Oooohhhhhh yeah… First rest week of the season. No bike riding means I got to catch up on reading the New Yorker on the subway for a week. Which is pretty cool since I very seldomly spend any time on the train. Because of this I feel like I’m a witness to some kind of crazy New York spectacle. This get’s old about as fast as you might think and it dawns on me that this is actually peoples every day reality for getting around. So I’m happily looking forward to going back to commuting on my bike next week.
But yeah, rest weeks. They are weird and actually kind of hard for a variety of reasons. For one thing whenever I’m resting I constantly feel super tired. It’s a different kind of tired from the usual tired that I experience as a bike racer. It’s a strangely unpleasant kind of tired. Things start to ache that don’t normally ache. It’s weird.
Another hard thing about rest weeks is that as a high strung obsessive athlete I don’t do well with sitting still. Luckily I’m very content with my season thus far. Which means things are on track and going according to plan. Since the plan was to rest this week I know I should be on board with it. But there is always the bad athlete in me that thinks I’m smarter then my coach and says things like “but if it’s going so well shouldn’t you keep training and make it go even better?” Fortunately I have enough personal experience to know how dumb that thought is. Although it would be much much worse if things had gone poorly up to this point. Then I would be sitting around thinking things like “Shit, I really should be training hard to get this season back on track.” This is also a stupid thing to be thinking. Regardless of how it’s gone up to that point if you did the training and the races you need the rest. Otherwise it only get’s worse.
Despite knowing all this I still sit around during a rest week thinking I should be training.
After four days of not riding at all I went for a quick easy ride with some Philly friends and promptly decided I should go do a local race the next day. My coach sort of shrugged and told me to sit in for at least half the race. It was either that or I would have to do some tempo intervals the next day anyway to start easing my self back into riding hard.
The local race closest to me was called Swashbuckler CX. It was a pirate themed race taking place on Halloween inside a Renascence fair ground. I guess my only critique of the race would be the pirate theme since that’s not what I think of when I think Renascence fair. Other then that the whole thing was amazing. Most local races tend to suffer from a lack of features or an over abundance of endless hairpin turns in a field. This was not a problem for Swashbuckler CX. The course wound it’s way through the fair ground in a way that did not feel repetitive and at the same time managed to hit all the things you would want a race happening in a Renascence fair to hit including the jousting arena which made for an excellent sand pit.
I lined up second row and was third wheel going into the first few corners which was fine by me. I was pretty much on a first name basis with half the field so I wasn’t worried about getting chopped. At the UCI races we let it all hang out but at the local races things are a bit more relaxed. Eventually about six of us separated into a lead group. A few guys dangled. Someone caught on and then promptly caused a crash just behind me. I patiently watched the clock and took off with about two laps to go. I know it was just a local race but I was still very pleased with winning. Partially because Krista was there cheering me on and partially because racing bikes is a lot of losing at racing bikes or finding degrees of success in not winning at racing bikes. It’s rare to win and even at a local race no one is going to just let you have it even if they aren’t going to chop you in every corner. So it’s pretty special when I can cross the line first.
Next week it’s back to work, intervals, and big races. I’ll be at the oldest UCI race in America the Cycle-Smart Northampton International Cyclocross which turns 25 this year.