Tuesday, November 8, 2011

At Season's End

On Cloud 9 (Carolyn Campeau's photo)

Someone asked me the other day what I would name as my best "age" -- what age was your best year? After contemplating for only a couple of seconds, I said, This year. Forty has been a good year. And Lordy knows I wouldn't want to label the best year of my life as something I could never get back and I know I don't want to be 19 again.

And I'm not unimpressed with my year on a bike either (and I'm never getting 19 back there either) although I would subjectively (and there are objective results to prove it), say that it started off with a bang and went downhill from there, ending with me crawling throughout that cyclocross race out in St. Malo more like an 80 year old. I was done. I had my last good cross race at Whittier Park and there was nothing left in the tank to finish it off.  Done.

The blasted Sand Pit in Altona -- God I love those socks...

So I imagine this is what burnout feels like: I'm tired. I'm stiff. I feel like I can't bend over. I can't tie my shoes. I can't put on my socks. I'm doing Yoga again and it's doing nothing. My body has seized up. The last time I was like this, it was because I was over training. What have I done the last 2 months? I've raced cross, I've commuted on average twice a week, slowly. And I've raked many many leaves.  Every time I go for a massage, the therapist says I need more like 3 hours on the table because one hour is barely doing a thing.  I also don't want to do anything that makes me out of breath right now. Being out of breath, hurts.

I lack serious motivation and drive to win or try and catch people. For example, I fell over in the sand at St. Malo on Sunday and that was it, I stopped racing. I heckled people as I got lapped because there was a lot of that going on this year. And I had a smile on my face the whole time.

The blasted run up in St. Malo (WCW). If you didn't know cross, by looking at the pictures you would think all we did was carry and push our bikes around. 

Today I rode my bike to work and that made the grand total bike-ground covered for 2011 5037 km. That number does not take into account the fact that for me, 1 km on a mountain bike is like 3 kms on the road. And there were probably about 150 trail kms this year.

So where did it start:

It started last December with me on a trainer working my butt off with 4 to 5 bikes a week. Greg (the insane one... who's blog is back up, for now... and it better not go down again), kept warning me all winter, when I told him what I was doing periodically, that I was going to burn out. I didn't believe him. (I'll admit it Greg, I didn't believe you!) But he was right. He would know, he's been at this game a whole lot longer than me. I think it took me longer to reach burnout than he thought it would, but by March I was ready to throw the trainer in a snowbank and be done with it. So I pretty much did and went outside.

My over my head backwards shot of Don on the PCH -- that's the Pacific Coast Highway.

Then came California. It is hard to have a good summer on a bike when the best thing you did all year happened in April. That week, fundamentally changed the reason why I ride. And it was made all the more incredible by having the amazing Don right up there ahead of me, or beside me, or behind me. Depended on who was having the good day and who wasn't. But in reality, there could be no bad days on the road with Don.

We would touch the Pacific Coast and then we would end up waaaaaay up here.

And that was just supposed to be the training camp for the GranFondo in Penticton. What a lovely little town that is and some of the most beautiful riding in Canada, I am sure. I got through most of it riding on the wheel of the pleasant draft that was the James Dyker train but I finished too fresh and I could have gone harder. It was a great week and I rather enjoyed getting to know James and Karin better, as well as Rene and Carla. There is a part of me that wants to go back and do it again.

Rene, Karin, James and me... out for a test ride the day before the GranFondo at the Okanagan Beach

This would have been my view for about 110km

Then it was one stupid crazy enduro event after another.

The Falcon 8 hour where I learned how to Mountain Bike in a damn hurry or get run over. Scott B. gave a speech at the start, as he likes to do, and told me that eventually  my brain would shut off and I would just ride. And he was right. Every lap I rode something I hadn't been able to ride before, with my best lap being #4/6 with Vanessa behind me, we chatted the whole way and I think I rode 90% of the technical stuff on that lap.

Somewhere around Beausejour, on the Lac du Bonnet ride, when we still looked well and happy and healthy: Scott B., Greg L., and Ben V.  It was only me and Scott that turned around and came back by bike too. Ben went on to the Whiteshell, and Greg got picked up and taken to a camp by his family.

The ride to Lac du Bonnet with Scott as his Leadville nutrition test on August long weekend was a 234.5 km round trip piece of torture. Only my longest ride ever by 4.5km but definitely the hardest because if you know Scott, there ain't much draft there and we had to battle 40-50 km/hr winds on the return trip to Winnipeg. That ride was followed by 64km with Alter Ego on the Sunday and 92.5 km on Monday, partially with FOG (where my dead, done body after powering up the hills on Garvin finally said ENOUGH and I kept getting dropped, over and over and over) and partially just me and Jason C. crawling from Birds Hill Park to Lockport where we enjoyed a nice bacon and egger and a large coffee, and then back to the Legion.

