Moving On

After an out of the blue barrage of dissent from my director, I’ve left Team Rio Grande. It feels terrible to leave mid season like this but it wouldn’t have been feasible to race well or enjoy my time with the team after being talked to like I was. I won’t go into the details. I wish my teammates the best and greatly appreciate all the support I’ve received from our sponsors this year.

In happier news, I’m finally over my cold (pretty much). As you might remember from my last post, I had to pull out of Nature Valley before starting the last stage because I was so sick. I flew home a day later and began my long progression towards health. It lasted three days.

By Wednesday I was feeling well enough to fly out the next day to Mt. Hood for the final edition of that race. I knew I wouldn’t be going super well, since I was still fighting the cold, but had convinced myself that I’d get better once I got out there into some fresh Oregon air. I figured I could still be of use to a couple of my teammates who were going well at the time, Nick in particular.

Early Thursday morning at 4AM, when I got up to take a taxi to the bus station, my sore throat was back. When I got to Oregon I was already feeling like I’d made a bad decision to come out for the race. I felt okay on the ride that morning with the team—the first time I’d touched the bike since the previous Saturday. I didn’t feel “well” though.

Friday: the first stage was also my last stage. I attacked immediately, knowing that I had only a few bullets to spend to try to make an impact on the race. Part of me knew that I wouldn’t be starting the following day. Racing only makes a cold worse. Never better.

Since there were no pre-race instructions and no neutral zone (the official’s car just took off without a word) my move from the non-existent gun caught a lot of people off guard. Only 25 guys managed to come with me.

I went pretty hard for the first K or so until Steve Fisher (Hagens Berman) and Logan Owen (Cal Giant) caught me. We were soon joined by my teammate Nick and some more Cal Giant guys, making a group of six or seven. More guys continued bridging up to us.

As the move swelled in those first 10K, I discontinued my time at the front as I was unable to recover my legs back from going over threshold. I was fine to ride hard tempo, but anything over that and I quickly started to fade. Before we got to the KOM, Nick asked me if I was going for it. I said no, and that he should himself.

As we made the left hand turn up the KOM, the group had reached 25 or more riders with the rest of the peloton close behind. Cal Giant had at least six guys, HB had three I believe, we had two, and most of the other teams had one or two as well. But almost have of them were spit out the back going up the KOM and our group went down to 15. Still too big.

Even though Cal Giant had five in the move, our gap never went up to more than a minute because everyone who was pulling was just barely taping through. I had to recover for a good 10 minutes before I went to the front. Even though I was sick I ended up doing more work than anyone else over the next couple laps, wondering whether it was wise to continue on.

Mucus started flowing into my lungs and I hacked it up more and more as the race progressed. Great. I’d ridden it into my lungs and now I had a cough. I pulled out of the break and out of the race half way though, hoping that I’d at least helped the move enough for it to stick and for Nick to win. He’d been going for the KOM points and had been riding as strong as anyone else in the move. His chance for taking the short uphill finish sprint was good.

But the move was caught a lap later and the next move won it. I flew home and was sick for another week before I started training again. Yesterday was my first set of intervals and they weren’t the best I’ve had, though they weren’t the worst of the year either. Since my legs are still sore and a bit tired, if anything I might have done a little too much in the past half week trying to get my legs back before nationals (which start on Friday). I felt like I needed to get opened up though.

Over the past week, Adelaide and I have been staying at Lydia and Jeff’s apartment next to Boulder Creek. It feels like a vacation home with the river right there, a park and pool—situated right near downtown. One night we watched an amazing lightning storm. There were bolts of lightning going off every second in a 300-degree radius. We thought it would be a good idea to go walk outside to a large, vacant parking lot about a mile away to get an un-disturbed view. It did not disappoint.

The storm was coming directly towards us and the thunder grew louder and louder. The wind picked up and blew sprinkler mist from the lawn in the air towards us, a little taste of the drenching we would soon receive. A bolt of lighting struck down in the city and an eerie green glow illuminated the sky for about 10 seconds. A transformer had blown to smithereens. I made fun of Adelaide for being scared and wanting to leave. She wanted to outlast another girl who was watching behind us with her boyfriend on the running trail. Adelaide is strangely competitive.

When the rain stared, the other couple left. I wanted to sit right there through the whole thing but the rain quickly turned into a downpour with gumball sized hail. We ran for home, getting pelted on the head and shoulders from the massive hail. The lighting storm continued, giving all of Boulder and the surrounding area a free strobe light dance party. I was secretly hoping to get struck, like I always do because I assume the lighting will give me super powers, but we made it back unscathed, except for some hail bruises.

I now sit in the Denver airport waiting for my flight to Madison, Wisconsin. The road race on Friday is my main goal. The crit on Sunday will be a consolation just in case I don’t get the result in the road race. I have no idea how my legs and lungs will feel for the race. I’m guessing good but hoping for amazing like they’ve normally been this year. I’ll be racing for Firefighter’s this weekend and for the remainder of the season, trying to recreate this:

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2 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. Thank you for the detailed glimpse into your world! I have followed you since the beginning and I always look forward to your next entry – humor, suffering, philosophy, occasional misanthropy, intelligence and the lack thereof, insightful social evaluation, nutrition, training, more suffering, copious calories, recovery, panic, injury, global perspective, social values, Greyhounds, crystalline recounts of race efforts, shitty jobs with questionable nutritional benefits, Pro gear, honesty, sacrifice, more illness, watts, burritos,ski goggles and subzero at altitude, defeat, victory, resilience, death and rebirth…

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