It never fails. Every year it takes me about a month’s worth of racing before I can actually get up to race speed. And this year it’s even worse because I was fighting tendonitis in my left knee until a few weeks ago. Plus, normally by this time of the year I have at least one or two road races in the books. Not so in twenty-ten. The only things I have in the books so far this year are two embarrassing XC results. Let me give you the painful details.
Training race number one took place on February 20 at Fontana’s infamous Southridge race course. It had rained the week leading up to this race so I thought, “What the heck? I’ll go test the waters and see what kind of fitness I have.” WTF was more like it. If that race were the SAT, I’d be headed to community college because I did horrible. I only had enough fitness and will to ride hard for about 30 minutes. After that my pencil was put down and my test was collected. To add insult to injury, as I was riding around after the failed attempt at racing, I was chased by a rabid pit bull [only in Fontana]. Since I was such a pansy in the race and didn’t push myself half as hard as I could have, I still had plenty of energy left to outrun the savage beast. Part of me wishes I hadn’t.
A week and one day later I found myself at round 1 of the Kenda Cup West Series, Sage Brush Safari. The only dog around was Dean Swank’s doxin, and in the past I’ve had somewhat successful results at this race so things were already looking up. But then I got to the starting line and what I saw made me realize that the past just doesn’t matter anymore. It’s the present that really matters and presently Sid Taberlay was lined up in front of me to my right and Jeremiah Bishop was lined up in front of me to my left. It’s not like I was going into Sage Brush expecting anything other than a top ten - I just wasn’t expecting the first climb to be at mach 5.
As it turns out, the first climb wasn’t at mach 5. It was more like mach 4, which makes it that much more sad that I came off the lead group before reaching the summit of the opening climb. I completely exploded within sight of the top and spent the two-track rollers afterward trying to recover while I should have been drilling it. The truth is, I never really did recover. I spent the entire first of two laps red-lined and hating life. I thought about how I may be getting too old to try and race with the big boys. I thought about how much easier road racing can be (I said can be). I thought a lot about quitting, but thought I needed the extra time on the bike so the third race wouldn’t be such a disaster. I thought a lot about that pit bull from Fontana and how I wished it would have caught me and had my bike for lunch.
Behind my bike, I'm dragging an anchor.