So I'll admit that the above photo from the Derby City USGP last weekend is pretty much an example of how things have been going for me since the UCI3 weekend. I have not quite been myself, but I continue to work through the struggles of injury, travel, work, and race results. Just like above, I pride myself in my sand pit riding skills, but in this photo I decided to dismount and dodge the other gals who maybe find this a little hard. It was a different approach, but it paid off in the end. Even though my race results have not been bad, I was hoping for better up to this point in the season, and after taking a blow at Harbin Park, my drive to keep on pushing has been tested; not my typical attitude. After a tough season plagued with physical injuries, the week after Harbin with the cracked ribs was a physical struggle and I started to question myself to ask why I continue to fight through so much physical pain in order to reach my personal cycling goals.I wandered how much I could take before cracking mentally, but I reflected and found the drive to continue. I am thankful to be a person who races for the joy of it myself and not for other's around me. Otherwise, this really wouldn't be all that fun, would it? I honestly almost decided to call it quits for the season, and I was in a pretty dark spot for a bit. This wasn't helped by the fact that every single breathe I took made me wince with pain. I won't go into my personal reasons for racing on, but after a week of pretty easy spinning, I decided at the last moment to do the Blooming cross race. I didn't want to make any long term decisions based on my current mood, so I just went racing with no expectations. I was warned to not race by my Dr, but I figured I would take it easy and try to stay in safe situations and not be too aggressive. I knew another fall to the bad side would potentially send my rib into my lung. So, I played it safe, I took off pretty slow for me and started mid- pack, trying to stay in my little safe bubble. I worked my way up to second and safely stayed there, babying around the corners and cruised in for a 2nd place. I had a good time, and boosted my love a little more since the DRT crew ran such a fun race!
The whole rest of that week was spent in Brown County in a great cabin with my Mom. We take a fall trip every year together and get some time to catch up with each other and enjoy the beauty of the area. I'm really lucky to be able to spend time like this with her, and I'm blessed to have a Mom who is also a good friend. I did some riding, read a book, sat around in the hot tub, and spent a lot of time cleaning up the cabin woods looking for firewood to burn. We really hated to leave, but we made some good memories and we already look forward to next year!
While the time in BC was great, my health that week kept going downhill. The race the Sunday before took its toll on me and I was feeling pretty bad by Wed. I had trouble breathing, was throwing up, and just felt zapped. After getting home Thur. I decided to get into see the Dr again to make sure I didn't have any major issues before the GP. We were concerned I may have lacerated a liver or have a pnuemothorax. We did several tests and I spent the day being poked and prodded and spent hour after hour in a hospital bed. Great news was that nothing major came back, but a couple things didn't add up until after the GP.
How could I miss the Derby City Cup? Biggest OVCX of the year, probably the most anticipated race in the country with the unveiling of the future World Cup venue, and the biggest pro field to date? Seriously, I was having a rough week to say the least physically and mentally, I was on the bridge about ready to jump my cycling season into the depths below... but I decided to go. What did I have to lose? If I couldn't find any motivation the morning of the L'ville gp, I wasn't going to find it at all this season. It didn't take long to find. I woke up ready to race and looked forward to the day ahead, despite spending most of the night awake and struggling to breath. I was starting to get a nasty URI and sneezing and coughing with busted ribs was not going well.
I headed out for an early recon of the course and even though I loved the set-up, I felt like I was a fish out of water. I could hardly take in any 02! I had to put that behind me and pretend I felt fine. I opted to have a very controlled warm-up on the trainer instead of putting in to many ups and downs on the tough course to preview it. I headed to the start line and tucked in the grid as the next to last starter in 39th place. Great! The truth is, I really couldn't see anything through the dust until about mid 1st lap, and I just tried to dodge the downed girls and keep my bike upright. I busted my butt the remainder of the race and focused on my on-and- off skills and somehow worked my way up to 19th place! Awesome. I was pleased with that for sure, especially after being so beat up, down and out, and in the back of the pack. I looked forward to day 2 with much anticipation.
Day 2 started a little better with a 27th start number. That didn't do me much good since I bobbled my clip and got spit to the back right from the gun. I was definitely hurting from Saturday's effort and felt like I was kicked in the ribs by a donkey, so I had to play a smart race. I took some safe decisions early to avoid pile-ups and quickly moved up to where I was the day before. I had a great time, I was in a race for 16th with a good bunch of gals and I was able to keep my head in the game to hold on to the position. I was oh-so-close to that payout of 15th place, but just couldn't quite get there. I know moving from 19th to 16th may not seem like a big deal to some, but it meant a lot to me and any sign of forward progression at this point in the season is a step in the right place for Nationals in Bend later.
I was happy I decided to make the gp, and not miss it. Thanks to all the people who cheered and encouraged for me out there! Best cheers go to the Shamrock Cycles crew for sure! It's so nice to hit a big race and have shouts out on every aspect of the course when you feel like letting off the gas.
As for this week after the gp, I have paid for my decisions physically. I continue to be in a lot of discomfort and now have a full blown cold (hopefully not pneumonia). I've been off the bike since that 16th finish on Sunday, but have managed to work and that's good. This blog is really the first productive thing I have done so far and the rv sits parked in the driveway fully waiting to be unpacked from the gp. I've tanked up my fever to 102 degrees the last few days, so hopefully that temp is killing some of the little bugs making me sickly. It's kinda funny to me that I'm now fully ready and motivated mentally to train and race again, yet my body is waiving the stop sign at the moment. Ahhh. All in time... I look forward to getting back on the bike.
As for now I'm just thankful for the attitude. I was standing on the bridge ready to jump and now I am on the bridge ready to fly!
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. - Corinthians 4:8-9