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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steady as it goes. Life on the road early.

I started a vacation June 17th @ 5:00 p.m. On June 19th I wrecked my back doing (literally) nothing.
For 8 day's I was away from the possibility of a bike ride. I brought my running shoes with me, but even 2 extremely high priced massages in a Mexican paradise could not fix the issue.
I stayed on the muscle relaxers and Advil the entire time, yes mixed with some bloody Mary's and beers.
There was no reprieve.
 I kept swimming daily to stretch it out, and it did feel better when I was doing it. However 30 minutes upon completion I was a crooked mess again.

I tried a race June 28th as my back was near normal. The problem was too many day's off, and too many day's recovering. Where I should have had fresh legs at least, they where flat and I had no fitness. Along with a mental head case, that told me I couldn't do it.
That race was a train wreck. It took everything I had just to finish. I would have abandoned it all together had my son not come with me that night.
What was I going to tell him ? "WE QUIT SOMETIMES" . That was not going to happen. On top of that the young kid that I/we (we being Patrick) from have tried to mentor and encourage, showed up.
Now keep in mind, he has not listened to a damn thing I have tried to tell him, and I believe this go's for Patrick also.
Long of the short he was there also, and that would not fly in my mind if I dropped out while he was there either. By the way, he once again dropped out that night :-(.

I had all but given up on him, as excuses seemed never ending and kind of  repetitive.

Fast forward July 10th, I had skipped Tuesday night race on the 5th as I had still not been able to get a bunch of miles in. There was no need to go suffer and hang on. I knew where my form was and or wasn't. There was no need to go pay $ 10.00 to get beat down. I chose to just keep getting the miles in.

Sadly, prior to going on vacation I may have been in the best form in almost 2 decades. Also sadly how an injury and a few weeks can change that all.

I had to make a decision on July 10th to race or not. It for me was an important race, being one of the last 3 major criteriums of the season. Also for me to do it, it would have been a very tight morning and may have caused some conflict. I weighed my options and chose to not press the issue and race.
I was pretty down about this, but did get out for a long road ride solo that morning only to flat and ... you can read that here if you missed it
From that ride on my confidence had changed. Once again I have felt control on the bike and control over my fitness path.
Tuesday night It was on again for local crit racing. Come hell or high water I was going to work and be proud of my efforts.
To my surprise, Jr. was there again.I won't lie,  I was kind of, so what at first. But he made is way over and said although he hadn't been following any written training plan ( I shivered ) he had been putting out some longer, harder efforts.
Then the father side of me kicked in. I said let's spin some warm up laps.
I told him tonight could be different if he would listen to me and forget everything he hasn't learned. I think it may have pissed him off a bit, but I didn't care. For me tonight was a sink or swim to him.

As we rode our warm ups I told him, for no reason would he take any length of pull up front. And if by chance he had to pull through behind me, that he was immediately to get off the front and drop back. He was to never go further back than 10th (ever).
He was to take a decent size drink from his bottle 1/2 lap prior to sprinting and when we made it through the sprint points he was to not hold that pace and recover.
Loudly, I told him in these words, "when the prime bells ring, or they show the 2 laps to go sign, you follow my ass as long as you can ". If you have more gas in the tank, jump right to outside, put your head down and turn the cranks as hard as you can". If you do this tonight, you will not only finish your first race, but you will get some results. Can you do this ? He replies, I can try.
Again, I'm a little deflated by the response, the kid is like 21, 6'-2" tall weighing in around 165 lbs and fairly ripped. I'm thinking WTF !!
Screw trying, "LETS DO THIS THING" !

So all that is long winded, and hopefully not to boring. I just need you to get a visual of where my head is at not only with racing at this time, but Jr.
I'll keep it short here.
Prime 1 - I kept jockeying over my shoulder to see if he was still there. He stuck like glue and pulled out 2nd or 3rd.
Prime 2 - same thing, I pulled him from middle all the way to the far right for the bull whip at 25 meters and he just missed 3rd spot.
On the finish He held on as I bullied my way up the middle. I never saw where he jumped out, But at the line he was right there with us and contended. Finishing up in 4th place.
Holy shit he finally came through ! He went from never completing one of these races to contending in the primes and just missing a podium.
The only negative, was that his right foot pulled out and came unclipped with about 10 yards before the line. that was a bit scary to say the least.
With one look at his cleats, I told him to stop doing runway modeling in them. They are not shoes, don't where them like they are, and buy some new cleats.Fortunately he laughed and we got to celebrate a bit.
For me it was like winning. I won't be a lead out train every week, but I will continue to help him. In turn he will begin to help me. I contended for the 2 sprints and I now know I finished 7th over all with a starting field of 19.  Not great points wise, but I was as happy as if I had finished top 3 myself.

So today was more of a short 20 mile recover spin in early morning greyness.
 heading down through Seal beach and into long beach. I took this because ya'll seem to not thinking I'm capable of snapping pictures while riding at high tempo.
truth is I can. and I never really worry about removing my hands from the bars unless it's 3 wide or more.
I got a shot of  the infamous 3 mile island nuclear facility. I always see this harbour in screen shots on Burn Notice.
It's a horrible picture I know, but what can I say. I have time issues in the morning and don't like to stop and shoot, I just like to ride and shoot.

Once I got back out of Long Beach and through Naples, I crossed back over into Seal beach and this bus caught my Eye, as if the Belgium's came to visit.
Interestingly enough the cheesy motel/apartments there (also way out of focus) often shows up on the show Dexter. Got to love the Dexter ! Dude is crazy.

The recovery ended up being a little more tempo as I'm am feeling quite strong again. It was still short but sweet.
20.58 m in 1h 1m  9s.
Looking forward to Saturday's long ride now and a early run tomorrow morning.

These are my horrible gifts to you for listening to my long rants. Thanks for reading.
Train hard, train smart and be active.


  1. That's fantastic. If that kid makes it as a bike racer, he'll have you and Patrick to thank. Nice job on the pictures. I'm still getting used to the positioning and my from-bike pictures are few and far between.

  2. Glad to hear you finally got something out of that kid! Riding by Dexter locations is cool too. And dude, 20+mi in an hour is most definitely not recovery pace. I know how that can be though. Sometimes you just want to RIDE!

  3. Great job on your rides! I am glad that you are feeling better and I am glad that the kid finally listened!

    Have some great rides this weekend!

  4. High priced masaages in Mexico, huh? :)

  5. I had only clean thoughts in my Green Girl mind until I read Kovas' comment.

    I'm truly sorry to hear about your back but I'm glad to hear you've recovered.

    Sounds like you are a great mentor to Jr. and he's lucky to have you in his court.