Friday, June 18, 2010

Apparently Recovery Takes Time

Even after a year of recovery, I'm not any where near back to where I was in terms of performance in bike racing. 

I know, I know. I need to give myself a break. And I am. Really. 

In my first real road race since the accident last March, I lasted six minutes! Granted it was a masters 35 cat. 1, 2, 3 race at the Tour of America's Dairyland today in Thiensville, WI. And granted in the second lap we were doing 32 miles an hour up a small incline. 

Clearly, I was way out of my element. I knew that going in, and I was hoping to last at least 20 minutes and then maybe the whole race. But I just don't have the power to ride that hard yet. 

It's okay and all. I understand that a compound fracture of my femur does not heal quickly. And the full recovery may never happen. 

I think that's what is bugging me tonight. Coach Crusty says I need to start the road racing from the beginning again. He said that most people don't come back from injuries like mine, especially to that level of bike racing. And he said it's amazing I've come as far as I've come this quickly.

I never accepted that my bike racing life may have changed in any way after the accident. I've always treated recovery as something that will take some time to get back to where I was and then keep making progress. 

Tonight, I'm realizing that I may never get back to where I was. That's sobering. I've been training myself hard, lifting and riding, working to get fit again. 

And while I'm making a lot of progress, I may never reach a high level. 

And although that may be the "reality," I'm still going to train and race as if it's not. I don't give a shit. I love to ride, I love to race, especially cyclocross.

I'll keep riding my bike to school, I'll keep working at the bike shop to help others find bikes, and, most importantly, I'll keep racing cross.

But my dreams of being a national level cross racer may not come true.

Yet the beauty of cross, though, is that it really doesn't matter. What matters is going out and riding your brains out, slog around in the mud, get heckled by your friends, do the best you possibly can. It doesn't matter what race I do, the elites or the 4s.

Cross is all about the fun and being competitive. It really doesn't matter the category I enter to be competitive.

I started this entry feeling a bit discouraged about the racing prospects.

And once again, considering cyclocross has made me realize why I ride my bicycle. I have a good friend who is facing some personal challenges who always tells me she chooses always to be happy.

And thinking of cyclocross makes me very happy indeed.


  1. You are doing an amazing job, and if you just look at where you were this time last year, the improvement is incredible! You an inspiration just to be back on the bike and racing again. I know it is hard not being where you want to be right now... but if Lance can win with one less testicle and 3 years out of the game...then there is hope... and if that isn't enough to keep you going just think about how many girls you WONT be pulling if you don't have awesome tan lines!

    Bec :-)

  2. I am sure that it is really difficult...especially knowing this spot "where you were", but just remember...if you are focussed on where you were and looking back at what was, you just may miss the awesome person and competitor that you are NOW! It may be different, but each time you can get on that bike and ride should be reason to celebrate!! I once saw this cool simply said..."I ride bike"...'nuf said. :) If happiness is a term used when when what you feel, speak, and do are all in harmony...then you define it! I would guess you probably bring that out in your good friend as well. Keep entering the race and doing your best in the here and now...and keep celebrating YOU!