Tuesday, February 26, 2008

doctor's orders

After two plus weeks of being dog-sick, I finally went to the doctor last Wednesday. The verdict (as I expected) was that I'd had the flu and currently had strep throat. A course of penicillin and I should be good as new.....in 3-4 weeks she said....not the type of news an athlete wants to hear.

Of course, the first team race of the season was Snelling. This was also our first Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Program race.

What to do, what to do?

The doctor had asked me not to race. Okay, she told me not to race. We had discussed all the pros and cons, my business commitments, etc. I discussed this with the team. I turned it over in my head. I chatted about it with my best friend and advisor. And I still didn't know what to do.

In the end, I decided I would get my girls to the line. We've got a handful of new racers this year and I thought it was important to be there to support them. I decided that I would ride the promenade and then pull off.

Of course, once you get that competitive itch, it's hard too just turn it off.

We rode the five-mile promenade, me in my favored position (1st wheel), with Tanya next to me and Sarah and Dana in the row behind and Kim and Lala a bit further back. We kept the pace fast enough to be safe but slow enough to be civil and give folks a chance to warm-up again.

As the motor signalled the end of the promenade, two racers tried to attack, but really just rolled to the front and pushed the pace. Within seconds, we were strung out single file at 26mph, women fighting to stay attached. The selection was made immediately, with at least half of the women not making the cut. Sheesh! I found myself slipping back but I'd decided I wanted to stay in the game. Twice I tried to advance into the wind and felt myself moving backwards. I finally popped at the feed zone, thinking my mad skillz would allow me to catch up on that right-left descent. No dice.

The pack ahead was completely strung out and I could see individual riders popping every few meters. I caught up to a teammate but she was too blown to sit on my wheel, so after making sure it was okay to go ahead without her, I continued chasing. The pack (or line as it were) was just within sight but I couldn't reach them.

Finally, on bumpy Figmund, when I got pushed off the road by the E3s (and stayed upright in the mud), I decided I'd had enough fun by myself that day. I turned around to find my three teammates who somewhere were behind me.

They had picked up another girl and seemed to have a functioning paceline going. I rolled back to chat with one who had dropped back just a bit. I could see it in her face immediately -- she was done.

I had decided that if I had gotten to the line alone on the first lap, I was done. If I could find a functioning group, I might consider finishing. But after all these years, I don't need to finish a race if I'm out of the mix just to finish it, especially if it might compromise my health. So, the decision was made -- I was done and I'd stay at the finish to cheer on my teammates.

At the end of lap two, two of my girls were still in the lead pack -- yeah! And two were just a few minutes behind, working in a little group of three.

At the end of lap three (the finishing lap), a group of four sprinted for the win (with no Velo Girls in sight). But Lala finished just behind with the remains of the lead pack (top ten), and Tanya (with her saddle nose pointing up to the sky) finished a few minutes later. Sarah and Dana (both nursing cold/flu/strep/ick) finished with another racer a few minutes later.

All in all, a great, fun, bonding weekend and a fabulous race, marking the beginning of what promises to be a spectacular season!

And big thanks to George M. from ICCC (one of the race officials) who let me wear one of his jackets to stay warm at the finish line while I was spectating.

I'll post my photos on the Velo Girls gallery soon. In the interim, some photos are posted here:

Rick's Photos

Lorri's Photos on Facebook


CyclistRick said...

Great job out there. We knew you were a bit under the weather (appropriate term considering the actual weather conditions). My own opinion is if you are out of the mix you weigh the pros and cons of continuing; being on the recovery path and the possible implications of pushing too far is a big push towards throwing in the towel and leaving some fight for another day. I think you made a wise choice.

velogirl said...

thanks, Rick! and thank you for all your support this weekend for the entire team, even though you were out there doing your first big race, too! I'm glad you had a good (albeit epic) experience and I look forward to seeing you at Menlo Park if not before.

TreBone said...

As a fellow illness survivor, I can share in your pain. Hopefully you're feeling better.

chatterbox said...

Good report. We all had a great time out there!

Hopefully you'll have the crud kicked really soon.

Dawn said...

Sounds like a wonderful first day back from illness. You never cease to amaze me!