Saturday, March 16, 2013

Where's The Podium? #16: Strasburg

You could say this race had a lot not going for me. You could also say I couldn't care less.

I'm just happy to be racing again.

And that is how I am choosing to look at this early morning's experience. Leaving my house at 5:15 am to drive 2.5 hours for a 1.25 hour race may sound daunting to most, but I leave for work every day only an hour later to face 8-10 hours of retail onslaught. This morning's cycling onslaught is a trade I'm happy to make.

Strasburg, Pennsylvania is part of the great county of Lancaster. From iconic PA sights interwoven with its rich, unique Amish culture, bike races are allowed to flourish here and I hope to make my way up many more times. As you can see from these first two pictures, the morning was beautiful in sight. Yet the cold winds were leading the charge of a bitter spitting of hail turned snow for the 9:00am race start.

The race course had its rollers, twists, and Lancaster character. From the ripe smell of cow presence to the horse manure patching the roads... if you can't tell by now, this race was sketchy. Instead of me going into a long-winded explanation of all the forces against a more positive result for me, I will simply list them out for you to see.

Beginning with factors effecting the race overall...

  1. First race of the season for many
  2. Poor, cold weather
  3. Snow making the roads wet and slick
  4. U-19 riders not heeding warnings, yellow lines, or their positioning on the bike, within the peloton, nor anyone else around them
  5. 2 crashes - caused by the aforementioned factors, yet they still play a part  (unnerving for some - tho one was right near the end near the back where the strong and capable of winning wouldn't be found)

And for me personally...
  1. My first race in two years
  2. Sketchy riders all around me causing me to be unnerved for much of the race
  3. Legs weren't fluid - for a number of reasons on their own...
    1. Poor training - SO MUCH WORK all on my feet for those 8-10 hour shifts (not a complaint- just a fact) My legs can only handle so much before fatigue cripples any gains I would hope to get from all the training I wish I could be doing
    2. Asthma - this only comes up in extreme cold with high exertion and in extreme heat with extreme exertion - it flared up for the last 4 of the 5 laps sapping my needed oxygen for that ATP energy production, muscle recovery, and sustainable strength in the legs. 
  4. At the end - I was caught behind a crash that took our 5-6 riders in front of me and almost claimed me with it. Glamourless onslaught.
  5. Legs didn't have it.
  6. Legs didn't have it.
  7. Legs didn't have it.
If my legs did have it, I wouldn't have been caught in the back behind that crash at the end that nearly took me out with it. I would have been up front with my friend going for the top step. But you know what... I got 22nd and I can only hope to improve with hard work, more dedication, and trusting myself.
I'm not done here yet.
I've done what training I could so far, and I will continue to do what I can as I dive into this upcoming season. It's a balancing act I feel most have to contend with. As much as I may feel mine is the worst, I cannot help but simply retract any negativity and replace it with appreciation for my ability to race, all the support I have around me, and what I hope to still accomplish. I have a lot of work to still do, but no one is in my way*.

Leaving Lancaster, PA and the Strasburg road race was not accompanied by disappointment. Seeing people going about their daily lives of work in this weather I hated to race my bike in certainly reminded me of the perspective I carry. I'm finally racing again and I couldn't care less about the placing I got today... I'm lucky to be able to do this. I will be back to race in Lancaster two weeks from now and I look forward to it. I am happy that my friend's hard work in training time and efforts payed off with a 3rd place and I hope I can help him out a bit more next time and slot myself up a few places in doing so.
100% Colombian + me = 200% Colombian
Thanks for reading.
instagram: @johnnybrison
*except me

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