’t get out of saddle, I felt just fine. After a saddle clenching road race the day before, and my unfortunate result, I knew I clearly had no real option of winning, and I was content with that. The race went underway and despite feeling nervous the entire time, I eventually became a little more comfortable than before. More race stats are right here. I got to see a lot of friends, and managed to keep both wheels down for this one. I finished my race and accomplished all I wanted to that day. I gave my muscles a good stretch, and am not so nervous when it comes to riding close with others. There were no crashes in our race which gave me a little more confidence for next time.
Once all was said and done, the thoughts reflecting on what a great weekend began to flood in. From driving on beautiful roads with great scenic views
When speaking in the present, my neck is incredibly stiff, my body is pretty sore, it hurts to sneeze, and I hope I can sleep off most of this pain to be able to make it into work tomorrow (and to race again soon.) So cal looks very gloomy. It’s a good day to stay in and rest. I can’t wait to put myself in another eventful weekend this year (without crashing.) Until then, it’s time to recover.