You can never stop looking for success. Never. You must always find little bits of fun in everything and that is success.
I just got back from the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy. I had a blast. I can’t say I saw much of the city which is a shame, but I had fun. I also had a blast riding my bike. The track there is a little weird. I can only describe it like a bowl. the steepest bits aren’t until you are fully into the turn. The straight-aways are super short but because the full steepness of the turn does not come right away I felt fully able to take my time starting. I was feeling great. Our bikes, well the majority, did not arrive until the morning of day two. So for the first day I got to ride a teammates bike. Thanks to jet lag I was awake when the truck showed up with all of the bikes. Unable to sleep I set out at 5 am to build my bikes. By 6 I was back in bed to get another couple hours of sleep. Going down to breakfast at 8am the first thing one of the coaches asked, “So did you build your bikes, cause I walked in the room and there they were. I was pretty sure that I was the first one down there.” I responded with, “What else do you do at 5 in the morning when you’ve been awake since 3:30?”
So with bike built I was able to go out on a group ride through the county side. The Italy country side after the thaw has occurred smells awful. The natural fertilizer is down right pungent. Despite the smell it was nice to be riding outside. We were then able to get onto the track in the afternoon. It was nice to be able to ride the track bike. Most of the others did their warmup on the road, where those visually impaired and those like myself who do better warming up on the rollers or trainers. The workout was nice, it was also nerve racking because it would be last workout before the first race.
Basically all I did for three days were recovery rides. Lots of time spent on the rollers in the basement just biding my time. It is tough just waiting. Trying to fill the time. Trying to keep the mind busy. I was able to time things well and did a lot of TV watching on the laptop. The Italian’s do know coffee so I was never without a good cappuccino. I am glad for that.
Race day came early though. As much as I was ready for it, I was not ready for it. Barb and I were on a 7 am bus ride to the track was a little early. Our event was the first one in the morning on Saturday. I was in the 4th heat against a Chinese gal that I have been racing against for the last couple of years. So if it could go wrong some how it did. I almost forgot my gloves, realized it while I was on deck. Next thing to go wrong was my rear wheel slipped during my start. So during the ride nothing went wrong, though I did scare my coach with a really, well not completely, slow starting lap. About one second slower then what I had been doing. I was then able to move straight into the schedule that I had been training in LA. Next thing to go wrong was quickly after getting off the bike find out that I just raced on a gear that was huge for me. 6 inches bigger. For those not in the cycling world that is huge. So now I have almost forgotten gloves, pulled a wheel, and rode the wrong gear. Not bad. The bright news was that I did a personal best by 4 seconds and qualified first. So that means I get to ride a second ride against a Spaniard who qualified second.
So for the afternoon I tried my best not to mess up this time. I remembered my gloves. I was under the assumption that I was on the right gear, and I got a little obsessive with every one making sure it was the gear that Craig, head coach, thought was appropriate. One of the hard things about finals is that you can’t dow the same thing you did in the morning for the afternoon. You are already fatigued from the morning and you have to manage your energy for the second ride. I was hard not to get on the road bike and do the normal warmup. I again gave all of my faith to Craig and basically did what he wanted me to do. I did a very short warmup with a couple of efforts and next thing you know I am back on the bike getting ready for the second ride. So this time I get off without a hitch. Another slow start but the next three laps were fast. I was almost scared that I had gone out to fast and that I would be able to hold onto it. I just yelled at myself in my head that I wasn’t going to loose because I went to fast. I did my all to chase her down. In the end it worked. I managed to set another personal best. Not to bad for my least favorite event.
Unfortunately riding two pr’s in one day seems to tax my system. I woke up the next morning feeling like poop. I knew that morning when I woke up I was going to have fight for everything in that 500m. I did my best under those conditions and not that I am not happy with my time I know that I can go faster with better conditioning and preparation for that type of situation. I will be ready next time.
After a good evening with the team we were off at 3:30am to the airport where it took the team a couple of hours to get checked. From there is was smooth sailing all the way back to my couch and TV. And that my friends was a successful trip. I had fun, I hurt, I cheered, I won, I had fun.