Old Man Bones

Keeping the Rickety Equipment Running After a Late Start

Racing bikes is hard.

Of course, it should be or it would not be a satisfying challenge. On top of the race itself, you've got pre-dawn workouts, dealing with the whole weight-loss/nutrition calculus, juggling race/workout/family/work schedules, bike maintenance... the list goes on and on.

But for me, the most difficult issue to deal with is the fact that I started racing last year at age 49. You see, my mind plays this trick on me when I saddle up: it lets me think I'm 40 or even on good days, 30 years old. Love that feeling!

The thing is, after a little time, my body always has it's say and finds some way of reminding me that I've been around for half a century. Usually, it manifests itself in comparatively benign ways such as finding myself dropped by my younger, stronger brethren or a little creakiness in the morning. After some rest, my mind and body reset and I can once again regain that fountain of youth feeling the next time I get on my bike.

I never use my age as an excuse for poor performance: I always feel like whatever shortcomings I have are ones that can be overcome with training or experience. I'll admit, I do tease a bit when I manage to beat a "youngster" up a climb or on a town-line sprint.

Injuries I've sustained up to this point have been the kind any cyclist could face, regardless of age: road rash, bruises, a separated shoulder, run-of-the-mill soreness.

This time, I think it might be different.

Last week, after finishing atQuadCross, I had a little back pain - no more than I have after other major exertions under race conditions such as I did at Battenkill. I did have that one small spill in the race, did I hurt myself worse than I thought?

I stayed off the bike Monday and Tuesday but had a location shoot Tuesday that required a lot of hauling of heavy gear and being on my feet all day - not very helpful for healing.

As the week progressed and particularly after this past Wednesday's Minuteman Road Club CX Training Race, the pain became more focused near my right hip and, at times, I could feel pain down the right side of my leg and along my calf. Walking normally became difficult.

I started to worry whether I would be racing on the weekend at Green Mountain.

I awoke Friday morning with the plan to do an hour spin on the trainer to make sure everything was working but could barely achieve 75 rpm for a couple of minutes - it hurt THAT BAD.

Pinched nerve? Inflamed hip labrum? Beats me.

I knew right then I was out for racing today. Very frustrating: mentally, I have been so eager to race that all the difficulties that surround training have been inconsequential and easy to overcome but being hurt like this is a major setback.

Seeing the doc on Tuesday to hopefully get a definitive answer as to what is going on. I don't want him to tell me to slow down.

I can't.

I won't.

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