Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Bird Phenomenon

Every spring something very weird happens to me. And if it's written here it has to have something to do with a bike, right?

Last Saturday while on my way home from my long ride I was passing by PIR. Wait I should back up a little bit. I was cruising down Marine Drive and listening to TAL. I had noticed that a bird was hovering above me and having difficulty maintaining its position in the wind. It's fluttering about is what I supposed attracted my eye to it. Now every spring for the past 5 years I've been the victim of a single solitary bird attack. Just one. This bird was making me nervous. I was keeping a very close eye on him. I remember thinking "oh shit here it comes," "this is it," "today is the day." I was hoping that it would be as benign as the rest had been. The bird to my surprise lost interest and flew off. Maybe that would be the attack, maybe I wouldn't have to worry about full contact wrestling with a bird this spring.

Back to PIR, cruising along, cooling down. I look to my right and see some black birds duking it out or playing or whatever they were doing but some impressive aerial maneuvers for sure. Deciding that I should pay attention where I was going, I focused my attention on the path in front of me. As soon as I took my eye off the birds I felt a breeze and heard a flapping and then my helmet got heavier and there was scratching and clawing and pecking. I turned real fast and swiped at whatever it was that was on me. When my eyes finally focused after whipping around it was a black bird bobbing and weaving, shucking and jiving, making quick work of me. Full contact bird wrestling, I couldn't escape it this year. I got away from where it didn't want me and it landed on a near by post to keep an eye on me. I was lucky I didn't wander out into traffic while defending myself from this unwarranted sneak attack.

Nature can be cruel sometimes.

Trickity Track

So because I've been out with this pneumonia thing and my lungs are half the useless bags they used to be, I have started doing other things on the bike. I've picked MTB'ing up again, I started racing the track, and I picked up surfing again.

Losing my track cherry.

I decided that I should do a track class before I just started racing. Let someone take me on the wall and learn about the lines and the races and the etiquette. Everything. I took the class from Meg. She does an awesome job. She gives the history of the track, and goes over everything you need to know to be on the track safely and to have fun. She answers questions brilliantly and she is way under paid.

After the "classroom" time she said lets get on our bikes (which by the way I rented mine) she said "Don't worry we won't go on the wall, just yet" She must have read the fear in all of our eyes. We rolled around on the apron and up on the track then off then on it was pretty awesome. We did a little more talking then, "You guys ready to go up the wall?" There wasn't one person jumping up and down but we had to do it sometime. Off we went, we rolled around on the apron got up on the track and we played follow the leader. As we were heading toward that wall man everything in your mind is telling you it's a bad idea at the slow speed we were going. We kept approaching and bam we are on the thing and the giggling ensued. Giggling from fear of sliding off the wall and giggling from elation and be on there and not sliding off, giggling and swearing. Good times. It took several passes on the wall for the "OH FUCK"s to stop and the giggling to subside. What a frickin' trip. I was hooked. I've been racing the track since. I went the following Friday.

In fact we had a ridiculous field in the beginners. There was a pro on the road in our field and some cat 1's and 2's on the road as well. Not fair. That pro was tough for sure! I tried staying on his wheel in the scratch race and evidently he is a surgeon 'cause he ripped my knee caps off, I lasted a little while but was no match for a guy who gets paid to ride a bike. I'm definitly looking forward to more time on the track.


After I finished 23 minutes back in the 3 field at Cherry Blossom I took a day off and got back into racing and training again. I wasn't going to do Eugene Roubaix but I figured the legs were doing ok and I was feeling somewhat recovered. I just kept on the bike that week and tried to flush the legs out.

The Friday night before my race I decided to go out with a friend and have a nice evening of trying to stay off my feet and drinking water. I didn't get to bed till 2 and I had to be up at 7 to get to the race. I didn't end up sleeping in my own bed that night and I didn't sleep very well because of it along with waking up with a stiff neck.

But I headed down to the race anyway. 2 hours in the car for a 2.5 hour race. Great. I still wasn't feel horrible, a little tired maybe but not horrible. The profile was supposed to be mostly flat with a gravel section that was a little tenuous. I think we were supposed to do 4 laps on this circuit and do this little bump in the road four times. It seemed easy enough. My plan was to just stay in the pack and hang out for the day.

But if you have read this blog before you know that's always the plan and I never stick to it. Eugene was no exception. I went out on the first and second lap just playing around trying to be active and have fun. What I should have been doing is staying put and just getting through the race. The third time up the hill I buried myself to get over that little bump with the group. When I was seeing double the stars on that tiny climb that sealed the deal for me. I wouldn't finish the race the next time through the gravel section I was going to pull off and miss the sprint and just head back to the car. I sat in the car and even fell asleep after getting my recovery food in me.

That evening and the evenings to follow I would develop pneumonia and bronchitis that would handcuff me. I haven't been able to do much racing or train like I would like because I've been recovering from pneumonia. The worst possible thing to happen to an endurance athlete. Ok maybe there are worse things, but it was shitty. The entire winter negated by one illness.