Saturday, April 14, 2007

In My Mind...

24 Hours of Vail Lake is a week away. If you want to follow our progress, click this. The real-time scoring stuff is really cool. Bikes will be racing 4-man Expert.

A lot of physiological stuff starts to happen with me when it gets close to race time. The nerves start and I have a need to constantly talk about the race. I tell pretty-much everyone about what I am gearing up for. Not so much on the details, but I mention that I have a race coming up. It's on my mind so I share it in order to move on with their needs. I have a solid block of internal doubt and insecurity that pushes its way closer to my consciousness with every day that slips by before a race.

A few weeks out, I start freaking out about how much I have or haven't ridden. Over-trained? Under-rested? Enough base miles? Enough intervals? ANY intervals? I don't exactly have a plan for 'training.' I just try to ride as much as I can, weather permitting. (I don't like wet, but cold is no problem). One of the ways that this worry manifests itself is a complete lack of desire to ride my mountain bike. I know it sounds weird, but I get so set on riding a lot that I won't even drive 1/2 hour to ride for 1 1/2 hours when I can ride out the front door for 2 1/2 hours and not drive. Also, racing a lot is expensive so not driving when gas is at or near $3/gal helps out with my sponsors - Susan, Emma and Jeremy.

When I get to the minus-one week time frame, everything turns to logistics. I start thinking about what I need to take with me, worrying about what I'm going to forget and planning on how I'm going to deal with losing EVERYTHING on the way there but still finding a way to race. I line up who I can borrow a light from, who has a bike and gear I can use, that kind of stuff. I plan on having the least amount of stuff with me so I have to count on whatever I DID remember to bring. The more I try to simplify and concentrate on the real needs, the more I am able to relax and keep my brain from exploding.

I also start worrying about the weather. Luckily, San Diego is friggen paradise. My year + living there freaked me out as it pretty much doesn't rain. It's a desert. You had to wear a long-sleeved jersey in 'Winter' (emphasis on quotes) which was Jan-Mar, that's it. If it DOES rain, it's an absolute NIGHTMARE to try and ride. The trail turns to absolute MUSH and makes ECoast riding seem like road riding. Some areas hold up pretty well, but places like Mission Trails are almost un-ridable. The weather affects the clothes situation too. I always bring enough clean clothes to wear clean stuff every lap. If I am right about the lap times, we should be looking at 1 hour or less laps. That means that we might have to complete 6 laps each, maybe 7! That's a lot of jerseys, shorts, gloves, headbands... I bring two pairs of shoes and two helmets as there is nothing worse than a 4am lap with wet gear. Avoid that if you can.

Now, what can I forget? Exposed riding in SD requires a visor. Don't forget that. It's really dry and I'll be flying the day before so drink lots on the flight, try not to pee my pants. Hope the bike survives UPS. At least my buddy's shop will be able to hook me up if I have issues. I'm bringing the helmet cam to record a night lap. Should be fun. Do I take the computer so I can download the video and record multiple laps or just buy a few sd cards? Should I even bring the cam? Is anything going to get confiscated by TSA on the flight? I have to make sure I get some White Lightning. The dust out there is crazy and any other lube can grind your drivetrain to a halt. Ugh. I'm glad that I do this for 'fun' (emphasis on quotes) and not professionally. It's stressful enough as it is.

When it comes to race day, all of this worrying will actually pay off. Once I get suited up and go to watch the start of the race (I'm NOT running!), it's all gravy. I'm probably the slowest or second slowest on the team. JoFo and MattyD have the same coach and have been getting stronger and faster each year. I'm bigger than they are, my bike is heavier but I'm angrier! I haven't heard the official 'I got a flight' communique from Kemler up in SF so it might just be the three of us. Woof. That would be something. I can count on my boys to push through anything, crank out laps, fix whatever goes wrong and be consistent. Mechanicals happen, but these guys will run or turn their bikes into singlespeeds if they have to. Flats? Who cares, ride. Light out? Follow somebody with an HID and DO NOT lose them under any circumstances.

I've got a bunch of work to do before I leave for the race on Friday morning. There's still plenty that can go wrong but I'll dwell on that until we touch down in San Diego. I'll be walking from the airport to Bike Tours San Diego to meet JoFo and get my bike. Should be interesting with 60lbs of gear strapped to me.

Noon on Saturday (PST), 4/21, drink a beer for me. Noon on Sunday (PST), I should be cracking my own. Here's to your own goals and dreams... I vacillate between a few quotes that inspire me, albeit cheesily: Never stop fighting til the fight is done. Lights out, guerilla radio!


At 9:22 PM, Blogger Family Bike Shop said...

Good luck. Have fun. Ride FAST!


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Roger that. Thanks Jonathan.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger SusanK said...

Your sponsors are very proud of you and while we can't be on-site to cheer you on, know that one of us will most certainly be cracking a beer at noon in your honor.
Love and luck to you . . .

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Just remember that it's 3pm EST, not noon EST. I'm sure you'll crack one open on both just in case.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger gwadzilla said...

do you want to borrow my MiNewt as a back up
it weighs nothing and can just sit on your stem
waiting to be used

and your sponsors...

I tried to write an article for SPOKES magazine about the balance of family and mountain biking
it was tough
as it put things under the micorscope

my wife does a disproportionate amount

I am going to try to do better

you have a great support crew
I have a great support crew

lets get out support crews to team up at this year's Shenandoah Mountain 100!


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