Even though I like to ignore their importance, I need routines.
Since my accident, my schedule has been tossed around. Eliminating swims, adding in many sessions of physical therapy, less weekend riding, more strength training.
Schedules create rhythm and I am struggling to get in step with this new beat. As a result, my blog writing has been non existent.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made some good strides in my recovery. I made my return to road racing, with my debut as a cat 3 in the Pro/1/2/3 field at the Tacoma Twilight Crierium. My race got off to a bad start and I got dropped and lapped, but I was able to hang in the field the second time around. AND, I wasn’t last, so that was nice. The following week, I tried again at the Boson Harbor Circuit Race—was dropped again and rode the remaining 24 miles of the race by myself. I was last at this race, but there were some quitters. I’d rather be the last rider than a quitter.
A week and a half ago, I encountered a tough hurdle—a return to track racing. As Kevin and I drove to the velodrome, I declared that I reserved the right to chicken out. I was nervous.
The race got off to a late start and I was thankful for the extra warmup time. Our field started the night with an Unknown Distance, which is exactly as it sounds. You ride lap-after-lap, not knowing how far your race will go. Then, when there is only one lap to go, the officials ring a bell and the field sprints for the win.
Because the front and up-track is the safest place to be, I parked myself there for the entire race. I was second-to-last, but I was safe and confident enough to continue the rest of the night’s races.
The second race had me spooked a bit. I crashed in the second race and it was the same type—a win-n-out. In this race, racers ride 4 laps and then the officials ring a bell. The first person to the line on the 5th lap, wins. They get to leave the track, and everyone rides another lap. The first person across the line this time is second place. They are ‘out’ and get the leave the track. Next lap, 3rd place, and the last lap, the rest of the field is placed in the sprint.
I had pysched myself up and was ready to go when the head referee called over all the racers in my field into a pre-race meeting. This is highly unusual so I started to get nervous. Once we were all asembled, he began to say he had a bad feeling about tonight and our field. It was like a bad dream. He continued on to ask that we communicate more and be extra cautious. He said he didn’t want to do any paperwork and he just felt he needed to talk to us. It spooked me so bad that I just started to shake my head and cry. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE A FEELING?!!?”
I got off my bike, ready to call it a night because, really, WHO SAYS THAT?!?
Seeing me in tears, the ref tried to talk me down. And bless my friend Lindsay who whispered, ‘I’m psychic and I don’t see anything bad.’
After I regained my composure, I did the race. I sat out of the first three sprints, continuing to ride in the front and up high on the outside. For the last lap, I felt like I had enough strength to come from the outside, so I gave it a try and snagged the sprint for 4th place.
I was feeling a lot better after the race and was excited to try and race the last race of the night, a 6×3 Points Race. This is an 18-lap race where there are 6 sprints—one every 3 laps. I actually rode in the sprinter’s lane, behind other riders, and squeezed through tight spaces. I was back. I went for 2 of the six sprints off the front and got edged out the first time and won the second. The effort was good enough for third place.
And! I was 3rd overall in the omnium and acquired 2 upgrade points despite my conservative riding. It was a nice night and I should not forget to mention that Jess and Niels came out for moral support. Much appreciated. I really do love the track.