I wasn’t planning on racing at the weekend but after last week’s result I was riding high on the crest of a wave and the urge to pin on numbers was unavoidable. Confidence was high, I was full sure those final two A4 points would be a formality and I’d be upgrading to A3 first thing on Monday morning. However, lurking around every corner is something that could derail all that momentum and soaring confidence; a crash, a broken bike, blowing up in a race, or sickness. Anything that will take you off the bike for a few days. It’s cycling’s way to ensure you don’t get carried away with yourself and a reminder that “form is only temporary”.
After an early morning spin on Tuesday, I spent most of the rest of the day entertaining anyone within earshot with the subtle sound of throat clearance. You know that repetitive, wheezy and forced cough growl. By the next day what had started as a small annoyance became a full-blown man-flu with a chest infection thrown in for good measure. Any bit of fitness and form I had built up was now being coughed out my lungs in the form of green junk. I did what comes natural to any good cyclist and reached for every drug available to my disposal Sudafed, Lemsip, Exputex, Antibiotics, Vicks, Multivitamins, Berocca, Ventolin, Caffeine and Chocolate. Basically, anything I could get my hands to try get me back in working order.
That’s what you get for being cocky I suppose. I was now fully bed bound, back in my box and “off the bike for a few days”. Lying there I start to check the forecast for the weekend, weather looks good. If it was shite I could take solace that I’m only missing a race in rotten conditions, no big deal. All those winter miles were supposed to have me in prime condition for the warmer sunny days. I had put in the effort on miserable days and now when a weekend of decent weather finally arrives I’m laid up sick. It’s nothing short of a betrayal….
By Friday with a combination of bed rest, a decent feed and the cocktail of drugs from my mini pharmacy I was feeling slightly better. With that temporary rush of blood to the head, the notions came back. I could still make it Sunday. If I just sat in and didn’t stress myself too much I could get around and you never know what might happen in a sprint. This lasted all of ten minutes until the chest infection kicked in again and I descended back into a coughing fit, emptying out half my lungs. Yeah, maybe I’ll give it a miss!
There was racing both days at the weekend, a handicap Saturday evening followed by an A4 open race on Sunday. I resigned myself a while back to not racing anymore handicaps in A4 as you’re pretty much just cannon fodder for the rest of the field. However, a combination of the afternoons sunshine, being sick and unable to ride made the prospect of a handicap race instantly attractive again. I tried to ignore it but word came in that one of our guys had won 1st unplaced A4. Delighted for him, now I was even more mad to race the next day.
Sunday morning the conditions were near next to perfect for staying in bed. Outside there was wind, rain and a stream of grey clouds with a nice cold bite in the air. This made me finally accept that racing wasn’t going to happen, and the two points would have to wait. Race reports came in later that day “Tough race, conditions terrible, wind was brutal, two guys won from a break”. To say I was content to hear this was an understatement. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) was gone. I’ll be back cycling soon but for the rest of my enforced break it was back to the drugs….