So it has been 275 days (9 months and 1 day) since my last bike race and 255 days (8 month, 11 days) since total knee replacement surgery. I’ve only really been on the bike outside since late December and not a lot of outside riding overall (work and hockey and travel really take a bite out of training time), but in mid-April I was able to get some good rides in the hills in Southern California and that gave me some confidence when I didn’t have any knee issues after that weekend. So this week when I was at PT I mentioned to PT Jonathan that I was thinking about racing my bike. He asked, “How far?” I said it was 30 minutes and he said, “You can ride 30 minutes so I don’t see any problem racing!” Well, OK. Somehow I didn’t think 30 minutes riding along the greenway was the same as a 30 minute crit, but what the hell. I signed up Friday for today’s crit.
And then I woke up this morning thinking, “What the hell did I do?” Super nervous and I almost talked myself of out going, but I finally got everything together and headed over to 12 South. Got the bike unloaded and did a short ride to warm up and watched some of the race just before mine. Did one lap of the course when that race finished and lined up. Total cottonmouth. Ready to throw up. Waiting is the hardest part. Luckily this was a Cat. 4 only race and there were 15 of us. At the whistle I was slow clipping in (slower than normal!) so I was off the back right from the start. Not unexpected.
Turn 1 was up a slight hill, then a good downhill to another corner, into the wind and turn 3 then uphill with a little grind (7-9%) just before turn 4, then downhill through the start/finish and on to another lap. Going up the grind was hard since I still have issues standing up to pedal more than about 3 pedal strokes. One place where I definitely need to work on strength. At times, I was just-this-close to bridging up to Tammy but then that darned hill would show up again. Once they started showing lap cards, I knew that I’d about hit my limit (especially as my pace up the grind kept getting slower), so I pulled off at the officials tent and said I was finished. Neal was sitting nearby and I went over there and sat down and burst into tears - all that pent-up emotion needed to go somewhere!
So, 15th out of 15, and no fitness, but it’s a start. I know I rode hard since I had bike hack afterwards. And it was good to get out there again. Now, to get some real training in.