Road Rash - Heal Thyself

"It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong
man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by
dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short
again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who
know neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt

When I decided to start racing my bike a few seasons ago, one thing lurking in the back of my mind was crashing. Hitting the deck is nearly inevitable if you race long enough and hard enough. Certainly the more you push, the closer to the edge you get, and sometimes you end up on your hip sliding across the pavement, grinding your flesh away in the process. I've had a racing license since 1987 and have lost my share of skin. Thankfully, that's been the worst of it - no broken bones to date. Still, dealing with the aftermath of these injuries is typically worse than getting them. The searing pain of the first shower, the oozing wounds, the sticky sheets, difficulty sleeping and the annoying, frequent dressing changes all make for a tedious couple of post-crash weeks.

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Down and Out

After last week's performance at the Hailey 4th of July criterium, I was hopeful for this week's two crits, the Alan Butler Memorial in Idaho Falls and the Jackson Downtown crit here at home. Since we had our one local event and I wanted to perform well in front of friends and all, I decided to only do the Master's event at Alan Butler. We had a nice size field with some good fire power. I noted to one friend from Boise who was a favorite for the win that in the two previous years there was not a breakaway in the Master's race. We hoped to change that this year.

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Riding the High-Carb Wave

No new science in this post. Just some musing about my run of good form. If you have read the previous two posts then you know that I have been rebounding from a bout of apparent under-nourishment. Not sure if my increased feeding is responsible for my recent winning ways but it may be so I'm going to continue eating nearly everything. I'll get to last weekend's competitive outing in a bit.

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Search complete, form found!

Ahhhh…what a difference a week makes. Well, a week and a boat load of carbohydrate, anyway. Yeah, as you know, last week's stage race effort sucked hugely and thoughts of hanging up the bike to do something else briefly plagued my thoughts. If you've been following this then you know some of my theories about why the implosion happened. Further discussion with Mark Twight at Gym Jones reinforced my feeling that diet was the culprit. His experience with athletes playing with gluten-free or gluten-reducing diets reveals that these experiments can insidiously devolve into low-carbohydrate diets. For an endurance athlete, this usually yields competitive suicide.

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Anyone seen my form???

No seriously. I'm thinking about taking out one of those milk carton ads because it was no where to be found this last weekend at the Elkhorn Classic stage race. And, man, did it suck ass! I'm just not used to riding that poorly. I mean, I've had an "off" day or two over the years but nothing like this. Honestly, I was not expecting to be great. I'm one month out from hitting my rib cage against a cement wall at the end of a criterium and separating a couple or rib cartilages. I followed that up with a nasty cold and bronchitis. Lot's of pus coming out of my lungs for a couple of weeks and a seriously impaired ability to cough. For better or worse, I trained through it and was feeling fairly fit on the other end. I tried not to do too much the week before and felt good riding to the line Friday afternoon.

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