Jul 24, 2014

Bump in the Road

The season was going great.  The plans were made, some goals already met, my aspirations were big, and the "Cœur Jambes Esprit" were committed in unison.

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Only one week before Canadian National Road Championships in early June, and several days after making the 6 hour round trip drive to test-ride the Championship courses, I woke up in my bed, planning to do a tough, long ride. Tough, as in : you might see funny colours at some points because you're so far in the red zone.  I like those.  I took no more than 10 steps from my bed before I knew it wasn't going to happen.  I went back to bed.  For two days.
I'm used to putting out big power on my Felt F1 road bike and its Speedplay pedals.  I had to be patient for what seemed to be an eternity before my body would be back to normal, after being hit with a nasty virus though.
The next four weeks were challenging.  I spent a lot of it on the couch or in bed.  Everything nauseated me.  I saw a girl wearing "too many" polka dots.  I thought I was going to puke.  I saw a car that looked too "Euro".  It made my stomach turn.  Once, I tried to do a long easy ride, and after 1 hour, I found a picnic shelter to nap in.  I fought to make it the rest of the way home that day; pushing about 50W felt like my Quarq powermeter should have been reading 300W instead.  I had trouble eating and my weight plummeted. I didn't like coffee anymore and I hadn't the slightest desire to paint my nails bright colours.  I couldn't do a grocery store trip without sitting down in an aisle to take a break, and once I had to lay down on a scuzzy subway station floor...  A nasty virus had attacked me.

I kept hope that I would be healthy enough to race the Canadian National Championships, right until the end.  I had my numbers pinned on my jersey.  Impossible. And, kind of heart wrenching.

There are times when you have to fight with all you've got to get what you want, and there are times to sit back and be patient.  It's like that in bike racing.  It's like that in life.  This was one of the times when I had to wait.  I didn't like it, and I was scared that I'd never be back to normal.
Racing the Prologue at Cascade Classic. Photo Credit: Dave Adams
The Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend OR was my first race back.  I didn't know what to expect.  But one thing was certain : I was so grateful to be back with my teammates, back on my bike, and back in the race peloton.  Sometimes I felt like a useless rag when my body wouldn't fight hard enough to help my teammates, and it was weird at first to get dropped where I knew I typically "shouldn't".  I felt my legs coming back though, and I was thankful to be with my TWENTY16 team who were supportive.
Back racing with my teammates at the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, OR. This pose (that I picked up from a guy who used to do the same group rides as me almost a decade ago) has been coined as the "Lex Flex" by my teammates.  The secret: if you shove your biceps out from behind with your fists, you'll look like you have big pipes.  It's not the look I should be going for..but I still think it's funny.  These girls rock!
I feel like I'm back to my old self again.  This bump in the road was a scary one mostly because it lasted for so long.  It was a good reminder to appreciate good health and strength when we have it, do all it takes to maintain it, and just how lucky I am to be living the dream as a bike racer. 
It feels good to be gross and grimy again after a good solid training ride in California. 


  1. I'm going to predict it here first. You're going to win the World Championships before retiring from racing and writing a Best Seller memoirs. Then you'll coast through your third career in sports medicine. But first ... get back to 100%.