Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sick and Tired of Being Sick

I can't really call this a race blog this week. It's baaack. Whatever exotic strain of avian flu I've contracted, it's back in full force. I did actually take a day off work to go to the doctor. I've been on antibiotics for 3 days and feel even worse now. I got some nasal spray, too, and that might be helping a little. Anyways, you don't want to read about all that. So let me share what I've been doing OFF the bike lately.

Ward and I made a yummy breakfast after soaking up the extra hour of sleep this morning. We made omlettes with mushrooms sauteed in white wine and tarragon, parmesan cheese, and dill. I also reheated the roasted new potatoes with butter, parsley, and dill from last night's dinner, and toasted some ancient grain peasant bread I got at Whole Foods.

Then we went for a walk around Horn Pond, which we live alongside. (I will spare you from the details of how doing this made me hack and cough and feel so weak I couldn't even walk the whole way around.) I love the spot where we live! There are trails through the woods and the hill alongside the pond, perfect for a spin on the cross bike. People are always out walking with their kids and dogs, and benches line the shore, calling out to share a quiet reflective moment.

Ward and I are busy planning our first Thanksgiving together. We hope to host our families here at our house. We love to cook, and we've been trying out some possible recipes this weekend to see if they will make the cut for the dinner roster. As I type this, Ward's making his crust for a special harvest pie (roasted butternut squash with sugared pecans on top!), and I'm trying out the mashed root vegetables with buttermilk and chives for tonight's meal. Last night I made the green beans with toasted hazelnut lemon-butter, but I think I will add bacon on the big day. I only wish we could afford a dining table and chairs! But with a trip to IKEA at least we'll escape the possibility of paper plates. :)

I'd better feel well for next weekend. I'm starting to feel incredibly pent up, so look out!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

Here we are! "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Perhaps the melody of a festive tune from a old claymation holiday special lights up in your mind.... but NO! I'm not speaking of Christmas! It's cyclocross season, of course!

After battling with some ridiculous bronchial infection for several weeks and earning notariety as "influenza girl" (coined by RF in Maine, I was informed), I am finally feeling better. No longer can I be heard hacking phlem around the track.

The season recap to this point:

Raced Williston weekend sick. Made self sicker. Coughed and hacked and raced with a fever on Sunday. Perhaps not smart. As a racer, doesn't it seem like the hardest thing to do is NOT race?

Skipped the Northampton weekend. Spent 3 days knitting on the sofa with a fever and feeling like I'd contracted the bubonic plague. (Hence the new striped scarf you may see me don at the races.)

Gloucester!! I love this race! I hadn't ridden since the VT weekend, but I rode well and finished top 15 both days. despite my hacking, I felt good - just didn't have any endurance. Makes me think NOT training might make a good experiment... anyone else ever try that??

GLOUCESTAH and LOBSTAH! Two of my many favorite things. (and Ward... that makes three of my favorite things!!)
Do you like our bibs? =D

Let's see... after that was New Gloucester, Maine. (How many places in New England can be called Gloucester, anyway? The colonists weren't too creative.)
Luckily, this course wasn't as RIDICULOUSLY muddy as last year.
I didn't feel too hot. Earned the distinction of "influenza girl" by our esteemed race announcer when my hacking beckoned my arrival around the course. I didn't race up to my potential.

Finally, the cough began to dissipate in the next few days. Ward and I attended a family dinner at my brother's house on Friday night, but I still wanted to race Granogue. Oh, what an amazing spread of food and libation prepared by my bro's girlfriend's dad, who's a chef! It was after 10:30 by the time we finished the pumpkin, apple, AND pecan pies!!
Ward and I left central Mass for Delaware at 11:15 pm. We slept in the cab of his truck at a rest area in CT once our eyes were drooping beyond recovery. At 5:30 am, we awoke freezing and continued the drive. We hit the beautiful Granogue estate around 10:30 am. You know, searching for a roadside motel and bearing the ensuing cost just didn't seem worth the 5 hours we might spend asleep. We're unfortunately used to camping and sleeping roadside after the past summer's adventures.

So I didn't expect to have a great performance at Granogue. And a great performance I didn't have.
I felt like a fish out of water on my bike: timid and off-balance in my bike handling, and powerless everywhere except the road straight.

We salvaged the day having sushi with friends for dinner, and the ginger and sake recharged my soul! I had a good race Sunday, except for hitting the deck twice in the off-camber u-turn. That cost me a little time, but what held me back the most was that I didn't have a teriffic start. The first quarter of that course is very technical, and I needed to be riding top 5 through it, but I was further back than that. But I gave it what I could, felt good in terms of bike handling, and managed a top-10 result. I had fun racing. And that "spiral of death" was great! For a fleeting moment, it allowed you to feel you were catching the riders in front of you!

I have to say, THANKS for all the cheers!! I love hearing my name all around the course, from Maine to Delaware. I appreciate your support - it keeps me pushing hard through the pain. One day, I will find the other side.