Balancing Act

The days, weeks, and months since the end of mountain bike racing after the Leadville 100 haven’t been my healthiest.  My body was flat worn out, and frankly I just didn’t have the physical mojo to really ride a bike.  I tried as best as I could but then began the snowball of sickness and the aches and pains.  After spending a few days in New Jersey helping my best friend finish up packing for her move to Florida, I came home and got one ride in before I was knocked flat down with a respiratory virus that left me in bed and out of work for days.  I recovered, and headed to Cross of the North where I planned to race 5 times over 3 days.  After the first race where I went 1st to last in about 16 minutes I was not feeling well, and suffered through the single speed race the next morning to come down with a horrible throbbing headache, nausea, fever, and general malaise.  I skipped my afternoon SW3 race, and laid on the couch. With enough Tylenol and caffeine I survived to podium in SS the next morning, and survive to a “not last place” finish in SW3.  OK, I’ll get over this I thought…

Singlespeed 4/5 podium at day 2 of Cross of the North
Singlespeed 4/5 podium at day 2 of Cross of the North

Then Monday after COTN I awoke in horrible flank pain right over my right kidney.  I’ve been plagued with chronic kidney infections since I was very young, and all I could think was NO NO NO NO!!!  I pounded 800mg of ibuprofen and went to sleep and woke up for my night shift hardly able to move with nausea and a fever.   I made it exactly 20 minutes through my charge nurse handoff before the off-going nurse picked up the phone and call the house supervisor and said she was sending me home.  Apparently me crying in the fetal position in a chair means I shouldn’t work.  I endured a painful drive to an urgent care, and after huddling with a space heater in a ball was sent home with some antibiotics and nausea medicine.  I then went through one of the worse nights ever as I had kidney spasm after kidney spasm that left me literally screaming and crying while my cat frantically circled me meowing.  I woke up Tuesday in even worse pain – something way different than any other kidney infection I had ever had.  My concerned parents drove over and fetched me up to deliver me to the ER.  The doctor finally convinced me to allow them to give me 4mg of morphine after a long discussion so I could tolerate a full abdominal ultrasound.  It did little for the pain, but I survived to get completely inconclusive results and a discharge home with more antibiotics.  Days later the pain finally subsided, but the kidney would spasm every once in awhile and remind me it’s there.  Another week of no riding down the tubes…

I finally gave racing cross another go at Blue Sky Velo Cup on the 24th, racing SS4/5 only since it followed my boyfriend’s SM5 race early in the morning.  I had barely been on a bike and my body still seemed off.  After taking the holeshot I spent 1.5 laps following a guy in an awesome skinsuit with “laser kittens” on it before overtaking the lead (in which the announcers yelled, “a young lady just took the lead!”).  I widened the gap to almost 3 minutes by the time the race was over!  I felt strong, even through the peanut butter thick clay mud, and cornering was on cue.  I came in for the win with a “half post up” (uphill bumpy finish).  Whoa, I just won my first ever USAC cyclocross race!  It was a great comeback and conclusion to otherwise a month full of sickness and frustration!

Blue Sky Velo Cup - winner winner for single speed 4/5
Blue Sky Velo Cup – winner winner for single speed 4/5

It’s all been a balancing act.  My body was just done and I was suffering the consequences.  Luckily in one aspect I was able to predict I wouldn’t have a great fall, and I scaled back on cyclocross this year (and started racing in a category I’m competitive in, instead of making myself miserable in the crazy hardcore SW3 field).  But it’s been hard, and of course I’ve fallen into a rut of lots of couch time and no motivation for much else.

Tomorrow begins training for 2016.  It’s gotten to the point I’ve gone quite stir crazy and need structured riding and workouts back in my life!  Who would’ve thunk?  Luckily I have my coach, Tony Diede with CritFit, to do all the thinking for me and I’m excited to get back at it.  I know I’ve lost a lot of fitness in the past few months and I’m dreading to see my FTP number after tomorrow’s test, but I know I have plenty of time to rebuild before XC nationals in July!  I’ve also taken steps to take care of my body physically, and have some specialist appointments coming up to see what’s with all the dying kidney nonsense, and I may be finally riding with my left knee covered to prevent yet another layer of scar tissue getting ripped off (don’t get cocky on beginner trails at Gowdy.  ‘Nuff said).

For some fun randomness in no particular order….

I finally came up with something to do with all my race numbers which has grown to a significant amount that my idea of scrapbooking them is just silly! Book rings divided out by road, MTB, and cross with a bulletin board for pinning up stuff like special numbers, photos, my top tube pace sheet from LT100, pins and other little things down in my bike room
I did some random “white girl yoga posing” during my hike at Buttermilk Falls in northern NJ in September.
I did get to see some fall color before all my random health problems! Happy Jack is GORGEOUS!
Because every girl needs bright pink MTB shoes! My new Pearl Izumi X-Project 2.0 shoes! Finally some carbon MTB shoes that are comfortable! I love them so much I hurried up and got a second pair from Sierra Trading Post to keep as a back up
I took a selfie with the Atlantic Ocean
My S-Works Fate was completely rebuilt into a brand new bike practically by the Pedal House in Laramie, WY. Um, chain maintenance is a good thing when you use XTR cassettes… lesson learned. But she’s all ready to go for 2016!

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