After last week’s successful reintroduction to training, I was sufficiently feeling the itch to race. Everyone was off in Arkansas and there was a little race in Indy that I thought I might go check out. I went and pinned a number for only the 4th time this season. I got to test the legs and was by no means sharp, but I didn’t feel stricken with the devil virus either. I drove home Saturday night and sat around for a bit, then I got a phone call from some of my friends who were down in the Brasstown Bald area of N Georgia, doing a little cycling slash bro-ing out. They invited me down, so I hopped in the car almost immediately and drove down. I got in to the cabin around 4am and got a small handful of hours of shut-eye. We went for a nice 3+ hour ride with some good climbing at everyone’s own personal pace. I tried to open the throttle up a bit, in hopes of relocating my fitness. I felt ok again and not like I had gone amazingly deep, but just gotten a good sting in the legs.
Monday I set out to do Brasstown Bald and some other good climbs. I had plans for a big day and some serious time in the hurt box. Well I didn’t even get to the entrance to the park where The Bald resides before I knew it wasn’t to be. I was only pushing 240 watts up the moderate climb leading up to the park, about the minimum you could put out to keep going forward. 240 watts woulda been fine warm up effort if my heart rate had been where it was supposed to be. Instead my heart rate was above LT while my watts were so puny. I knew the truth of what was going on, but I couldn’t stomach the reality. I climbed the steeper grades of The Bald for about 10 minutes with my heart rate hovering at around 190 bpm. I felt like Joe Catfive just trying to make it to the top so I could take a picture and say I had done it. Soon, common sense kicked in and I pulled over and rested my head on my handlebars. I turned my bike perpendicular to the road so it wasn’t facing down or up. I had a nice 5 minute battle with myself. Up meant more climbing, but not giving up on the chance that my legs just needed more time to warm up and they would “come around”. Down meant I was giving into the reality that I wasn’t over F!@#$!ng MONO. I knew what I needed to do, but could hardly bring myself to do it. I finally made the smart decision and started the cold coast down the mountainside, where the chill of my sweat was nothing compared to the mental anguish over the thought of more missed racing. And to top it all off, I had a nice little 5 mile climb back up to the cabin before I could ghost ride my bike off the side of the mountain. I honestly just wanted to cry. I know things could always be worse, but I was having a hard time believing that.
Chapter Eleven… Sorry this is turning into such a novel, I’ve just got a lot to say (for once). Anyway, once I got back to the cabin, the guys were still down at the winery enjoying their day off. I took a quick shower, packed my crap, wrote them a quick note telling them why I was leaving and hit the road. It was a seriously miserable drive home with everything I had running through my mind.
Fast Forward to today. I met with a sports physician at the Methodist Sports Medicine Clinic to figure out what the deal was and to help me formulate a plan for my comeback (kinda like Lance…).This doctor actually understood the level at which I am trying to train and compete. He answered all my questions and got me started down the right road to a full recovery.
He basically explained that now that I have had mono, I’m going to be a bit like a battery; only for the next few months my battery is going to be really easy to run down, like I did in Georgia. So I have to be careful not to give it too big of a workload while I’m trying to fully recover. He said it will be maybe 2 or even 3 months before I’m back to full strength. So in the mean time I can race, but maybe only once a weekend for now. Then in a few more weeks try 2 times in a weekend and so on. I just have to be in full on recovery mode after I stress my body on the weekends. So yeah it sucks, but there isn’t a whole lot I can do. I’m going to try to be positive. I’m going to try to be positive. I’m going to try to be positive.
I also got an awesome tour of Zipp today, but since this is already my longest post ever, I think I’ll wait for a bit to tell you guys about that. And I signed a confidentiality agreement… so don’t expect too many juicy secrets.