Hot temperatures still abound, but there’s that ever-lurking feeling that summer is just over all around. The aspens up in the mountains are slowly going to yellow, and there’s a certain crispness to the air in the early morning.
After Nationals in July I went through a rather big period of disillusionment with riding bikes. I know I was burnt out on racing long before Nationals, both mentally and physically. It was incredibly frustrating watching myself seemingly get slower from my peak of racing at the beginning/middle of June. My right knee began having pain issues again, which I contributed to the running I was doing in May and June, which also inflammed my right hamstring at the ischial tuberosity. I went into July injured, tired, and just sick of everything and everybody. I had my high point of nailing the bike leg of the Cheyenne Sprint Triathlon, and skated through Nationals with a great deal of apathy and mental relief when it was all said and done. I’m still trying to digest the Laramie Enduro, which resulted in a DNF at 52 miles because I was so mentally over it. Over mountain biking, over everyone who mountain bikes, over dirt/rocks/obstacles, over myself. So over it I didn’t even care that my parents loaded my overly expensive mountain bike in the truck in a rather sketchy way, and I didn’t have a care in the world if it would’ve flown out of the truck at 75mph on the trip back in Laramie. OVER IT. I made some off key comments on Facebook about my disappointment with my overall crappiness in endurance racing which my real life close friends, coworkers, etc took properly (aka those exposed to Heidi 24/7 and know how I talk and how I am), and in which a handful of acquaintances took a lot differently. The whole resulting stupidity made me really evaluate why I even ride bikes and race, and a lot of good soul searching talks with some amazing gals at work got me straightened a bit mentally. I skipped the LMBS Race #5, opting to spend an extra evening at home watching Netflix. I returned the following week to the final race of the LMBS with just a personal goal of personally whipping Death Crotch’s ass (hrm). It took me 1.5 hours to climb that trail the first weekend I ever had a mountain bike, so the race was all about me not taking that long. I think I ended up doing it in around 25 minutes, so I did a secret happy dance at the summit and took to making it back to the finish line without a rear brake (my mountain bike was as physically exhausted as I was, even the bottle cage was falling off). I think I ended up 7th in the race, in all actuality it didn’t matter because I just wanted to climb Death Crotch. Which I did 🙂
And then I found myself at the end… end of racing mountain bikes in 2013. 13 odd races later, and it was done. I was both relieved and lost at what to do. Now I didn’t have to turn every ride into a some sort of training, “I can ride faster than you can on Strava” BS. Yet I still found myself lining up at a Lory Park Mountain Challenge race, expert class no less. It was nearly dark by the time I finished Timber/Kimmons for the second time, and I was lost as heck on the Valley Trails in the faint slivers of daylight. I turned around and found my car. Yet I strangely didn’t care. I climbed Timber twice in a row, who does that?! Then registration for the Stone Temple 8 came out, and I joined up with two others for a co-ed team entry… that comes later in September. Raced in 3 states, traveled probably… uhhh 7000 miles in Mr. Fozzy to races, and pedaled in the dirt in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I had my share of adventures!
I picked up my Specialized Crux in the meantime during all of this, and reignited something desperately needed in my life – the desire to ride a bike. Harsh, crappy brakes, and silly fast – beyond excited for cyclocross season! I signed up for a women’s BRAC cyclocross camp, and two races next weekend September 7-8. I fail at getting back on a bike fast, so I’m mostly looking forward to how much I can laugh at myself during a cross race. I’ve already filled up most of September with races.
August 11 was another rendition of Ride for Sight. Last year I struggled through 73 miles, so it was only natural to aim for the full century/100 miles this year. I spent the first 8 miles redlining myself as part of the “Blue Train” and lead peloton, finally dropping off so I wouldn’t burn all the matches long before the 50 mile turn around. Matt, our teammate Bill, and I formed our own group and pedaled along. I enjoyed how much faster the ride was going this year in the comparison to the year before, even though we were spending tons of time at the aid stops. Bill turned around at Aid 3 for a metric century, so Matt and I continued on. It sucked, it was getting hot, but the boiled plain hot dog 50 miles in at the turnaround made it worth it! Best damn hot dog I had eaten, at least at that point in my life! I might’ve whined a bit, but I finished the ride… though riding into the park my GPS only said 99.4 miles. You can bet I did circles in the parking lot until I hit 100! First century ride done and out of the way! It was made awesome by my even awesomer teammates and the great volunteers (including a guy who asked if we knew those two that got medals at the national championships!).
It’s been an interesting summer. I didn’t pedal nearly as many miles as I thought I would. I didn’t do as many cool things as I thought I would. I worked a lot, I laid on my futon a lot. I keep telling myself I’ll start training for next year soon. Soon. As in later. Not today. I do road rides time to time when I get up before the midday heat, and I’ve been hitting up North Park with the Crux frequently to get use to skinny tires on dirt. It is what it is, and I’ll eventually regroup and “train.” Until then, there’s ton of cyclocross fun to have!