Zen On Dirt

Recovery and Racing

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I pretty much figured that I’d be crippled after the Ouray 50. It was 11 miles longer than my longest run ever, and more than twice the elevation than I’d ever done in a day (and that adventure left me sore for many days). In my head, I cleared my athletic schedule for the week. I figured, best case scenario, I could find some bikepaths to ride to coffee shops while I gimped around with DOMS and whatever other aches and pains I’d created.

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Post-Ouray campsite at Blue Mesa

But something really weird happened. While I was pretty sore the whole day after the race, when we woke up the next morning, 12 hours after finishing, nothing hurt terribly badly. I laid there in the Scamp performing the standard DOMS test of flexing the quads and seeing if there were any muscle fibers there to flex, and everything seemed to engage. I rolled the ankles, lifted the legs, bent the knees, holy shit, did I really get away with this?

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Proper recovery

Upon getting up, my glutes were sore, one hip hurt more than the other, my knees were still tired, my  wrist, which I’d wrenched on saving a fall with my walking sticks, hurt, but all in all, my muscles seemed fine. Maybe all those mountains I’d hiked in the past month had paid off.

Training for life. Training for opportunities that I can’t even fathom until they fall into my lap.

Let there be a lesson there, Ez. Shoot for something completely out of your current reach, and hit something completely different, but completely satisfying.

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Impromptu afternoon ride at Hartmans with Rachel

 

But the whole situation brought up the whole idea of racing again. Not just, Hey, I accidentally signed up for a race in four days, let’s go on an adventure, but more of a Let’s make a goal and actually work towards it and see how fast I can go. 

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All Hartmans rides must end with Becks. Them’s the rules.

Back, many years ago, when I was talking to LWCoaching about mountain bike coaching, I asked her what it would take to go fast at a certain event. Her reply was something along the lines of, ‘Decide you want to do the race 3 days in advance and go do it.’ There was some level of sarcasm in the reply, but also a high level of truth.

The Ouray 50 wasn’t my first foray into Last Minute racing, and it’s definitely served me well in the past.

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Riding into the storm

But I’ve also trained seriously, also with a high level of success.

But I’ve also burnt out spectacularly.

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Rain brings rainbows

Some of the happiest, most flow-inducing times of my life have been when I was racing regularly and training.

Some of the most neurotic/stressful times have been when I was dealing with the expectations of being a racer.

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Bright rainbows!

I love working towards goals that I care about and progressing as an athlete and human being.

I’m not convinced that I need to make any more progression as a racer, on a bike or on foot. It was, in fact, my identity for many, many, many years. And I worked really hard to shed it and move forward as a human who raced only occasionally and mostly because it gave me the chance to hang out with my tribe.

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Go for the pot of gold!

But, the Ouray 50 was fun, and I did reasonably well, and with that comes all of the outside confirmations that I did good. And that, as any current or former racer of any sort can tell you, is a powerful thing, even if it shouldn’t be.

I rode the wave of racing elation for a bit after Ouray, to the point of trying to get the race directors of the Mogollon Monster 100-miler down in Pine, AZ, to make an exception to their qualifying standards to let me in to race in September so that I could try to get a qualifying standard for Hardrock.

They promptly said no, at which point I questioned what I was doing still running in the mountains.

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Training for life. Training for opportunities that I can’t even fathom until they fall into my lap.

And because, most importantly, I like it.

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One thought on “Recovery and Racing

  1. Great thoughts! I hear lots of questions… maybe the questions are the answers. I always try to seek answers to all my questions, reasoning for all my thoughts. I never quite realized I didnt need to find the answers. Sometimes the questions and the thoughts are the answers in and of themselves.

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