Statistically speaking you will lose every bike race you enter. That’s something I try and remind myself of, and others, on a regular basis. Last year I raced some where around 65-70 days, and won four times. Which was a HUGE year for me. And this year really won’t be any different, if I can win four races again, I’d be more then happy.
I’ve been rather quiet since finishing up Road Worlds back in the Fall. Things through the Fall and into winter were very up and down. Would anything less be normal for me? I spent the first part of the winter as any bike racer does, not riding. That lasted for about a week. Then it was into base riding mode. Things went rather quickly this winter, as I raced Track Worlds in early February and spent part of December and all of January on the track riding circles. Track Worlds was something new for me. I am far from a track rider and riding 6 weeks on the track turned me into every so slightly more of a track rider, but less of a road rider. Worlds came and went and I never wrote anything about it because well, I don’t have much to say. My results weren’t anything to write home about, my times were huge PR’s in both events for me. But life has a way of taking goals, dreams, expectations and reality and smashing you back to earth with that last part.
With track being done and over with, I needed a little mental and physical break as well as some time to finish up a few loose ends in the team department. Something I’ve learned the last few years about running my own program is that you always have to be working on the next thing or you will fall behind. I am happy to have pulled together a couple new great sponsors for 2012 and hopefully further down the road. This year I’ll be on Argon 18 Bikes! And Temecula Farmers Insurance Group will be helping me out as well! There’s no way I’d be able to do this at the level I do without the help from these and all my other great sponsors!
After a much needed break in the month of February, it was back into the groove of things. What better way to find your race legs then by showing up and racing? After hitting a few criteriums and time trials, I started to see some sign of form. Nothing too great, but shimmers of life. Off to Tour de Murrieta I went.
The race really went pretty rough for me, so there won’t be much. The Time Trial was probably my best ride out of all the events. The result was nothing to write home about. But on paper, things looked pretty good. As the ever loving tech dork, my power numbers were pretty good. Already a good step ahead of where I was a year ago, so that was something to be happy about. Saturday rolled around and Stage 2 was a crit. I do not pretend to be a decent crit rider by any means, I like them, but that doesn’t mean I am any good. I lasted all of 20 minutes I think before being shelled out the back. At least I wasn’t the first one dropped! I guess some days that’s all you can ask for. By the time Sunday rolled around, the driving back and forth, the lack of legs, and just kind of a funk, my motivation level was pretty low to say the least. The Circuit Race there really is just a big crit that lasts 2 hours. Around lap six or seven of thirteen, I finally had enough and my legs called it a day. I would have liked to have finished in the main group, but my legs had other plans. I packed it in and headed home to rest and regroup.
Now, this last part is something that I’ve wanted to touch on for sometime now, but not really sure how to say it without sounding like too much of a crybaby. I’ve had plenty of people make snide comments to me about getting dropped from races or not winning stuff or whatever since I am a “pro”. While yes, I do get a paycheck for doing this, not much of one. And techinically the UCI calls me an “elite” rider. I do not hold claim to be able to ride as an able bodied pro rider. What I will hold claim to is that for a para rider I can hold my own. Which is something that people have a hard time understanding. For me, things aren’t as clear to people what’s wrong with me. If I am just standing there, I have all my limbs, am super skinny and lean. I look the part of a proper pro bike player. But what’s going on the inside of my body is a different story. The guys that I race internationally all have a handful of different issues and we got lumped together based on a system the UCI has created. But to put it into terms that most of you can understand, Brian from VeloImages had a picture that floated around from track worlds of a Spanish rider that rides with one leg and one arm. I go head to head with that guy. So the next time someone thinks I should be faster or shouldn’t get dropped from a crit at 50 kph, take one arm off the bars, unclip one foot, and we can race head to head. I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me, just like to put things into perspective for people.
This all brings me back to the beginning of this blog. I hate losing, I really do. But, I can also see the big picture. I race so many days all year to build for just a few key events. Is this the best way to prepare myself? Some say no, some say yes. Mentally it is pretty hard. Week in and week out I get worked over by racing able-bodied riders that have a fully functional body. With each week I get a little bit stronger, not just physically, but mentally as well. All the driving, all the racing, all of it is just little drops into the bucket that is building myself as a racer. And when it comes time to race the races that really count, Worlds, the Games, I am able to have a full bucket to work with for once.
I am sorry that this might be a little bit of a scattered read. But, I’ve had a few things I’ve wanted to say and have been asked about more then once. Also, I’ve gotten plenty of requests from people that wanted to know what I am up to. I can’t believe the amount of feedback I’ve gotten about my blogs and how people enjoy them. Hearing that people enjoy this really does make it all the more enjoyable for me! Hopefully, soon I’ll have something a little better to post about.
As always, thanks for following along the journey that is my life pretending to be a bike racer!