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Saturday, June 21, 2014

PUMMELED LIKE A BABY SEAL WITH A CLUB...DEER TRAIL

I do not race anymore, I do not see any reason too. With that said, I was intrigued with having a weekend off and the Deer Trail road race taking place east of Denver, so I registered. I'm not very fit these days, as I simply ride for fun and fitness and do not spend many long hours in the saddle, it's just not a priority in my life anymore. I still love to ride bikes, but on my terms. I signed up to race with the 55+ hammer heads for 43 miles of rolling terrain and what turned out to be pretty severe cross winds the second half of the race. By the way, did I say crosswinds? I've got a new steed with my Trek Domane which handled so much better than my steel Indy Fab while racing, the geometry is tight and the bike handles beautifully in the pack. I've never felt even close to that comfortable riding in a peleton. These guys know their shit. They have been playing this game for many years. This was my second road race ever racing with this group. I paid, and I paid dearly once dispatched from the main group about 12 miles into the 43. I was battered by crosswinds until the last three miles of the race, and except for catching the wheel of Paul Humiston for about a mile and half as he came screaming by me to catch back on after a mechanical, I spent a lot of time staring down at the road and driving forward, never looking up as the wind pummeled me deeper into submission. I would not call what I was doing on Paul's wheel "drafting" per say, I fought so hard trying to stay on his wheel that I got one of those side cramps you get that your mom warned you about from jumping into the swimming pool to quick after inhaling a hot dog. I had not had one of those cramps since I was about six years old, and it stayed with me for about twenty miles. I embraced the pain and pushed on, but damage was done in many minutes as the majority of the field stayed together until close to the finish. The biggest problem for me these days has become two fold, my asthma and lower back are always there, and as I age they continue to no get any better. It's funny, I think people expect that as you age you will continue to train and ride as you did when you were younger, stronger and faster....perhaps, but only if you are overly obsessed with it, and I am not, never will be again. But jumping in once in a while gets me back in the game and makes me a much better bike race announcer. It's good to experience the nerves at the start of the rollout and feel the accelerations when the pressure starts. It's also good to experience that feeling of the peleton riding away and your body saying "no more", and knowing what lies ahead is going to be hard, solo to the line in the wind. You can't talk about these things with very good perspective without experiencing them yourself the way I see it....so when time permits, I'll still line it up on occasion.....just to be in the game, for however brief it may be.

Editor's Note
After seeing how many racers dropped out of the action yesterday due to the extremely windy conditions, in some cases over 50% of the field, I'm pretty happy with finishing, and finishing 19th in an "open category" race. It was a tough deal, but I never considered quitting, period. 

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