Sunday, July 04, 2010

2010 BMBS Round 4 - Dalby Forest

It's 3am, I can't sleep – my mind is racing, my body is shot – what happened.

Dalby forest – a personal history. In May last year, 500 meters from the end of the race I hit a tree stump propelling me through the air and into the ground hard breaking my collerbone. April this year, the World Cup, crash hard on my second lap hurting my leg, hip and back – I couldn't pedal anymore – strike two. Like a jockey thrown from a horse, I had to get on, get right back on, so I did – yesterday we had the fourth round of the British National Series in Dalby.

CRASH – but this time of another kind. Road Stage racing, criteriums, marathons, road races, cross country races – all in the last two months – I had raced in 4 countries (UK twice) in the last 14 days. Something had to give, I thought I had considered it all and rested appropriately, but I hadn't. Pop, crash, bang, whollop – that was me.

The race started with a slipped pedal – no big deal, I sprinted on and 4-5 minutes into the race was in around 12th position – a platform to work from. That was really it though – the body shut down, the legs stopped, game over before it really began. I hit the major climb on the lap, a steep 3-4 minute affair and pushed hard, my heart rate was pegged but a train of 10 riders rode by me like I was standing still – I couldn't do anything – nothing, climbing is usually my forte – it was tough, physically tough, mentally tougher. I rode on, barely turning the pedals, more riders past and I realized I was barely moving. As I came around to complete the first lap, I was fried, mentally, physically I was spent – the great form I had the previous week was gone – was it too much to ask for a fast XC race only a few days after the hardest race of my season?

Horses, getting back on horses, damn me – I had said before I arrived in Dalby that my only goal was to finish, to not be a DNF. Why did I say this, as I went through the first lap, the smart thing would be to stop, pull in, regroup ,fight another day – I was just destroying myself physically and mentally – I need to save these mental matches for when they count (eh, National hill climb and XC Champs in the next few weeks!). But I must finish – I soldiered on. A few more riders past me, I didn't care, apathy had taken hold with my only wish being for the ordeal to be over. I looked at my laptime as I go through the start/finish – I'm not much quicker than Mel today (usually, on a course like this, there is a 15% difference in our lap times – not so today).

I suffered, I hated it, but I did finish, I got through the race, I didn't crash (or at least, I didn't fall off the bike), no hospital trips and the horse was remounted. It was the slowest I have ridden in an XC race in a few years but I did get through it – my goal of finishing was met. Yeah, I was sick afterwards, couldn't eat and felt the worst I have felt in a long time – but sometimes you gotta latch onto the good things.

Postscript (bike nerdy stuff) – I always race with a Garmin bke computer which really is a treasure trove of post race analysis. The big climb on the first lap, it was terrible – I was climbing it at the same power as I was climbing the much longer climbs the weekend before at the END of the almost 6 hour marathon – I was also climbing slower than when I tootled up them on a practice lap the previous day – despite all that, my heart rate was pegged. There was something seriously wrong during the race – a case of over-raced, over-reached or sick. Afterwards, the only thing I could stomach for several hours was a can of coke – a thing that usually turns my stomach.

The next week is rest, pure unadulterated rest, well, if I can ever fall asleep...

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