N + 1

As the voice in my head (which happens to sound like an old jewish woman) continues to get louder and louder saying, “What are you doing with your life?” I have decided to give this competitive cycling thing another go.

Tomorrow I will be making an appearance at the Encino Velodrome for their orientation and certification class in hopes to take part in a track race this year. I’ve mentioned a few times how excited I am to get back to riding track bikes, my informal upbringing into the world of cycling. Now I get to once again ride inside what looks like a shrunken down Nascar track for bikes.

Ever since I finally built up this bike I have been making a big effort to ride it as much as possible on what some would call less conventional roads designed for this type of ride.

Everyone in LA's favorite photo spot
Everyone in LA’s favorite photo spot

I can say now that things are beginning to feel very familiar for the rest of my body. While I still remain apprehensive to ride anything gnarlier than Griffith Park for the time being, schlepping this pretty little thing up hills is starting to get easier (it’s going down those hills that I do not particularly care for.) This way I’ll have the opportunity to put a big effort on a closed course without fear of running into someone, something, or not being able to slow down.

If you happen to be in the area and free tomorrow night, you’re more than welcome to come and watch me ride in circles with a bunch of novice riders (what else is there to do on a Friday night anyway?)

The following morning will be my first time back on the road bike race course after my hiatus and mini-depression. I might as well make use of all this time and concentrate on putting a serious mental and physical effort in the world of racing. One thing I have noticed is that I am able to push a bigger gear (at a faster rate) ever since I started incorporating the track bike into my weekly commutes. While I am not paying a great deal of attention to analyzing my average times, I can tolerate a higher heart rate for a longer amount of time as well as put in a longer effort and recover a bit quicker from said effort. That being said I’ve also gained about six pounds since my last race. Perhaps this is a good weight for me since I don’t feel like an anchor up the hills, or like an out of shape fatso riding in these most recent extreme heats.

Saturday’s race is in Bakersfield where I know it will be equally as hot and dry as it is here out in the valley. While the potential to pass out and heat stroke is always to be considered, my mental tolerance for the heat seems to carry me through these longer group rides (plus my mantra of asking for more heat and wind when the going gets tough.)

Racing bikes makes me feel a little less anxious in the grand scheme of things. It keeps away that, “you should be studying” feeling that starts to creep in my head when I catch myself goofing off more than I should be. It keeps the wolves at bay an my existence justified (to some degree.)

This break from racing has given me a fresh perspective on future competitive goals and approaches to said goals. I don’t need to race every weekend to feel successful. While my ride everywhere lifestyle may not reflect it clearly, qualitative racing over quantitative is easier to digest (much like the vegan black bean quinoa burgers I made for dinner today.)



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