May 11, 2006

Baby Steps

Ryder (my kid - not Hesjedal) & I both took baby steps last weekend. His were literal because he's a baby & he's actually learning to walk. My baby steps were figurative because I finished my first NORBA Nat'l as a Pro mountain bike racer. Normally I wouldn consider just finishing much of accomplishment, but given my most recent results, I was just glad to cross the finish line.

Turns out, racing Elite is really hard. I thought if you could do 2 of the 3 following chores, being a pro bike racer was cake: (1) Maintain a somehwat interesting and/or amusing blog about your training rides; (2) Do your own home renovation, like build a patio cover & hang cabinets; and (3) Pack & unpack inbetween trips & still have time to make it to burger night.

This is not the case. At least not for me. Work, as in a 3-day business trip to Myrtle Beach just days before the NMBS opener; Life, as in having enough time in the day to work, be with family, pick up after the dog, take out the trash & unpack from the Myrtle Beach trip; and Training, as in less than 10 measly hours a week (lately) have all gotten in the way of the cake life of a pro bike racer.

And then there's the fact that after 6 years of this sport & getting to the Elite level, I still make rookie mistakes like takeing only water & not taking any CarBoom! sports drink until the last lap of a 2-hour-plus race in about 80-degree heat. Duh! What was I thinking? And to make a bad situation worse, there was a mix up in the feed & instead of getting a bottle of cramp-dampening electrolytes, I got more water. It didn't really matter. By that time the damage was already done. Luckily, I don't cramp often, but when I do it's of catastrophic proportions. I limped the final 7.1 mile lap to the finish line, at times thinking my legs would no longer turn over the pedals and forcing me to walk my bike. Anyway, that was Saturday's big XC.

For day two's Short Track, I thought I may be able to save a little face, but instead I ran into this...

I'm somewhere in the back of this mess, while somewhere, out of frame, in the front of this mess is Kabush, Wells, Trebon, Decker, Wicks, Craig, JHK, etc. and they're on their bikes hammering. Situations like this make for very very short Short Tracks, especially when you get called up to the starting line toward the back of the call-up list. BTW, Walker Ferguson started in the back with me & he still managed 29th. Nice work Walker. I guess my only excuse is that I have a real job.

Despite getting herded like cattle through said singletrack for the first few laps, it was fun while it lasted. Can't you tell?

Too bad we can't all be like this American Bad Ass! Nice job dude. I think the last time I enjoyed watching a professional athlete put the hurt on his competition was when Ronnie Lott was playing for the 49ers. Never a dull moment for Mr. Horner; and for me too, come to think of it...

No comments: