Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Not racing is harder than racing - Sherwood Pines 24th March

Turns out that standing at the race hurts just as riding that. The latter hurts lungs, the former hurts ego.

Having done some painful spectating in the past weeks, I cracked at Sherwood Pines (Round 1 of British XC Series) and despite the racing bans received from the doctor, from the coach and from the boyfriend, I got to the start line as the only woman in the category.
- Are you open or fun?
- Open.
- Ok, we have one open lady, any fun ladies around?
Oh, it was fun, and a lot of it! I started from the last line which meant that soon a lot of men were steaming when I flew past them, some even deliberately trying to prevent me from passing by. Guys, really? :)
Most of the people were complaining about the weather, about the mud - well, Irish summers are muddier than that, plus they have rain. And in Sherwood Pines it was spectacular. Mud, yes, but slippery not sticky one, freezing cassette oh well, several inches of snow around, trees with white hats on them, snow flakes dancing in the air around you - beautiful!
I didn't know till the very end whether I'd race or not, the memory of finishing the only race I managed to do this year under an oxygen mask was still alive but then Sean passed me on his first lap shouting "Sign on!". Decision made.
It was an example of "How not to prepare for a race". Having a lot of fun on the bike a day before resulted in heavy legs. No proper hydration. No warm-up. Half a bottle of wine with friends a night before. Bold tires. Like a total newbie. Excitement is the best preparation though, apparently :)
The times were good, the body a bit confused with the racing effort, it even forgot how to drink properly at a race.

The racing sparkle is slowly coming back, partially thanks to the West Drayton crowd.
I was stunned two weeks ago when I went on a road ride with them and then got dropped after half an hour, which I had expected as I was slower than them by miles. What I didn't expect was to see them at the next big roundabout riding in circles waiting for me! Shocking. What I had learnt from my previous club rides was to always know your way back home because if you're too slow to stick with the group that's only your problem. And these guys here, completely different league, they waited! How touching was that.

Now, just to sort out the breathing.
What's sorted for the moment is that because the breathing caused discomfort I tended to hold my breath. I'm learning to remember to breath.
Spirometry done - results are great. Chest X-ray clear. Asthma drugs making no difference. Blood results perfect (like, really perfect). Now, waiting for a heart scan. There must be a reason. In the meantime, the weight is going up like crazy, I need to get back to moving around to stop it from getting even higher.

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