The Season That Wasn’t

I started out this racing season with great aspirations. I had planned to really hit it hard with the training and be primed and ready for cyclocross season. After all, I had just won a new dream of a CX bike, a Foundry Auger, and I planned to fully put it to use.

I started out this road bike racing season with great aspirations. After all, I had ended up a good season last year hitting my race goals and moved up a Category to a 2. I had planned to really hit it hard with the training and to not only have a good road bike racing season but to be primed and ready to go full force for cyclocross racing season in the fall. After all, I had just won a new dream of a CX bike, a Foundry Auger, and I planned to fully put it to use.

My early spring training got off on the wrong foot when I smacked into a tree on an easy mountain bike ride. I hit hard and injured my ribs, dislocating one or more and tearing the intercostals and serratus anterior along the side. No biggie. It was early in the season, and I’d heal, or so I thought. (Little did I know that costochrondrotis takes upwards of a year to fully heal…)

After the rib incident, I decided to get more serious on the road bike, so when I headed up to Indiana I packed my road bike so I could get in some good preseason miles while visiting my family for Easter. On my birthday, the Friday before Easter, we went for a local bike shop sponsored ride, and the one guy on the ride I didn’t know ploughed straight into me while the rest of us were stopped at a light. The beautiful road bike was totally demolished, so I was out a road racing bike. Luckily insurance was going to cover the cost (thank goodness!), but the replacement road bike would not be in until June or July.

Ok, on to plan B, I guess?

A good friend loaned me a road bike to ride and while it wasn’t the latest and greatest carbon fiber racing machine, it was a nice road bike and great for training. That helped! Able to continue training and riding, I carried on, even though I was a bit demoralized by the whole ordeal; losing my dream of a roadbike and riding a second hand older bike was humbling to say the least.

Not having the superlight, super stiff, badass road bike to race was a big setback. Probably as much mental as it was mechanical, but a setback nonetheless. I didn’t race the road racesĀ  early on that I had planned on. How the heck was I going to be able to race an older, heavier bike? The thought of it just made me more upset about the loss of the road bike…

I did not do the early season crits. I didn’t even do the Tuesday Night Practice Crits. I just didn’t think I could. I really let that get into my head. No racing machine. No racing.

Strangely enough, there HAVEN’T been that many crits and road races this year. The season has been oddly quiet.

That left some fun mountain bike races to race (I do have a brand new, kickass Superfly 100 mountain bike). And, ONE middle of the summer CX race, so I was excited to have the opportunity to get out and race my newly awarded Foundry Auger in the Ballwin Days CX race.

When my Cervelo R5 finally arrived at the end of June–or was it early July–I was excited as a kid at Christmas time! This was a top of the line (thank you Big Shark!) super light, super stiff machine, outfitted with the new 2012 SRAM Red (which works awesome too by the way!), plus a Quarg (thank you BGI) Nice was hardly the word. This is a rocketship. Now, I need to work on the engine.

Rarin’ to go, I think…

Raced the A race and the B races in the Tuesday Night Worlds and felt great. Whew. I still remembered how to corner fast, hang in the pack and go for the prime. The new road bike handles like a dream. Just a little more practice and I’d be back in the saddle for road season, I thought.

Not so.

My recent trip to Indianapolis for the Indy crit yielded a DNF, not a top 5 finish like I had hoped. Unprepared for the race, not warmed up well enough, overheated, tired, and undernourished, I was caught off guard when the resident pro sprinted off the line at 30mph, and I could not get in my groove quick enough. Crit racing? Maybe I am more rusty than I thought.

Meanwhile, the mountain bike beckoned with the dusty, dirty, friendly trails, and laid back fun races. I felt like a kid again doing these races. They were tough, even grueling, but somehow…fun. In a big way. I was winning these races or placing well up. The pressure was off. Mountain bike races are so different than road races. They are easy, laid back and pure fun–and don’t forget the beer for the end! Sure they are races, but there is lot less of the mind games, drama, and some of the pretentiousness of some of the road races. Less egos at stake it seems.

While I’m not a huge fan of the technical, rocky terrain for races, the less technical courses let me use my fitness and my newly gained mountain bike skills to my advantage. They are just plain, flat out, fun. No question about it. Plus the hardest kind of workout possible, where you go as hard and as fast as your heart, lungs, and legs will allow, for as long as they will allow. I love it. How can you NOT get in better shape doing these kinds of races?

Soooo…a couple more months are left in road racing season and a couple more crits. I will race them, and hope the crit mojo returns this year for a good finish or two before the season ends. I expected a developmental season, but a little success will help me get going back in the right direction for sure.

I see some more fun mountain bike races on the calender as well that I’d like to hit, and I feel pretty confident I’ll do decent on those.

Meanwhile, all the drama and lack of road racing this year is pointing my frustrated self towards a badass Cyclocross Season.

I think by the time it rolls around, I’m going to be primed and ready to come out swinging.


And on an awesome new bike, nonetheless. It’s been waiting patiently. The Auger Adventure awaits…


See ya on the bike,


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