It is what it is…and it’s mostly good

This weekend was a series of ups and downs.

Friday afternoon, quite a few of us from Blue Sky Velo Club took the afternoon off and helped set up the course for the Blue Sky Velo Cup cyclocross race.  This is always one of the highlights of the CX season for me as I love the courses at Xilinx ( and am very grateful for their allowing us to use their property) along with the courses that Blue Sky Velo put together are always a great time.  There were quite a few of us helping out so we somewhat broke off into groups to tackle different sections.  Several hours of manual labor later,   I got to ride a couple sections of the course so I could get a feel for it; one of the perks of being a volunteer!

As the finishing touches were being put into the course, I excused myself to head up to Estes Park to join the rest of my family along with Hill’s parents for some time in the mountains.  On the way up, I noticed that my battery light on the truck was lighting up when my engine rpm’s dropped below 1700 (diesel engine, so I rarely go over 2500rpm), a pretty good sign that the alternator was going out.  Luckily nothing quit working, however to be on the safe side, after getting to the house we were staying at in Estes, I plugged in a trickle charger for the truck.  I wanted to actually figure out what was going on, but in the absence of my tools back home, I couldn’t do much about it.

After a good nights sleep, and an early wake up – I was heading back down the mountain to Longmont for the race.  By the time I got back into the town of Estes Park proper, the battery light was on full time, when I got into the canyon between Estes and Lyons, the radio turned itself off and at Lyons the gauges quit working…all I wanted was for the truck to just keep running long enough to get me to my race…
Nope- the truck died just before St. Vrain road on 75th.  At this point I was roughly 8 miles from the race, it was 8:30am, my race was at 10:40 and I wanted to be there by 9:30 to be able to get a good warmup in.  I thought about calling AAA for a jump, however I figured there was a very slim chance of getting AAA to me and everything done in an hour.  Was my race over? Heck no – I loaded up my cycling backpack (very glad I had it with me!), found two bungie straps to strap my race wheels to my backpack, and off I went on my bike  (looking a bit like a Clampett on two wheels).

All in all, the ride from the truck to the race wasn’t bad as it allowed me to great a warmup done; best of the season so far actually. Another of my “good things” was I decided to put some embrocation on my legs before leaving the house in the morning so it would have some time to soak in.  It was a double good thing – the extra time got my muscles all nice, warm, and loose; and since it was already on, my legs were warm for the ride to the race which allowed for an even better warmup as I didn’t start with brick legs from driving.

Near the end of the race and well into the hypoxic pain cave

When I got to Xilinx, it was packed with people getting ready to race.  It didn’t rain as was expected, and many hoped, so rather than a very technical race, it was a fast race with some good technical sections.   My start was less than stellar, started around row eight or nine and tried to make some headway in the pack off the start, but there were a lot of people riding a bit too aggressive and more than once someone almost went down.  As we got off the starting drag and onto the course, I was able to start picking people off; however on every really tight turn, I would end up getting a ~5sec gap between me and the person that was in front of me.  Conversely, I’d make up ~8sec every time we had to go over barriers.  This had me moving up bit  by bit for the first several laps.  As the laps went on, I started to make more and more mistakes in the technical sections until I started having mini crashes to full blown ones – just too hypoxic to think straight and then got timid which made it worse (not nearly enough practice as the technical aspects aren’t instinctual yet).  I thought about getting off the gas, but decided not to and kept attacking the group I was in and at least held my position in average as I moved up in the power sections and got passed in the technical sections.

I ended up 69th after starting ~85th or so, not stellar, but actually one of my more fulfilling races of the season.   I was able to push hard the entire race, minimized my crashes (compared to other races) and didn’t let up and soft pedal many times when I had every opportunity to do so.  I had hopped that this year I would be in the top 20 finishing positions, but life and many things have contributed to where I am, and that is without the fitness and skill to be there; and that’s ok, it is what it is- I’m having one heck of a fun time and I’m learning a lot along the way.

I honestly think the realization of where I am in reality vs where I was envisioning myself was the best part as I’ll be able to put together a much better training program now.  The truck did make it home after a visit from AAA.  The alternator is definitely shot and maybe one of the batteries; just another couple things to add to the “to do” list.

The next day was spent with family up in Rocky Mountain National Park hiking around, though much of it was more helping my daughters climb all over the rocks as each outcropping begged to be climbed as far as they were concerned.

Nice fall day in RMNP

one of many rocks climbed

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