Time Traveling, Part II: The Renaissance
Let’s travel back in time once more, but this time to the recent past. Ryan has been busting his butt, doing everything he can to get his knee better, including stretching, massage therapy, electro-stim and, sometimes, doing nothing at all. Rest is good medicine, but it can be really hard for me to sit still. First, small progress. Slowly the pain fades. The easy rides get longer, and then they’re not so easy. Suddenly, maybe too soon (but I’m getting antsy) it’s time to race. So it’s off to the Hillingdon Grand Prix.
Yeah, I had to take three weeks almost completely off the bike, and that’ll mess with a guy. I mean, I usually only take about two weeks off at the end of the season before getting back to business. Whatever. As soon as they drop that flag there’s no more time to worry, fret or wonder. You just race your balls off and hope that’s enough. And that’s what I did.
I wrote some kind of race report already so I won’t go into the nitty gritty, but it bears repeating that I have some pretty bad ass teammates. Phil dragged me around in the break for an hour and a half without asking for a single pull and Jamie made a massive solo bridge late in the race. He then went straight to the front to help deliver me to the line. (Good write-ups and tons of photos here from VeloUK and London Cycle Sport) They’re the perfect teammates: strong as hell and valiantly selfless. Which is why it sucks that I wasn’t able to seal the deal for them.Three weeks off the bike was a bit too much and I cramped up like I was being electrocuted. Whatever. I don’t even care. Normally I’d kick myself a little bit for not winning in that situation, but I was happy just to be racing again, let alone stepping on the podium.
I’ve been in a dark, brooding depression/funk of impotent anger for the last few weeks and it’s such an amazing relief to be back out there mashing the pedals. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was like someone was blasting this song at full volume from the skies:
And it’s been a leisurely ride on the gravy train ever since. I keep feeling better and better every day and the team is killing it. Jamie Sparling is the new East Midlands Divisional champion, Liam owns the West Midlands and JJ has been racking up Thursday night Mallory Park wins left and right.
Plus, we got to celebrate div champ wins and Chez’s 34th birthday on the same afternoon. Woohoo! To top it all off the Tour Series is getting ready to kick off, which means a plethora of crazy, high profile crit-taculars. I could not be more pumped.
So yes, things seemed a little bleak there for a bit, and honestly I’ve got a lot of hard work to do to get back into real race shape. But you know what? Not only am I prepared to put in the effort, I’m pumped for it. I get to ride my bike pretty much every day, and maybe I was starting to take that for granted. Perhaps this wonky knee was a wakeup call. Who can say? What I do know is that I absolutely love riding. My heart was suffering more than my body while I was sidelined, and I am chuffed to the bollocks to be back in the saddle again.
I’m back, bitches.