Monthly Archives: May 2011

Don’t race and drive

Racing your bike can make you stupid. Literally. Particularly after a hard race or ride.

Sometimes after a race I’ll unlock my car, then spend 10 minutes looking for the key again, only to find that I was holding it in my hand. I’ve come home from long, hard rides and then gotten into arguments over whether the temperature was good for riding.

It must be something about low blood sugar and brain function (and a quick google search would appear to confirm that).

Which is why I usually have a can of Coke ready to drink after a race.

But sometimes I forget, or I wait too long after the race is over. Or, like yesterday, when the promoter schedules awards for 2 hours after the race finish, and you are waiting around and don’t think to start eating something. That’s a bad idea when you have a 4-hour drive home from Michigan after racing for 80 miles.

I was driving along in a bit of a daze, with the cruise control on, absorbed in a “This American Life” podcast. At one point, I half-recognized that the mile marker numbers don’t make sense (driving 23 South to Toledo, they count down to 1, and these were counting up). But in my daze, it just didn’t register. So I kept driving.

After a while longer, I came a construction zone, had to cancel the cruise control and start paying attention. I realized that I did not recognize the exits. I pulled the GPS out of the glove box, turned it on, and saw that I was on my way towards Chicago. I’d driven 25 miles in the wrong direction. I think the road split in Ann Arbor, and I hadn’t even noticed.

Action #1 was to turn around. Action #2 was to get some food and then caffeine.

It was a long ride home.

Side Note:
But it was at least a long drive home in a new Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which I’ve concluded is the perfect bike racing car.



Filed under Uncategorized

Just like being sick

The sun is out today, and everything seems right with the world.

I can finally sit outside and drink morning coffee.

I don’t have to ride the trainer or scheme to ride during the only 1 hr dry slot that might occur.

For the last couple of weeks, it seems that all everyone can talk about is how dismal the weather has been. At work, at home, on the TV news.

It’s like being sick with Influenza. It comes on, hammers you, and goes on for days. It starts to feel like you’re going to feel that way forever, and it’s never going to get better.

Then one morning you wake up and realize that you feel better.

That’s what it was like getting up and seeing a blue sky today.

I’m not going to spoil it by looking at the forecast for the next week.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wind killed the Wicked Witch of the East, you know

I have developed this (irrational?) fear of the wind.

I can trace its roots back to last year’s state time trial championship. The one where the start was delayed while an Armageddon-like storm blew through, threatening to lift the registration canopy off the ground even though 6 of us were holding it down.

After the storm the skies cleared but the wind remained — strong crosswinds with big gusts on the majority of the course. I don’t know how high the gusts were, but they were high enough to make me afraid riding the TT bike. Several times I felt like I was on the verge of losing control of the bike. Then I was stupid enough to ride it a second time, as part of a 2-man TT.

But those kinds of conditions are rare, right?

And then this spring happened. For the last month or so it has seemed like every training ride and every race have been battles with the wind. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid to train on the TT bike for fear of being blown into passing cars. I just can’t seem to get past that phobia, with the memory of the state TT flashing in my head.

Last week I did the Presque Isle TT. It’s right on Lake Erie. Which makes the wind even worse. Warming up, it didn’t seem too bad. I thought I could handle it. Then at about mile 4 the course was exposed to the open water. A nasty crosswind was coming from the right, with pretty big gusts. Bad enough that I couldn’t stay down in the aero bars.

Well, I could have stayed in the aero bars. Other people did. But I just couldn’t get past that fear of being blown over, or blown over the yellow line. So I rode about a mile and a half sitting up, until the course turned away from the open water. Which didn’t help my time very much.

This bugged me all the way home. So much so that I got back out on the TT bike and rode another 2.5 hours in the wind, to convince myself that I could do it. Which I could, but I also wasn’t using the TT wheels.

I’m wondering what to do about this. One option is to just get fat so the wind will have a harder time blowing me around.


Filed under Uncategorized