Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making trades

When you're a kid, your baseball card collection says a lot about you. If everything is messily thrown into a shoebox, you don't have much respect for the cards. There is much to respect about baseball cards: Their glossy faces, sharp edges, and crisp colors ; their statistics and pictures ; and their symbolism. Baseball cards represent a passion for something. They represent a deeper connection with something as simple as a sport. They allow for kids to be part of the game. If your baseball card collection is organized into folders and sleeves, categorized by alphabet or team, player or position, you have respect for the game and for the cards. And if you didn't have baseball cards, that meant that you had friends. Kidding. What do your cards represent?

At JMSR I crashed. This is not new news, but a type of news that you already knew (I just wanted to say new knew news nooze). I was pretty messed up, but did the 115 mile race the next day (also crashed again). The following morning I tried to race the crit, but it was too much. I needed to breathe, and I could not.

I found out yesterday that I have two broken ribs, a bruised lung, and a bruised/maybe broken sternum. Until about one hour ago, I was planning on racing the Dana Point GP in California this Sunday. I went riding, did an interval, crushed the watts, raised the heart rate.... then promptly stopped doing intervals.

I'd like to think that I'm pretty tough. One time in P.E class in school I broke my toe in a violent soccer collision with the class nerd and CONTINUED PLAYING! Then I walked home, went to the hospital, followed by several weeks spent walking around in a boot. This might have been the day that I decided hospital visits are for sissies*. What I'm getting at with this story is that metaphorically, bike racing is nothing but P.E. soccer. Really though, bike racing is the greatest thing ever. It's just like when you go to school with the sole purpose of getting to play dodgeball in gym class. And to eat a spicy chicken burger in the school cafeteria. I figured that shit, if I can deal with the pain, I can do the bike racing thing.

*I don't condone this behavior

Four minutes into my first five minute interval of my ride today, I was riding where I should be power wise. I was stomping the pedals, but a strange sensation was creeping through my body. Starting in my lips, resting in my chest, crawling down my back and towards my toes, and circulating back to tighten slowly, strongly and sharply in my chestal region. I coughed and spewed this away, trying to overcome the inevitable. My legs felt strong, and I celebrated the snot running out of my nose, dripping down my face and over my shoulders like a bulldog drooling before a huge feast. I haven't been able to blow my nose in several days because of, the ya know, the ribs.  As my heart rate climbed (strangely enough the breathing pain increased with every increase of BPM , hmm) I prepared myself for the final 30 seconds of the interval- an all out sprint till failure. I tend to pull hard on my right hand first as I'm getting out of the saddle. This is similar to an archer pulling back the string on their bow. If you pull that string with the right hand, you will always pull with that right hand. I took 1.8 pedal strokes and sat down, calling the interval off.

I hate exaggeration. Which is why I'm not going to tell you about how I spent the next several minutes of my ride looking for bullet wounds in my body from what I'm sure was a drive-by shooting. Short story short, I could not do any sprinting, nor any accelerating. Long story short, 20 minutes after my ride I felt worse than I did before riding.

If you're wondering, my baseball cards were sleeved, foldered, and sorted by position. Within each position, I organized the cards by my favorite player in that sub-topic. Organization within organization. Snacks on snacks. Baseball cards and the sport of baseball were my life as a u-13 year old. Now, bike racing is my life. I didn't keep my cards in a shoebox, because I loved the sport. Now I don't have folders or sleeves, organization methods and favorite players, but I do have a similar respect.

Sure, I could go to Dana Point. I could deal with the pain, I could sit in and let the race happen around me (something I hate), and I could try and do some form of seated gimp sprint for 20th. I would be no help to my teammates, I would be no factor in the race, and I would not feel good about my performance. I love bike racing. I want next weekend, and the weekends following that to be bike races. Not fast bike rides with groups. It sucks to pull the plug on a race that I was looking forward too, but out of respect for the sport and for my body, I'm going to stay home. And sleep.

I don't actually know if baseball cards can in any way be related to bike racing. Sorry if you're confused, just try thinking about it as pokemon cards instead. That will help.

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