Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cyclocross National Championships 2015

On Thursday I really wasn't sure about turbo in the evening but I actually felt like it so off I went. I had a good session. Possibly too good but it put me in a good frame of mind.

I was woken up on Friday morning by cats and eventually relented and got them breakfast.  I ate my own then went back to bed.
When I got up I faffed with the bike and chains for a while then we set off for Wiltshire for an evening with the Smiffs.  Unfortunately this wasn't a great plan.  Although I had a lovely time, my brain was super-excited to be at their house and stayed awake till 2am to make the most of it. We got up at 5.

Andrew drove most of the way while I slept like a sack of potatoes in the passenger seat.  Even then I didn't get much sleep as the car was buffeted by high winds all the way there.

I slept in the car for a while,  waiting for the sun to come up and the rain to stop as promised.  When I had run out of exxuses I went to sign on.

I had a good place on the grid. Second row,  next to Lynn, inevitably Maddie fluffed her gears. I didn't go too fast off the front and planned for recuperation of places as the race went on. However, multiple pile ups left me defending an untenable position as I bounced Lynn back into the race and passed Liz Clayton with her chain dangling off.
Finally normality waa restored.  Lynn and I got comfortable,  liz got ahead and Ruth Gamwell, on fresh legs, disappeared into the distance.

The course steadily got tougher and less rideable,  less readable. I tried hard to catch Lynn but she started to pull away from me. Looking for every advantage I could,  I was probably trying to ride more than I should have been able and at the extreme of the course I tried to ride a section one-footed. Instead of the pedal rotating behind me and up, under load, it rotated back and up with no resistance.

After that my calf started to ache very definitely but,  me being stubborn as I am,  I could cope with Lynn getting away but I was not getting caught by the next place rider.

In retrospect, if I  had made a decision to back off I might have stood every chance of sprinting my way to the same position in perfect safety... but I didn't.
Instead of focusing on a rider I couldn't see behind me,  I focused on trying to stay with Lynn.  I looked at my watch,  dismayed to see I had only progressed 5 minutes since the last time check at 20 minutes.  I was wondering if sticking with my slightly shorter red bike would ease the calf pain.  I came out of the woods,  jumped off the bike and as I took that first powerful leap forward,  heard a hideous popping sound from my calf muscle and my leg imploded in pain.

I took two hobbles forward to try and get out of the way. Cramp shot through my lower leg and my foot turned inward in a nasty, contorted mess. I waited to see if the cramp would go and let me continue.  By then, TSK was running over,  concerned and a marshal came too. I tried to move to one side to get out of the way and it was a painful struggle. I couldn't move and had no choice but to wish my next competition well and tell her I would be ok.

TSK did as instructed and went to find me a coat while I hobbled back to the car.  I couldn't let my right leg fall back behind my left and instead pushed it ahead of me uncomfortably. The most productive thing I could do was throw it over the bike and pedal one footed to the car. I was overwhelmed by offers of help from lovely lovely people who I had never even met.

In the showers alone I had no towel so I changed, held my head for a bit then settled down to wait for someone to come and get me.

TSK went to wash bikes. I lay on the warm tile floor with my foot elevated and shivered. Claire arrived first and we had a chat as she had suffered a similar fate a few weeks earlier.  Eventually TSK returned and Claire and another rider physically carried me out of the door from whence my prince brought my chariot and we sat and shivered some more at people passing by.  I was gutted to miss the men's v40 racing but we decided to go to A&E (1st trip of 2015) so I could be repaired and go and support my girl friends on Sunday - making due use of the hotel room I had already paid for.

4 hours later we left A&E and went straight to our hotel and in to dinner after watching some crappy tv. It wasn't how I intended to finish the season but it was a pretty good steak for a Premier Inn and obviously the enforced rest that I need.
For 2015 I have already found out just how much training is too much training.

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