New England Worlds – Kinda Sorta

I had really been looking forward to racing at “New England Worlds” aka “Gloucester” all season. But sadly it is not to be. Those tests I had done earlier in the week revealed some additional health issues that I need to sort out in order to be healthy. I’ve learned that I’m really just getting by thanks to my fitness and cycling-determination…. Once again a testament to how living a healthy and active lifestyle can keep you out of the hospital and living a full life. Problem is, that as a result of the ulcerative colitis flare, I’ve developed a pretty severe bout of anemia coupled with a too low hemoglobin/red blood cell count. This explains a lot. In a strange way it is a relief. This news explains why each race this year has been a struggle.

How am I feeling? Well, in a way, relieved – now we know what is going on. But in another way, I’m damn mad. I’m downright angry. Why does happen to me? Why do those people who eat poorly, don’t exercise and quite frankly treat their bodies like garbage disposals, manage to avoid the problems I’m having? Some days I feel like pulling up to the nearest golden arches and hunkering down to a Big Mac, large fries, and chocolate shake. But I don’t. And I won’t. Because that is not the attitude that got me here.

Got me here to this place where I’m surrounded by super friends and sponsors. Friends who cheer for me no matter how I’m riding. Friends who encourage me every step of the way. Friends who when I’ve cracked, have been quick to send emails and post comments reminding me to keep chasing the dream. Friends who know what it is like. Sponsors who were there in the beginning when I was transitioning into elite racing. Sponsors who believed in me to provide me with bikes, clothing, food, shoes, helmets, travel and living support. Sponsors who know that I’ve got lots of great races left in me. (Do yourself a favor and check out my sponsors – some top-notch products and people. Overwhelmed would be the appropriate word.)

I’ve had a few pity parties for myself this season. Wondering what is going on. Why can’t I ride like I did last year? I even asked myself if I still wanted it? And the answer: Yes I want it. Yes, I will be racing at the World Champs in St. Wendel, Germany. Yes, I know I can compete with the best. Yes, I know I’m stronger and smarter than this time last year. Yes. Yes. Yes.

So this weekend there will be no racing for me. I’ll be cheering on my favorite guy. Doing whatever he needs to ensure he has two excellent races. Gloucester is a special place for us. This is the first race we traveled to outside of Canada. This is the first time I stood in the pits. This is the first time I saw the elite women whiz by and wished I could be like them. Gloucester is the first time I stood on the podium. Gloucester is where we were bitten by the ‘cross bug. Can’t hardly wait to get there. If you see me in the pits or roaming around, stop me and say “hello”. Looking forward to a great weekend of racing, cheering, friends, and hanging out.

Roller Coaster

I feel like I’m in the middle of roller coaster season rather than cyclo-cross season. Roller coaster basically sums up how things have been going so far. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time and clicking over to read my race reports, you can most likely understand why. But just like any respectable roller coaster, my cyclo-cross season is having some solid moments of ups with its downs.

Seems though that these ups are happening when I’m not racing. The ups are happening when I’m cheering on Marc, watching my friends race hard and succeed, and when I’m helping people learn new cyclo-cross skills. Such was the scene this evening. Tonight I helped out the OBC and held a session for a small group of kids/teenagers. In total we had five kids/teenagers all with a range of racing and cyclo-cross experience. A good little bunch of kiddos eager to learn and definitely willing to attempt to rip my legs off. Thanks to Marc and Conor for demonstrating skills and for providing their expert opinions, we had a really good session. Things were kept pretty basic with the focus being on the “dismount – mount” sequence. By the end of the 90 minutes all of these young racers were getting off and on their bikes very smoothly. We played some follow the leader at the end and I was impressed with the creativity the kiddos demonstrated with the route! All in all, a great night of helping out the future of the sport and seeing people thrive. Definitely an up on this roller coaster.

Training wise, well really I haven’t been able to do anything this week. Monday was consumed with preparing for the endoscopy and colonoscopy and then Tuesday was quite literally swallowed and sucked up with these two procedures. My 11 a.m. appointment ended up being at 2:30 – so I was at the hospital from 10 until 4:30… Not like I had the energy or desire to get on a bike when I got home. The only thing I really wanted to do was eat! I hadn’t eaten any solid food since Sunday night and really jello and popsicles don’t count as food…. I took it easy today as well – my body basically had no food left in it so I really just needed to rest and eat. The eating part I don’t mind, but resting is hard. Good news is that we’ve already got some results back. So tomorrow I’m back to the hospital for some additional procedures that will hopefully make a difference. By next week we’ll know even more and keeping my fingers crossed we find out what to do to put this ulcerative colitis to rest (at least until Feb. 1…). So another up on the roller coaster.

Of course the biggest up on the roller coaster is yet to come… It is of course: Gloucester! There is no place quite like Gloucester. Great race course. Solid fans. Excellent organization. Beautiful location. Just a great spot for some cyclo-cross racing. My focus is on having this weekend be full of ups as well. Positive mindset – anything can happen and in my visions, only good things are going to happen. Looking forward to racing, hanging out with our super hosts Mike and Cathy, cheering on Marc, Steve, Conor, Karl, Evan and the rest of the Ottawa crew who is making the drive down, hopefully catching up with Erik B., and just generally enjoying be out on my bicycle.

As the new favorite shirt says:
Do What You Like. Like What You Do.