Sunday, October 23, 2011

spinning wheels

The thing about tattoos is that they're permanent. I know this, obviously, but there were several massive exposures to full-exposed skin this summer (beaches, festivals, long long hours in men's sauna at the club). LOTS of really questionable 'personalized expressions of character & identity.' And that's coming from me...

I wish I'd had courage/vanity/?? to go full back on my first Blake back piece--except, I didn't know at the time the limits of the artist working on it. Having spent/wasted enough time in a range of ink shops, with a range of needle-wielders & artists, it's only late in the game (ie, too late for do-overs) that I truly understood the range of skills involved. Fortunately, none of my eagles look more like angry chickens, but still. I'm glad I've found some good workers over time.

Annie's been home nearly three weeks and the house thrums along nicely. In fairness, we all managed well when she was in Philly: she didn't crack for missing us; we proceeded apace. It's a testament to the kids' stability, I think.

Between some doubled-down parenting duties from mid-Aug until early October, I shelved the 'in season' cyclocross training. Which doesn't mean much, given I'm a neophyte across the board. It's really clear I need to gain more confidence w/ my bike-handling skills AND gain more skills bike handling to increase my confidence. In the meantime, I'm wary and tense, which makes me more likely to mess up. I'm realistic about gravity, age, skill, etc, so I'm not gnashing my teeth about the lost training time, but I'm VERY aware of how self-conscious I've felt about trying to push to get up to skill-speed (when it's deeply lacking). Mountain biking is supposed to be great for developing skills--except it comes with roots, rocks, ruts, trees, cliffs, etc, and the accompanying hazards of falling on such things.

The MRSA infection pretty much crushed my cx 'season'--though it's cleared up almost wholly and I'm able to ride around w/o pain, or fear of rupturing the tender, healing skin. Still, it's late to thrust myself into races where everyone else, even those w/ my skill level (true beginners), has been racing for several weeks/months.

This was to be my weekend debut. Except we had a conflict Sat morning & I didn't get off shift in time to make it to Jackson Meadows for the 0930 start. Fine, I said, I'll double-down Sunday, the excellent Green Acres race then Bandit Cross in the woods. Except I woke up at 0700 and realized I was sore, tired, and beat-up/down from two poor-sleep work shifts. I wasn't feeling like moving much, let alone racing, by 0800, when I needed to leave to get there in time. Too, I didn't feel like racing then coming home before going back to see friends race the big kid levels. Too long a gap between Cat4 and the rest. If I'd been racing more, I might be willing to get my ass kicked in 45+ but there's been scuttlebutt about the plague of old, slow newbies clogging the masters' courses. I label myself guilty w/o having saddled up. Because I would be that plagueing clog.

So I shelved the early race and contented myself w/ hanging in the house w/ the girls--which is ALWAYS a good time. I tinkered w/ my bike, which is ALWAYS a risky dumb thing to do before attempting to ride it... I headed down to the Falls for the Bandit race; the bike held up--my minor tinkering wasn't hazardous, for once. A good amount of folks showed, the sun showed; good stuff. Jeff had created a challenging course.

We rode the path, gathered at a central spot, then rode a practice lap. The rocky, rutted descents were more technical than I was comfortable with, to be honest. Or, after I did them twice, I felt wary but somewhat all right about them--though there was very real chance of mis-hitting one and endo-ing into trees or off the path. What got me worried was a. my own paltry skill; on single track, with folks trying to race, one yahoo who has no skills becomes a hazard for many and a problem on the course; b. even if I could muster courage and skill to stay upright or out of the way, there were several younger guys without more skill than I had but far more speed and youth. I worried about getting nailed by one of them.

A household issue texted in as we were prepping to race, and it was w/o much sadness I turned for home. The majority of the course was awesome, but the rough patches gave me pause. I've had to burn enough sick time (w/ the bike-fall shoulder two years ago, and miscellaneous child care, plus some coverage w/ Annie's trip) that I don't have much to spare. Hard to explain why I mangled myself on a rocky, rutted course when I haven't been riding off road at all. That's called DUMB.

So much for my grand debut weekend...
I do have more desire to get out and suck in the crits next season, and at the track, and on gravel. So many different ways to suck and have fun!
Great to see Mr & Mrs Velo out there today, and Brandon K; Martin, Ian, Alix of LGR represented far better than I did; Jeff is a gem. And all the others I don't know well. Good times in the woods, avoiding football foolishness.

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