This is very bike racing focused. A lot has happened in 'life' as well, but this isn't the place for that.
Have to start with last year. In the last corner of the last night of a 3 week crit series late last June I went down in a crash pretty hard. 36 hours later I rode 205 miles or so from my house to Spooner, WI. That was dumb. I rode the next day too. Heck, I rode a crit two weeks after that and then again the next week. Anyways, I had broken my collarbone, a small bone in my hand and sustained a concussion. I didn't really realize that all at the time. Really only the concussion ever caught up with me anyways, the rest just sort of messed up my golf season an ability to reach into my jersey pocket with my left arm.
Ten weeks after that crash I went over the bars in a WORS race. I was riding in 6th or so at the time which was good for me in the Elite field. I finished 8th. I was 'ok' but didn't feel well training that week. I raced ok in the Filthy 50 the next weekend and finished 2nd but things weren't all great. I continued to develop additional symptoms. It got bad. I was eventually off the bike for 4 months. I gained weight, struggled with some things. My family was great. I was lucky I worked at home and could work when I felt good. There were times when I simply couldn't accomplish anything for days. Times when I couldn't sleep. Times when I couldn't remember the meal I had just eaten with my family.
By late February the haze had past. I've been riding hard ever since. I've learned some lessons and have changed a lot of my plans for this year to avoid risk when possible. I don't have any deep life lessons or opinions. It was a mistake to go on the long ride after the first crash, I wouldn't do that again. Racing can be a little dangerous, but everyone taking the line already knows this. I guess I hope if you are reading this you'll still be aggressive and race hard but respect the need for rest/recover/care when it comes to head injuries.
Since that time I've done my best to fight hard and get back to being able to ride well. It's been a struggle with losing the 12 lbs or so that I had gained. I've been lucky to have plenty of time to ride and I think I've taken advantage of that.
I desperately wish I could be racing crits and road but I know I need to recovery as fully as possible first and doubt I'm completely there. That means this spring/summer I really just had gravel races on the calendar.
Cirrem I surprised myself with a late surge from a few minutes back with 20 miles to go all the way to the front of the race with just one rider who pipped me at the line. I had been solidly dropped early on hills and this was a big surprise late
LML I struggled with climbing early again (the weight) and had to ride solo much of the middle of the race. Again, was able to push hard late and finish 2nd despite another strong field.
Ragnarok I kind of knew what to expect and was able to execute a plan based on the reality of my fitness and take the win for the 2nd year in a row.
After Ragnarok I actually started to do more than just pure base miles and by the time the Hungry Bear 100 rolled around I had lost 8 of those extra pounds and my climbing no longer was a total achilles heal. In fact, I was able to be agressive on the climbs. I flatted very late while off the front with Jesse L. and that robbed us both of finishing off what had already been a fun battle. I wound up 3rd despite taking nearly 7 minutes to change the flat and left feeling motivated and with momentum.
I haven't had any clear symptoms or issue for a few months now and I am very grateful for that!
Postcards are rolling in - A few handfuls of postcards have started to trickle in. I'll get them entered in hopefully by Sunday night and post up here so if you sent in a card you'll...
2 weeks ago