Sunday, December 19, 2010

End of one season, beginning of another

The artist after going down on a slick corner while warming up.

Yesterday was the last race of the UTCX 2010 series. I'm a little bummed, since i was out most of the season, you know with the whole amputation thing, i only got to race the last few races, and yesterday, finally felt like i was actually racing, actually in the competition. I wasn't at the front of the pack, but did start to feel like i had a little better fitness and could at least hang in there and keep up. Of course the big joke on me during yesterday's race was the extensive concrete stair run up. Although i get along pretty well in regular activities, stairs are still kind of a challenge for a gimp. First lap i got dropped on the stairs, and then even more so trying to clip in after the stairs. My cleat picked up all the slush left on the concrete making it near impossible to clip in once i jumped back on my bike. After some work, i managed to get my foot in and then reconnect with the group in the first tight turn. Throughout the rest of the first lap I even managed to pass a handful of other riders through some of the technical turns and straightaways. Then on the stairs on the 2nd lap they all came rushing past me again. And so it went. At any rate, i was feeling good, was feeling like i was racing again (albeit mid-pack in the Men's C group), and then with three laps to go my rear derailleur snapped clean in half.

Of course this would have to happen at the point of the course furthest from the pit as well. So i picked up my bike and walked back to the pit, switched bikes, and finished out the race and still managed to not take last place. Here's a vid of the first lap, my derailleur snap, bike swap, and finishing out the race. You can see the stair run up in the first 30 seconds of the vid, and then watch as i struggle to clip in while everyone passes me.

Utah Cyclcocross, race no. 11 from matt bradley on Vimeo.

And so another year is over, another bike season has passed, another semester has ended (though i've still got a good lot of papers to finish grading), and time to take a little break, then start all over again. Usually after the end of CX season i'll take a week or two off the bike, and then start training again for the next year's road season, but since i haven't had much serious training in the last six months, i'm going to forego the break this year and jump right back in. Yes, training starts tomorrow. And now that i've reached my immediate goal, race CX by the end of the season, i've set a new goal: race at the paracycling nationals in Augusta, GA in June 2011.
I know i've got a lot of work to do to get my fitness back, and then learn how to get power out of my residual limb (not to mention lose those extra holiday pounds), but i'm excited about the opportunity and ready for the challenge.

In other great news for the upcoming season, T-dub signed with the professional women's team Peanut Butter & Company/Twenty12. This is awesome, not only because she's now a pro and will get a supply of some of the best gourmet peanut butter you've ever tried (the "Dark Chocolate Dreams" peanut butter is so good you can just eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar), but because she gets to race on a team with so many up and coming riders as well as seasoned pros like Kristen Armstrong who won the Olympic gold medal for the time trial in 2008. Looking forward to making the best of the upcoming year.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

You didn't just participate in CX by season's end, you raced. Nice work.

Congrats to T-dub.

Jonnie J said...

Mattman - good to see you back out there tearing it up!