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Hurts so good.

June 15, 2016

Tuesday night was the second night of track racing I’ve done since the January 12th crash. I raced for the first time on May 24th, which was also the first time I’d even been on the track- at all- in over a year. As they say, “it’s just like riding a bike.” They also say, “go fast, turn left, don’t stop pedaling.” And in my case, they also say, “DON’T CRASH AGAIN!” Thankfully, I can report that all of that came true.

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I’m a long way from being fully recovered, especially in terms of overall fitness. The wrist, though improving, is still the biggest limiter. The range of motion still has a lot of improvement to be made, and it still hurts like hell when I put enough weight on it, or move it “just right.” When down in the drops, and out of the saddle sprinting, the wrist hollers at me from time to time. There was one spot during the 10 Lap Tempo race last night, as I was getting jettisoned out the back and trying to latch back on, when I stood up to put in an acceleration … and the wrist was having none of it. Truth be told, my legs had given up the previous lap, so I just rolled off the track for a DNF.

The victory, for me, is that I am even on the track at all. I’m a long way away from being anywhere near the same level of fitness I had on the day of the crash in January, and even further away from the shape I need to be in for Masters Track Worlds in 2017/ 2018 … but I’m making an effort to get back there, no matter how much it hurts.

Returning to the track is as much about returning to my family, as it is about returning to competition. I’ve raced on the track since about 1992- a beginner, compared to many of my friends on the track- and it has become very much a home for me. The riders change from year to year, but many remain the same- that’s the nature of track, it seems. And after a year away from the track, and more injuries, I was able to ride a few laps to remember the sensations of the track- immediately feeling at home again, among my friends.

The racing was fast enough to be painful, and prove that I have no top-end speed currently. After spending all my recovery time after the crash and surgery riding either my fixed gear road bike, or my TT bike (because the Masi road frame and fork were cracked in the crash), I’m pretty much always riding at a very steady speed … not exactly what track racing is all about, unless you’re racing a Pursuit (or attempting the Hour Record). The first race I did in May seemed to go “ok” enough, but I felt a little under-geared (51×15 on 165 arms), so I thought I’d bump it up to the 52t and see what happened. Short cut; it was too big. That 2″ of bigger gear was enough to keep me feeling bogged down. It was great once up to speed, but everything in between was painful. Back to the 51t next week. For the final 36 lap Points Race, I pretty much got the gear up to speed and rolled. With the sprints coming every six laps, and a few primes tossed in, the pace was fast, but I managed to roll back into the mix after each sprint lap, keeping the pace between the sprints relatively high … because it was the ONE speed I could maintain. I ended up getting points in the last two sprints, but was just happy to finish the full 36 laps. So there was that …

To paraphrase the Office Space soundtrack… “damn it feels good to be a gangster” …

I can’t declare that “I’m back”, but I can proclaim that I am not dead yet. #yet

Tim

PS- shameless promotion … preorder window for the #hugeinjapan Sugar Kits closes on Friday, June 24th. 

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