Dec 22, 2011

What doesn't bend breaks

In just a matter of a few days, I went from having not much to write about to having a lot of stuff I'd rather not be writing about. However, seeing how these recent events have derailed my scheduled training, they are worth a mention. 

The crash

On Saturday, the team ride was starting in Occidental and the plan was to go up Kings Ridge, down to the coast and back into Occidental via Hwy. 116. The ride started out on a very chilly side, in the low 30s, but by the time we started climbing Kings Ridge, the temperatures started to go up and the cold was no longer noticeable. 

My legs were feeling great, despite a few hard training sessions earlier in the week. I was dropped by the front group of five riders and was riding solo with the rest of the team close behind (with a follow vehicle). Coming down one of the large rollers on Kings Ridge, I hit a patch of new black asfalt with black gravel on it - completely invisible. I hit the patch at about 28-30 mph and began to drift. In another moment, my rear wheel slipped form under me and I was sliding along asfalt on my ass like a baseball player into second base. 

I managed to slide off the road, so I didn't have to worry about traffic from either direction, but I was in quite a bit of pain as the gravely surface took a good chunk of meat our of my upper thigh. No more than a couple minutes after the crash, my teammates rolled up with the follow vehicle and I washed the wound out with cold water. This was about 1:50 into what was supposed to be a 4-hour ride. 

I had a call to make, do I get into the follow vehicle and sit there for two more hours at 17-18mph, or do I get back on the bike and ride? I looked over the bike, and other than a missing end cap and some torn handlebar tape, it was completely fine. I decided there would always be time to jump into the follow vehicle and I would try to ride. I stuffed some baby wipes into the wound and got on the bike. The riding actually made the wound feel better as the cold air proved to be a nice natural anesthetic. 

In another two hours, we were back in Occidental. I discretely stepped into a diner in front of which we were parked and cleaned up the best I could with baby wipes and paper towels. Then I did what any cyclist bleeding out of his side, with road rash and who just finished a 4-hour ride would do - it was time for beer and burgers! A bottle of Chimay and some rare beef helped ease the ache of my hip, while I was trying to keep my mind on something other than the road rash. 

I was still hoping to go out for a ride on Sunday, but by Sunday morning, the soreness from the crash set in and I knew I wasn't going anywhere. Monday wasn't that much better and I ended up working from home as a result. By Tuesday the wound got only marginally better and I had decided to give it one more day of rest and go out for a nice long ride on Wednesday - my scheduled day off from work. 

But as Morton's Salt would have us believe, when it rains it really does pour.

The cold

I was feeling somewhat under the weather Tuesday night, but hoped that some hot tea and a good night's sleep would fix me. Unfortunately that was not to be. I woke up with a mild fever, sore throat, chest and nasal congestion - the whole nine yards. 

As much as I would have loved to get on the bike, all of the things combined, I took my illness as a sign my body wants me take a step back for a moment. 

Four days off the bike this week were definitely not part of my training plan, but as they say about the best laid plans... 

As someone coaching himself, I have to find a balance between being strict with myself about following the prescribed training plan and flexible enough to adjust it only when absolutely necessary. I feel that to some extent, those things are easier to conduct with an outsider's perspective. 

These challenges are always frustrating, but they are there, can't change that. I can, however, change how I feel about these circumstances and make the best of them. Do as much as I can when I can and get healthy. Then pick up the training from there. No sense in running myself into the ground while I'm already sick. Getting fixated on numbers in spite of everything seems like a damn good way to brake yourself early in the season (or at any point for that matter) and something I'd like to avoid. 

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