Monday, December 14, 2009

Bush-league, psych-out stuff

I debated with myself for a few days whether or not I wanted to blog about what I'm about to blog about. The last few days I've been feeling quite shitty about what lays in store for me during January. Basically I have a weird chronic disease, that doesn't seem to want to ever go away. In a way, it is just like diabetes, depression, lupus, and a host of other conditions that modern humans may have but can still lead relatively normal long as they take their medicine. My medicine comes in the form of thyroid hormone pills, which I have taken every day since March of 2005, when I had my thyroid and 52 lymph nodes removed all of which were filled with cells which looked like this:Arranged in the following pattern:When in fact, the thyroid should have looked like this: Unfortunately for me, the little buggers were also in my lungs. Fortunately, the cells can't do much at all if their signal to grow and divide is blocked, which is one of the things thyroid hormone (my pills I take daily) do.

Anyway, this is all to say that ever since 2005, I've had cancer in my body. Although most of it has been killed or removed with 3 surgeries and 4 radiation treatments. There is a blood test that I get every 3 months which is my tumor marker and a good indication of how much disease is left in my body. It has been low, but stable for the past 3 years. The fact that it is still there however warrants hopefully my last radiation treatment...which has been scheduled for the last 6 months for Janurary 7th, less than a month from today.

I generally don't think or talk much about all this. I view it as a part of the natural history of cells, that sometimes, they go awry to no fault of our own...and there's absolutely no 'meaning' to that in my opinion. It is what it is.

My current fear is that, if there are cancer cells in my lungs (which no one is actually certain of anymore), then those cells will concentrate the radioactive iodine I have to drink in January. The problem then, is that normal lung cells get damaged in the process....and people that like to ride bikes quickly, climb mountains, ski down hills, run after frisbees, play with kids, run through the woods, and even scream at cyclocrossers need their lungs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cat 3 State CX Champs (edited!)

I'm a bit speechless right now...don't know how to sum up the race or the day without launching into some narcissism. Oh well, I'll just plow forward:

Today was a long, euro-style cyclocross course complete with mid- to low- thirties temperatures, gray clouds overhead, and a course which was completely different than yesterdays pre-ride. After helping Yielding set-up the course, we went to eat some awesome barbecue and some of the best chili I've every eaten at Montague's (really you should go there sometime). The belly full of protein wasn't the best pre-ride meal, but it did the job as I got to ride around the course for about an hour on saturday. You may not believe me if you raced on sunday, but it really wasn't very soft at all on saturday. That S section after the hill climb was just a little soft. I hardly anticipated what was to come the following day: a total mud-fest.

Looking at the field before the cat 3 race, I had the feeling that it could be anybody's day. A small bobble or a ambitious turn could really handicap. The KC dudes looked intimidating, Martin had a road course, Matt James crushes in the mud, Gino and Chris C. didn't have much of a disadvantage on their single speeds as there was only one climb, Scott P. and Drew B. seemed ready to pounce (as evidenced by Scott's BRUTAL acceleration at the start and eventual hole-shot), and that's about all I remember from the start.My game plan was to ride very steady the first half of the race and try not to fall, then accelerate a bit the second half, but to keep all my focus on riding solid. I held second or third wheels for the first two laps, then took my obligatory pull across the long road section. Sometime during the 3rd lap a leaders group formed with me, Matt James, Martin, Alex Edwards, and Travis Donn. I led most of the next few laps and slowly Matt James and I found ourselves on our own with 2 or 3 to go. Matt and I raced wheel-to-wheel a few times in the B races last year (actually in almost identical conditions to today, except I think it was snowing and colder). We ended up working together and both focused on riding swift (not fast) and solid.Neither of us attacked but during the last lap, while I was in front by 5 or 10 seconds, I think Matt must have bobbled going up the hill-climb and next thing I knew a 30 second-ish gap had opened. It was almost robotic, but my body just zeroed in on riding steady and the next thing I knew, I was crossing the line with tons of friends cheering for me in first place!

It was an incredibly fun day to get cheered for by teammates, friends and strangers, be able to cheer for the P12s, race hard, win a race, and just act like a child and animal...playful and hungry.

Racing has been my self-renewing compulsion over the past year and I'm stoked on the life that has come with it.
A HUGE thank to everyone who helped make this an incredible season...especially my amazing team and support from my incredibly supportive wife!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Season's almost done!

Only a couple of days left til Hermann! After that, I'm racing my single speed only for awhile and taking every handoff I can get.

After much thought, I've decided to race the Cat 3 at Hermann. It had been a goal for a year to get on the podium for that race and I want to follow through with that goal.

It will be really crazy to have an inter-family dual with cousin Martin. We have pretty similar riding styles but definitely different overall strengths and weaknesses. It should be a blast!

As soon as the race is over, my cannondale (which has already sold!) is going to be stripped clean and a new frame is going to take its place: my future road bike for the year and steed of A class and Cat 1/2 POWER....can you guess what it is? Thanks Cory!