It was my birthday. I’d been training all year for the mountain bike season. And my plan was to kick @#$!
But… I’d over trained, raced way too many days on the road. My diet was off enough to pack on 5 pounds. And my legs truly felt like crap… they bit back at me, just taking my “smoke break” walk around the office parking lot.
Racing was suddenly not seeming like a fun thing to do on the b-day.
The Boss insisted I would feel good in the morning… I believe everything he says.
Bam!… next thing I know it’s dark, and early, and my birthday. Eggs are cooking, avocado is cut, smoothie is blending, fueling up the old diesel.
I’m ahead of schedule, scattering through my brain comes… “fix that cleat!”
No problem, I’ve got time and I have a brand new cleat.
Done. Loaded. Heading down the road. Let’s race!
Sign up, warm up. All on schedule.
At the Start line I find a buddy to hand up my bottle after lap 1 – figuring there’s no need to add to the sloth I’ve become.
And we’re off.
I try my new strategy of not going out like an idiot but actually pacing myself the first 5 minutes.
15 minutes later, my masterpiece is not looking good at all.
Standing up and hammering hard, my foot pulls out of the pedal. Damn cleat. I sit and grind, pedaling in strong efficient circles. Foot pulls out again. DAMN cleat! Blast a rock garden. Foot out. Ddddddddamndamndamn. My right leg can only put out a fraction of the power being demanded.
Either the lack of rest or the pedaling imbalance or both creates all kinds of lactic acid. ouch, ouCH, OUCH!
I roll through the Start/Finish for lap 2… buddy with bottle has vanished. Shoot.
Next lap begins the long parade of being passed, a lot. Often. Not trying to be arrogant, but dudes I normally beat by minutes are passing me and kindly inquiring – Todd, you okay? – yep, just not my day.
Back through Start/Finish I get my bottle for the final lap… too late. Once you bonk – once I bonk – it’s over.
I wanted to quit, bad. But, I never quit. Ever. Quitting aint my style. I’m all in, regardless of the pain, the mishaps, whatever… I’m a finisher. Plus, I paid for this epic fail, and I’m gonna get my money’s worth.
These are all rookie mistakes – lack of rest, failing to test new equipment in advance, not having a solid race food plan.
Maybe I’m not that old after all?
Deconstruction: finished 20 minutes off the winning pace, but… PR’d the first half of the course, made the absolute best of the downhills, got a nice reminder of what it takes to race at high levels before Nationals this summer, saw all my friends and really enjoyed the day.