For those athletes that don’t enjoy time off the bike that time tends to get mandated by circumstances out of their control. With a full fall of cycloross and a full spring of mountain biking, mid-summer is typically when I get a bit of a break. Even then sometimes the trails are calling or the weather is just perfect and I can’t quite bring myself to stay off the bike. This round with a cracked rib and then an unrelated course of antibiotics I found myself happily (but rather guiltily) avoiding training.
There were still plenty of activities to partake in and as someone who generally rides and trains solo, I was very much enjoying a rare taste for the social aspect of self-propelled machines with two wheels. I coach a local juniors program, partook in bike to work day (that counts if you are working at home, right?!), set the pace for a friend to PR our local hill climb challenge, went to see fireworks, joined “Lookout week” for ridiculously early morning laps that ended with in town coffee stops, commuted across town for further away trail head meetings with the kids, and had evening spin outs to the local breweries.
My conclusion to this week of spending time with friends while on bicycles was that I love my community and even though I’m away for a good portion of the year I’ve chosen the right place to settle down. Further proof was found when I finally addressed the abscessed tooth from my broken face crash a few years back. I never took care of the tooth because it wasn’t an outwardly obvious issue (my dentists would care to disagree) and the exuberant costs of getting it fixed. Even with insurance the cost was daunting but I determined the time was finally here as I was becoming increasingly aware of something not right going on in my face. The specialty dentist I was referred to chatted me up about his bike riding stating he was one of the slow guys that had a go at the Lookout climb a few times a week and did I know his friend (my neighbor). Irony has it that we had become better acquainted just that week and when I mentioned after how the appointment had went and that the cost was a shock even to my being prepared for it, I was the recipient of a phone call from the dental office telling me they were going to forgive the cost of the visit. I view money as a necessary evil, I don’t have an abundance of it as a professional bike racer but to reduce the stress on me of how I was going to manage to cover that cost is huge.
After about a month of unfocused riding and well into my root canal induced course of antibiotics I jumped in for the women’s duo at the fourth of July tradition Firecracker 50 race in Breckenridge. The race went okay, I wasn’t too far behind the leader in my wave during the first lap but I sure couldn’t put out the watts to make magic happen. This frustration was sidelined by the relief at feeling comfortable handling the bike on the trails again after some time of recoiling from the use of any body part connected to the broken rib (read: most of them). Personally the team format race is a much more enjoyable concept in mountain bike racing as it adds the urgency and desire to do your best not just for yourself but for your partner and your collective result. We managed a podium which I am grateful for but I am even more grateful to get my enthusiasm to train back.