Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Post Op Post" & and a "Crit"

Anterior Decompression. That is code for "Grind that hunk of bone off my foot real quick so I can get back to training". Hey Doc, 'bout how long ya' think I'll be out? Oh.....'bout two weeks or so......Hmmmmm,,,,not too bad. I can deal with THAT. Go ahead...yeah, the left foot, uhuh...yeah do that one first.

So, I got the surgery on 4/2 after a tremendous trip to Tucson. The Tucson thing is another post altogether. In fact, I may not even share it as it was one of the BEST weeks I have ever enjoyed and I'm not sure a blog post could do it justice. Well, maybe....Hheehehe But first, the surgery. I won't bore you with the details other than to tell you that "fasting" after midnight is OK as long as you take care of business relatively early the following day. My 1:30pm surgery fell way beyond my ability to survive without food and by the time they came for me I was ready to gnaw my own arm off. The Doc came in and signed my leg and I was off. It was a successfull procedure and he was able to clean up a lot of scar tissue while he was "in there". I have two portals in my ankle that have healed up nicely and I start PT with Jared at OA on Tuesday.

I got a little jumpstart on my PT today by going over to the Scarborough Crit Series in the Industrial Park and racing my first crit. It was really cool. I have always wondered what the "crits" (short for Criterium) were about. I have stayed away in the past because I didn't want to tangled up in a crash and screw up my triathlon season. PLUS, I have a relatively low tolerance for road cyclists with attitude. Now I am looking at them as a way to build bike fitness (and race)while I wait to get cleared to run. I want to see where I stack up among the best "cyclists" in Southern Maine. At the Crits they have the "A" group and the "B" group. In cycling you are Categorized as a 1-5. When you first start you are a 5. The best guys are a 1. So I'm a 5 but I'm likely more like a 4. However, that's like saying you are a .300 hitter before you step up to the plate. You gotta work your way up. I'm fine with that. In fact, I LOVE that. More stuff should be that way. Keeps the riff raff out. I like it. So I rode the "B" race with a goal to not make anyone else crash and not piss anyone off by not "holding my line". See, in crits, everyone rides very closely and if you are a tool you can really hurt someone. So, eyes up, pay attention, don't be a tool. Everybody has to be to work on Monday ya' know?
I was lucky enough to run into a couple of tri friends that have been trying to get me to race the crits for a while now. They were quick to give me tips and let me know when I should push and when I should stay with the group. In crits it is good to have a few people to work with as you move through the group.

So we lined up at the start and I found myself in the back. Again, not trying to be a tool. The race organizer goes through the pre race announcement, he reviews the standings after two weeks of racing and then he makes another announcement. He says "I know we have several newbies here but it has been brought to my attention that we have a few people here that are very good at OTHER SPORTS. Please be careful and keep in mind this is a training race" Then he looked right at ME. I gave him a little wave and just kind of fluttered my know, "Haaaaaaayyyyyyyy" that kind of wave. I probably shouldn't flatter myself by assuming he was talking to me but I got the point and decided to ease into the race and try to learn something rather than try to blow everyone up. See: "Don't be a tool"

I learned a LOT in the first few laps. There were some surges, some sprints and lots of jockeying for position. The "B's" is billed as a training ride - meant for first timers and folks like me that are ignorant about cycling etiquette(sp?), etc. HOWEVER, it's STILL a race and last I checked they charge you the same as the "A's" so I figure that I'll see how things go for a bit and then make a call. So, yeah, 13days off surgery to the ankle and here I am in a RACE. WTH? Bahahahhah!!!!! Say what you want but the foot is attached to my leg and only I know how it feels. Honestly, the last time I gave it a thought was when I clicked in. I simply had ZERO pain or discomfort during the race. It felt good to get the joint moving.
So we clicked off the laps, 1.3 miles at a time. I was in the mix and getting a feel for it. My friend Mike Kramer rolled up beside me and said to stay with him and Callan and Anthony. Cool. Looks like we got us a convoy! I did my best to keep the boys in sight, working in and out of the pack, picking a line, moving up, keeping the group together. Strategy, I like it. Kramer pulls up again with two to go and gives me a lesson about what happens at the finish. He says to get a good position, try to "jump a wheel" and then wait until there's 200m to go...then sprint for all you've got and hope for the best. Cool, I can do that...right up my alley, except for the "wait" part. One to go. Here it comes. I spent the first part of the lap getting good position on the right inside track. I had Kramer, Callan and Anthony right on my wheel. I figure I'll pull the boys and see what we can do when things get crazy. Second to last turn. Things got busted apart on a slight uphill. I got a good inside line at the top of the hill but got chopped off by a guy so I had to check up a bit. Then we were like 300m out after the last turn. Four guys in front of me. I couldn't wait any longer. I was afraid I'd get boxed in (inexperience) so I jumped on it. Up out of the saddle. Go, Go Go!!!! I was in third with 200m to go. Closing fast on 1 and 2. That's about the time things started to come apart. I just kept my head down and tried to hold on. I got clipped at the line by three smarter guys and I dropped to sixth overall. Kramer pulled alongside me on the cool down lap and I tried to talk. No dice. Perfect.
so that was my first "crit" race and I think it went OK. I didn't even have to play the "hey, I just had surgery 13 days ago" card. hehehhehe. Pretty pleased with the result. Ya' it's the "B" group but I gotta tell ya', these guys are quality cyclists for sure. It speaks to the level of talent here in Southern Maine that there is an "A" group that is a whole step above this group. I stuck around and watched the "A" race and decided that I will work my way up to that race. Got some work to do first.
So there you go. Crits. Fun stuff. I will go next week and have more fun, bring a few more friends. Hopefully the foot will continue to improve and I can splash some running in soon. Not going to rush it though. I'm fortunate I can ride without aggravating the ankle so I will focus on some biking for now. Looks like I'll ease into the tri season with an eye toward Rev3 in August. Good luck to all my friends doing The Boston Marathon tomorrow. Yes it will be hot. It will be hot for everyone. Run hard. Run smart.

-Giddy up.

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