Today was the Amesbury, MA cyclocross race! Today was the season opener before next week's season opener at Suckerbrook. The morning's heavy rain let up by our 2 pm start, so the mucky spots on the course grew tacky as the race progressed. Lots of damp tree roots lurked in the woodsy sections. No big mud, which I regard with mild disappointment. I need mud practice and the warm rain felt good. I really enjoyed the course, it had a good variety of terrain and challenge, and good "flow," too. It was great to see so many friends and acquaintances again, once of the reasons I love this sport so much.
At the start, Mo and Amy jumped out ahead. I had no snap in my legs to get a good jump, but I wasn't worried about being in third position. Mo basically rode away. She appears strong and poised for a
great season. I wasn't worried about staying with her because I knew that today I was out to ride my own race. Amy and I stayed together for at least the first lap. But like I said, I wasn't really racing against them today. Today I was racing [against] my body. I finished second, and I don't think I have ever been happier to finish second. I was happy just to be riding my bike at all.
As I pushed and suffered around the course, I heard so many voices cheering me on. Riding past them, I thought about how none of them knew that just 7 days prior, I was lying in a hospital bed, unable to eat or even drink. I had a food blockage last weekend, a result of my Crohn's, but indirectly so. I did not eat for 4 days and lost 5-6 pounds. I have had 6 surgeries in the last 10 years, resulting in a lot of scar tissue in between and around my intestine. My intestines are now catching on this scarring, and kinking, causing complete blockage and enough
damage to the tissue that I could perforate the bowel. There is no warning that the kinking might occur.
So my competition on the course today came from within. I would be insincere if I were to deny that I harbor a certain amount of anger against my body. Today my legs felt incredibly weak, and my own body is the cause. Before last weekend, I felt very strong and in a good "groove" with my training and mental focus. I worked hard for that, and I feel robbed. I'm determined to get all my strength back and more. This isn't a ploy for sympathy, or to say that I am deserving of any special treatment - almost everyone has something they have to deal with, emotionally or physically.
I just wanted to tell my story.
See you at the races next weekend.
Thanks to Geoff Martin for the fabulous pictures!