Somewhere beyond the 200km mark as we stopped at the Half Moon in Lockport to fight off Massive Bonk #2 of the ride.  Wind burnt and salt-crusted.

Scott also looked awesome! And I must say, I can't say I knew Scott very well before this ride either and it was good getting to see another side of him as well.

And all this 2 days after a 4 hour torture session on the tattoo table with Andy for phase 2 of my mid-life crisis tattoo. Here is what the now finished product looks like.

I love the whole thing but my favourite part is that little leaf growing out of the chain up at the top right. 

My feeble attempt out at the Back 40 in Tinker Creek was pretty good evidence that I was fading. But that still wins for the best race outing of the summer with the Alter Ego trailer in tow. The laughs that were to be had with Adam and Dave and the wives. And Paul and Penny and "the other" Dave and Kevin. Can you say, ROAD TRIP? And we won't mention what happened in the bathroom at DJ's on the way back from Morden.. will we? What happens on the road trip, stays on the road trip.

Dave C. of course just being Dave

And then it was just a lot of racing. When you race that much, what do you peak for? From end of August to November I did 10 races: 8 cyclocross races, road provincials, and the Tinker Creek back 40. You simply can't be much better than average if you are going to race road, and mountain bike and Cross. I envy those that can. I'm not one of them.

And if we add the Portage stage race (3 races), the River Road Stage race (2 races), the Grand Beach mountain bike race, and the Wednesday night Burr Oak series (I did 2) that is 18 races for the year.

And look at this! Proof that in May, I could hang on a train pulled by Willem B. (Stefan Isfeld, photo)

I did no triathlon. I helped run the show out in St. Malo but the running thing was not working for me this year. The legs are not handling it. So I'm trying to find out what might happen if I lose the shoes and go barefoot or minimalist. I've had some moderate success. Stay tuned. I'm hopeful.

So what's on the agenda for next year?  Good question, but I'm open to suggestions. Money is a bit tight and I need to be careful about that. I would like to be able to run again. Is this a pipe dream? I think the best thing I can do to help my biking (and probably my running too) is lose 20 pounds. That's hard.

I've always wanted to ride my bike from Winnipeg to Kenora, maybe that will happen next summer.  I'd love to go back to California, but not without Don. Maybe I'll do the Penticton GranFondo again, but I hate doing the same thing twice.

I've contemplated riding my bike from Winnipeg to "Somewhere," as in a really long bike trip.  I have a friend in Hamilton, for example -- I even mapped out a theoretical route around the Great Lakes. But I don't want to go alone. Anyone else get the summer off??  Or at the very least... two weeks in August?

That's the wonderful thing about this sport, isn't it. The possibilities are endless.


Bob said...

Great recap Kim, holy crap that is a whole lot of kms. As you work on the barefoot running next year, I will be working on the biking, go figure (I am hoping to tri a Ironman in '13). So if you need any help with the running let me know and I would be honored to assist in anyway I can.

Lisa said...

I've often thought it would be "fun" to ride out to Kenora...maybe just maybe next summer it will happen...I'd need to put on more road *gasp* miles though...just a thought...

And I may be starting from scratch next year as my running has fallen off the radar. If you want running partner just let me know...

Kim said...

Thanks all!
@Bob... you know you are my main go-to when it comes to barefoot running. So you know who to make your main go-to about bikes right?

@Lisa... now that would be cool. Become best buds with coach Troy this winter and you'll be well on your way. Maybe we can organize some endurance rides in front of a movie some weekends too.

InsaneGreg said...

That was a good year for you!.. good luck beating it!

So you post that I better not delete again, yet you don't actually add me to your links? What kind of... so in so.

Oh, and enough talk of the running.. it's bad for you.

Kim said...

You told me to REMOVE the link.... back in... hmmm... I think it was January or February... right at the start of your "I'm definitely done for good this time" really LONG hiatus. So I did. Haven't put it back. I'm waiting for solid signs of permanence. So far it is looking good. But it was looking good in September when you bailed most recently too... ;-) (HA or I should say HAR!)

Running is not bad for you. We are Born to Run. Read the book. Excellent book.

InsaneGreg said...

fair enough.

word ver: BOOBER....!???

Kim said...

Subliminal message? Or it is reading your mind??? *shrugs*

christopher (@twistedxtian) said...

As someone that just started cycling this year, that was encouraging to read. You are a machine, and I hope to one day fit all of that into one summer/fall.

I raced my first cyclocross race this year (Mennocross) and was hooked. I bought a cyclocross bike and trainer and am so excited for next year. I'm also hoping to find people to ride on the road with too. Being new to this I'm loving finding people that inspire me to push myself, and this post adds you to that list. :)

Kim said...

Menno cross is one of the best races out there. It was my first race too.... in 2010 so It will always be carried in a soft place in my heart. Keep riding! Cross rules!