Monday, August 20, 2012

Soul Trauma

Today was hard -- like the kind of hard that makes bike racers shudder. Hard for everyone, and hard all day. Days like today leave a mark. I think my soul suffered a mild trauma. But it's not just the race, it's the fact that it's our biggest race, and it's our final race. It's the USA Pro Challenge, and there's nothing else like it in the country.

Bullet points should suffice here:

  • wake up rudely from above-par dreams
  • amble to dining hall at Fort Lewis College, consume ~1800 calorie breakfast
  • chat jovially with teammates, staff, and competitors
  • return to prison-cell of a dorm room and flick on computer
  • discover large problem in personal finance
  • stress
  • realize good mood rapidly deteriorating
  • solve problem in personal finance, experience gratitude for good friends -- no -- amazing friends
  • don spandex, apply sun lotion and chamois cream, pack pockets with food
  • sign in, sign autographs, answer questions from Dave Towle
  • experience nausea
  • stress
  • sit around nervous beyond belief, tap feet neurotically
  • seriously consider pulling a Fojo
  • commiserate with mechanic about how, with only one race left in the season, we can't actually pull a Fojo
  • experience nausea
  • stress
  • finally line up for the race, chat with fans, experience sublime relief when gun finally goes off
  • marvel at quantity and enthusiasm of fans -- this race is unlike any other in the country
  • work way towards front, consider attacking from 0k
  • look up the road and realize we're already climbing up to Ft. Lewis -- nasty climb
  • change mind about attacking
  • "holy shit it's going bonkers up there -- good thing I'm near the front -- at least I've got some room to backslide"
  • begin to suffer, bad
  • throw up in mouth a little
  • look at Garmin (distance: 2 miles)
  • exit Durango, start suffering even worse
  • lose contact with peloton on uncategorized climb out of town
  • come completely unglued, enter survival mode (distance: 12 miles)
  • experience numbness in lips and cheeks -- a sensation normally experienced rarely, and (prior to today) only during sexual climax 
  • slide extremely far back through caravan, express desire to die quick death to assistant director in second caravan car
  • realize that I might be ending my USA Pro Challenge right here, right now, fifteen miles into the race
  • suffer
  • suffer more
  • congeal with other racers in similar, hateful, state
  • join forces, finally claw way back to peloton
  • experience astonishment ("I made it back!"), gratitude ("I'm still in the race!"), and dread ("we still have 100 miles to go!")
  • assess situation: large powerful breakaway of twenty-two riders already five minutes up the road, but most GC favorites still in peloton
  • gasp in horror as legitimate chase begins -- implication: today's pace shall be ungodly fast the whole time
  • fetch bottles, work for teammates, do job, even enjoy myself a little
  • curse rain gods
  • fight for position with Freddie and Andres until I pop, ride it in with the groupetto
  • finish race fifteen minutes down
  • roll to trailer, hand off bike to mechanic
  • throw massive temper tantrum when director tells me I have to get back on my bike and ride to lodging "I've been spinning my legs out for a long time Tad -- my ass hurts, I feel awful, and I DON'T WANT TO GET ON MY BY BIKE AGAIN!"
  • realize I just completely lost control in front of my director, teammates, and staff
  • hide in trailer, pull self together, apologize to director
  • get in car, drive to charming Telluride cottage
  • lie down, eat food, get massage, feel much better
  • turn on computer, type blog post, encounter following video: 


Seth said...

Sam, this is THE BEST post ever. One side note: Watching you roll in on TourTracker you made all those 120lb Italians in their rain jackets look like wusses with your jersey half zipped down. We're cheering you on from Boise!

byrongostop said...

ohmahgah, I love this, and I love you :) Thank you for living. It makes my world and the world so much brighter. :)

Mysha said...

I agree with Seth. BEST POST EVER! You make agony look GOOD!

Dessa said...

you'll live to fight another day

Ness said...

I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth while reading this post.

cycloid said...

Big caveman—big heart—big soul—big race! Go Sam, go!

Craig U said...

Proud to know u. Brings back memories, super great post. U r a god.

Unknown said...

Love this. It is exactly how I imagined bike racing might be.

Unknown said...

BRILLIANT post. Thank you for sharing!!!