Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Riddance 2009

2009 was pretty much bullshit. Lackluster performance throughout my road and cyclocross seasons, two bad crashes (one that I'm still suffering from as I try and type with my hand in a cast), and several mechanical issues with my road bike (none that I can afford to remedy) and you have all the ingredients for a shit cocktail. Here's what I decided to do about it: stop the pity party and move on.

2010 is going to be the year of the new attitude. Focus is going to be shifted from pressure to perform to just having fun. Seems like all of 2009 I felt like I was unable to relax and let go. I think a lot of that had to do with the pressure I put on myself. So for 2010, no more pressure. It's going to be all about the fun and enjoying the fitness that comes from riding a bicycle.

So with that: Piss off 2009, I'm over you. Here's to a pressure-free, fun and prosperous 2010!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where is Thumbkin?

If you look hard enough, he's in there, all wrapped up in bandages. According to my surgeon, the procedure was a success and the torn ligament in my thumb has been sutured back together. Now for the recovery: 5-6 weeks in a cast/splint followed by several weeks of rehab to get strength and range of motion back.

The craziest thing about the whole ordeal was the nerve blocking agent that the anesthesiologist injected into my arm. It made my entire right arm numb and rendered it totally useless for about 12-13 hours. At one point, I was a little concerned that they screwed something up and I had lost use of my arm indefinitely, the effect lasted so long. But, little by little, starting with a slight movement in my fingers, the feeling came back and the pain set in...

So now I'm riding the Vicodin Express, and feeling a bit loopy, with only a dull ache in my thumb. On the road to recovery, it's going to be a frustrating trip...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Year in Review

The Michigan State Cyclocross Championship was my last race of the season. Even if I planned on more races, due to an unfortunate crash on the first lap, it still would have closed out my season. I ended up with a severely sprained thumb, and, after a couple weeks, it just hasn't been healing. Turns out the reason my thumb hasn't been healing, is that I have a torn ligament. Torn ligament = surgery... So, on Tuesday I go under the knife. After the ligament is repaired, it's 5 weeks in a cast followed by several weeks of PT. So, no riding outside for me until the cast is off and I have some strength/mobility back in my hand. My trainer and I are going to be intimate friends.

I've just been taking it easy these last couple weeks. I started a new gig at my company and there's been a lot to learn. So that's kept me busy (busy would actually be an understatement...) So, now that I've got some down time, it's a great opportunity for some reflection on the season past.

  • Road Season: After an 8 year hiatus from road racing, I was finally giving it another shot. I got my license and I was starting out as a Cat 4. I can pretty much sum it up in one word: Disappointment. After a series of mid-pack finishes, a bad crash in June that I never quite recovered from, and a stalled out season-end, I was glad to say goodbye. This put me in a really bad spot coming into my "real" season, cyclocross. I was kinda depressed, over-trained, and just not enjoying myself. This taught me something. First, I had set some unrealistic expectations. And second and probably most important - Fun first

  • Cyclocross Season: With an upgrade to B this year, I knew there would be some challenges. My crappy road season didn't help matters any and my first few 'cross races definitely reflected that. I started to find my rhythm near the end of October and I kinda stalled out. It seemed like everybody was improving except me. Even guys I was beating a couple races before were kicking my butt. That's when I remembered my new mantra - fun first. If you focus on having fun, everything else will come around. An even if it doesn't, you at least had a good time. This isn't my job, and God knows, I don't need it to feel like one.

That's why I have mixed feelings about the 'cross season coming to an end.  On one hand (my good one...) I had a lot of fun, and hanging out with all my fellow 'crossers is a good time, but on the other, I was wore out. Well, now I've got all the R&R I could ever want, as I rehabilitate my thumb over these next several weeks. Expect to see lots of blog entries and I'll update on how the surgery went (and the good drugs I'm prescribed...) when it's over.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not the way I wanted it to end...

My last cyclocross race of the season.  So far, it had been kind of lack luster and I just decided that this whole season was going to be one giant learning experience. Cue the Michigan State Cyclocross Championship.

This was it, the one last hurrah - now, I had no delusions of winning the State Championship or anything but I wanted to put in a decent effort, cheer on my mates and have a few barley pops with my friends at the after party. None of this was meant to be.

Let's start at the beginning. It was cold... High 20s and I got to the venue really early. So early, I was actually able to get two warm up laps before the first race started.  I completed my warm up triumvirate with one more lap before my race.

I lined up in the second row behind a pretty fast guy so I figured I would get a decent start. And... We were off. A Christmas miracle! The moment I placed my right foot on the pedal it clipped right in!  I was sitting nicely in the top ten as we entered the first turn. After a little meandering, we found ourselves coming up to the biggest obstacle of the coarse; a muddy, severely off-camber section that was impossible to maintain traction on. As we came to it, I figured it would result in quite the bottle-neck (and it did) so I got off and ran the entire thing! I passed at least 3 guys. I remounted and continued on. That's when disaster struck. 

A short descent - nothing tricky and BAM!!! I'm on the ground. Everything kinda went in slow motion as I landed on the ground and saw my bike in the air coming towards me. I rolled out of the way just in time and heard the squealing of brakes and a couple obscenities as the racers behind me tried to avoid my one-man pile-up... I got up, dusted myself off and took inventory. Bike's ok, my hand hurts a bit but I seem fine, I remounted and I couldn't grip my handle bars.... My right hand, no matter how hard I tried, couldn't wrap around my bar or my brake hood. I figured my thumb was broken. My race was done... 5 minutes in and I'm DNF'ing. Sucks.

After visiting the doctor, it seems it's not broken just a bad sprain and some possible ligament damage. I will need to see a specialist to find out...

Not the way I wanted to end my 'cross season - that's for sure.