I have only been on my bike once except for a 1.5 hour ride in 10 days (and not counting my daily 15 minute commute but I don’t think it counts). So going into Tabor today I had a sense of dread…but then again I always do. The race started as usual other than me being in front at the whistle but that quickly changed. Today I had a grand experiment. A friend started racing again in the Cat 4′s and works with a Cat 2. My friend, the Cat 4, was asking me about gearing and I mentioned that I tend to hang out in my big ring for the whole hill. He mentioned that the Cat 2 said most tend to shift down into the small ring. Hmmm, this got me to thinking. Maybe I’m whacked and this is what’s killing me each race.
So the first hill arrives and I’m about to set my grand plan in motion except I’m feeling good. Regardless I force myself to downshift. I sit the whole way up and feel pretty good with the end result, but it is the first lap. 2,3 tick off without incident but I definitely feel my lungs. My other experiment is more positive thinking. I’ve been hard on myself and did some mental prep at the beginning. Deep breathing and visualizing me at the front. About lap 4 or was it 6 my mental optimism is beginning to crumble. Visions of DNF start appearing. The though of quitting brings a smile to my face as I visualize me sitting in the grass. It’s about here that I always go into a state of numbness. I loose count and never remember to look at the lap counter. I’m in a fog. At one point as the pack races down the backside for a 15 dollar preem. I start considering killing myself for the preem. The argument goes like this. I have NO chance of winning, I’m feeling the hurt and for all I know in my fog it’s lap 4 with 5 to go. And 15 bucks would pay for my race. However, I’m seriously considering it when I realize that we are starting up the hill and I’m in the very back. Oh well, the chance was slim any how.
The fog continues and I am always surprised to hear one lap to go. Already? I never believe it but at the same time I’m always relieved. I survived. On the final climb the field gets away. I’m not sure if I let them go or if I had nothing left. A combination I suspect. As for the experiement I watched the 2 fly by and felt it was about 50/50 big ring to small. For me I felt the small allowed me the spin but it worked my lungs more and my legs still hurt. I could go either way at this point.
Tabor is bitter sweet. I dread each race going in, exhausted coming out, it’s short, painful, emotional draining, and confidence deprecating. I’m glad when it’s over and once again look forward to PIR. Why don’t I just do PIR? I have no idea. Maybe a love for pain. PIR is less pain and more an opportunity for a good ride with teammates on the weekday.
Tabor also gives me a clue into my Cross fitness. So I never expect much but always hope for more. Till next year.