Sunday, August 3, 2008

Can I get out of my own way?

It's already August and I feel like I haven't really started to feel comfortable yet while racing, but I'm kind of running out of time. The road season ends for me in about 7 weeks. My fitness is better than I really deserve, given the hours I've put in, but I still get kind of nervous at races -- especially on courses where I've crashed or Ed has crashed. My last two crits both fell into that category (that category being "places where Ed or I separated and/or broke a shoulder in 2003"), so I'm trying to give myself a pass with my less-than-stellar performances. I recently re-read my account of my win at collegiate crit nationals in 2000 and was kind of in awe. I used to feel comfortable cornering on cobblestones at 30+ mph? Who was that kid?

I realize that the fear is a nice problem to have. After all, it stems from having much more to lose now than I did back then.

Rather than race at Bow Road Race today, I drove the pace car for a couple of fields (supporting my wonderful club, NEBC) and enjoyed the excellent view of the women's race. The course is very hilly and very selective.

I was driving a Volvo wagon from a local dealership. It is much more complex than my '96 Civic, in which I roll down windows by hand and there is no rear windshield wiper, so my non-car-owning passenger (Bill) and I had quite a time trying to figure out how to close the sunroof while it was raining inside the car and we were driving down a hill at 45 mph with 30 female cyclists behind us.

Bill is an amateur photographer and took lots of cool photos of the racing through the sunroof during the non-rainy periods.

My teammate Silke was in a break for most of the race and got second by centimeters. Or maybe millimeters.

In recent weeks I've also been to the track. Here you can watch a video of me sprinting for third in the win-and-out a few weeks ago. It's kind of cool but also illustrates my problem of needing excessive personal space while riding.

I have several more trips to the track planned as well as a road race and a few crits. The 'cross bike will be out again soon as well. So here's hoping that I'll relax enough to start racing a little bit more like the 23-year-old me. :)


Robert H said...

Just make sure to let people know you are squirrelly by weaving back and forth in the peleton while panting like a rabid dog. They'll give you the room you need.

claudia said...

Good sprint! I loved the commentary.


I spent more than five years figure skating -- doing tricks, falling on the ice over and over, not worrying too much about it. One day, I began to be concerned about injury. When I was thinking about injury on the ice all the time, I stopped skating.

More to lose is a legitimate reason, sometimes, for modifying behavior. I hope you aren't there, but if you are, its OK. Makes room for other types of fun.