Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Peloton... WHAT Peloton? (Humble Pie- Part II)

So... day 2 of the SRS stop in Montgomery was a Road Race... 24 miles for Colby and 44 miles for me... The course was a 7 mile leg outbound to a 10 mile circle... so the Juniors rode out and around and back for a total of 24 miles... the Cat 5's rode out and made 3 loops then back for the 44 mile total.

Today the Cat 5's went first... so we lined up and made a rolling start...

The group of 21 took off...

we settled into 2 pace lines averaging about 22 mph... I was on the back and found out just how nice it is to take advantage of the draft line... then just as we hit the 3.5 mile mark and that slight incline you see above... BAM.. . the guys up front wanted to shake us strap hangers off... and shake us off they did... 3 of us settled into our own smaller pace line each taking a turn up front to try and bridge the gap... NO SUCH LUCK! The lead group just kept getting further and further away... one guy decided to go alone and try it on his own... I settled in with a guy named Jimmy and we worked together until we hit the next rise at 6 miles... it was my turn up front and I just put my head down and gave the climb my best effort... it wasn't until about mile 8 that I realized Jimmy was no longer behind me... in fact... I could not see a rider in front of me or behind me... I was on the country road all by myself... and that would be the case for the next 36 miles... a solo ride to the finish... I decided to just enjoy the ride and settled into a moderate pace realizing this was not a "baby step" the Neurosurgeon told me to take and this would be the longest ride I have done (if I don't count the leisure Bo Bikes Bama ride). Each pass by the KOM (King of the Mountain) checkpoint I joked with the USAC officials asking... "Is there a transition to the run up ahead?" and "I think I was tricked... is this a bike race?"... it was a long solo ride but I enjoyed it just the same... officially I finished 16 out of 21 and almost 40 minutes behind the winner but in my mind I won by just finishing... each of us have goals... and mine was achieved.

The juniors started 2 hours after my start... so when I was on the stretch back to the finish I passed Colby on the outbound leg and he was down on the drops hammering away... "Race your own race buddy boy!!"... to which I got a thumbs up... so once I finished we (Sherri, Maddison, Sydney and I) got in my truck and drove out the course to find him... he was about 6 miles from the finish when we pulled up along side of him to yell encouraging words... he again was down on the drops and hammering away... so we sped ahead to watch him finish... IT WAS AWESOME... a bunch of folks had stuck around to cheer on the Juniors as they finished... the last 200 meters was a closed course.. and when he hit the sign he stood up on the pedals and sprinted to the finish like he was in a sprint for a Tour de France stage win... AWESOME!!! After a short cool down ride he made his way back to the parking lot... took off his helmet and headed straight over to one of the other Junior riders who finished just ahead of him... he wanted to thank him for the advice he gave him throughout the day and for teaching him how to ride a pace line... as it turns out they rode together for most of the day with each taking a turn up front... AWESOME!!! His numbers were fantastic... he rode 24 miles in 1:26 with a 16.8 mph average... I could not be more proud of him and his accomplishment... his longest ride to date!

{Insert Jack Handey intro} At the end of the day... you have to reflect on your own goals and fight the tendency to compare yourself to others... each of us are different... with different challenges... different schedules... different motivations.. different goals.... and what might appear an utter failure or waste of time by some may actually be a goal achieved by another... keep that in mind... enjoy the journey and encourage others to join in and share it with you... watching them succeed in their own pursuit is the most rewarding achievement from my perspective! I am a proud Dad and cherish the opportunities I have to share this passion with my son!

Humble Pie- Part I

Okay.... it has been a while since I logged an entry into the blog... so here is a quick update...

April 17th Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion C5-C6-C7
      - Dr. Lee Warren
      - East Alabama Medical Center; less than 24 hours in hospital
      - RESULTS: Instant relief from all the pain and nerve pulses down my back and left arm

3 Week Check-up
      - Everything progressing as planned
      - "Green light" to start riding indoor trainer

6 Week Check-up
      - Everything progressing as planned
      - "Green light" to start running, swimming, golfing, etc
      - Back to see him in July for x-rays to check on healing

THANK YOU for all of the the wonderful notes and encouragement along the way... I certainly could not have made it through the process without the love and support of my family and friends and for that I am forever grateful.

Alright... to satisfy my competitive nature and given I was only able to ride my indoor trainer since the surgery I decided to sign up for 2 local events... the Southeast Regional Series had a schedule stop in Montgomery for the 22nd and 23rd of June... a Criterium on Saturday and a Road Race on Sunday... so I signed Colby and I both up to compete... him in the Junior Category and me in the Cat 5 group.

WOW... all I can say is that those guys can ride... this would be a first in both events for Colby and I and we would quickly learn that guys that ride for competition are beasts on their bikes. The Crit was a 1.5 mile course on a closed section of downtown Montgomery with the start/finish line on the hill going up Dexter Ave towards the State Capitol... and then around the Capitol... back down Dexter...

The Juniors were up first and it was incredible to see the talent in 16-18 age group... Colby held his own for a little while but eventually fell off the pace... to his credit he did not quit and pressed on to finish the race under tough weather conditions and to say the least I was really proud of him for that alone!

The Cat 5 race was next... now... look at this photo... this is special... because this is closest I came to ever leading the race...

Much like Colby... I held on with the pack for a couple of laps but once I was dropped... I DROPPED... my individual effort remained consistent but the guys up front ramped up their pace and left me behind... despite the lackluster performance I can tell you that it was a win-win for both of us... it was something neither of us had ever done and the rush of going 40 mph on the downhill into a 90 degree turn was exhilirating!

It was an experience we will not soon forget!!! Later that day we went back out to watch the Pro/Cat 1 guys race... 70 started... 32 finished... one wreck and lots of dropouts due to the heat of the day and the hill... they raced for 75 minutes at a blistering pace... it was incredible to watch!!! 

If you have never done a Crit race... don't be scared... ride within your own limits... hang on... and pedal like you are being chased!!!