If you’re going to do something that’s part of your pre-race routine, you might not want to do it when you’re unable to race. That is what caused my first little “meltdown” the other day.
I think most racers have something they do before the race that, for whatever reason, puts them in the racing zone. For some, I think it involves the stress of arriving at the last minute and pinning on a number just before they blow the start whistle.
For many others it involves listening to some kind of music. I’ve got a number of playlists that I listen to while on the way to races, depending on what kind of mood I’m in. I hadn’t listened to any of those playlists in the last 5 weeks.
Without thinking much about it, I played one the other day. It brought on this unexpected flood of memory and sensation of racing — getting there, getting prepped, racing, the intensity, the whole scene. And then the visceral recognition that I’m not doing it, for a long time.
Someone who has not engaged deeply in an activity — whether bike racing or something else — may not fully appreciate this. Once you start racing and get hooked, it gets into your blood. It’s hard to just ‘casually’ race. If you try that you’re likely going to be spit out the back and doing your own private training ride (to quote Brad Hansen). So racing becomes an all-consuming and somewhat obsessive activity.
Suddenly take that activity away, when you’ve been doing it for a long time, and it leaves a hole. I think that finally registered with me.
It’s interesting to me that music triggered this recognition. Interesting, but not too surprising, as I’ve read about this previously, e.g., like here. I’m thinking that I’ll be able to use this to my advantage too, once I’m able to start some real physical therapy. It worked once already: the PTs in the hospital had me blast some Chili Peppers to get me off the bed and using the walker for the first time. Quite a scene.