I really don't know anymore how to begin a race report on a pulp blog such as this, which is increasingly aimed to be more about my experience as a young adult with cancer and less about pedaling a bicycle in a race. Certainly the former deserves more attention and psychological work than the latter, especially given that I pretty much only do the latter to help with the former.
As I wrote last week, Maggie and I feel strongly that things will soon be changing in our lives. I'll see my doctor at MD Anderson on Jan 3rd and think it likely that I'll need more treatment. From the perspective of thyroid cancer, it has been clear for the last year that things are getting worse and it now looks like the radiation treatment last January acted as Darwinian selective mechanism for a population of cells which are no longer responsive to TSH suppression (english translation: continue to grow despite the thyroid hormone pill which I take on a daily basis, which in theory keeps them from growing). Just to put it into perspective, at no point before last week did we ever talk about me dieing (is that spelled right?) within the next 5 years. It just wasn't possible. Not a part of our reality. Now it may be and we actually talk about financial, social, and very practical implications of that.
Of course, I still feel quite healthy and am in better shape than I ever was for college sports, climbing, or anything else. Given the amount of time I trained in college for cross country, LaCrosse, climbing, and mountain biking it seems amazing that now that I'm 30 almost 31 with a family and a very real life, that somehow I get more out of doing less.
This article touches on so much that I've been thinking about and obviously living in the past year. My pedal the cause team was actually named after the First Descents organization and if you buy any of the bubba merchandise a portion of the proceeds will go towards helping this wonderful charity (thanks Mike Weiss!). Please read the article for more about First Descents.
On to the weekend racing:
This weekend=two pretty epic battles with Josh, eating and drinking (too much) with a bunch of friends saturday night, and mind over thyroid cancer.
When I was in college, a really good friend of mine taught me the art of making a really good music mix. The transition from song to song and the overall emotional ambiance created by sitting down to listen to everysong on the album was the guiding principle of making another person's art into your own....kind-of like DJ'ing I suppose. Anyway, I was thinking today that a musical mix of Sunday's bubba race would probably rank amongst the greatest mixes of all time (that was hyperbole in case you couldn't tell).
Saturday's race was on a very diverse course with a little bit of everything thrown in. The huge sweeping turns and the road section leading to the stair run-up were my favorite. I ended up second after not being able to ride with Josh up a long and technical off-camber climb during the penultimate lap. He got about a 5-10s gap and held it to the line. As someone who has been mountain biking since the 7th grade, my background in cross country running in college and bicycle messaging in Boulder/Denver after college created a great background for the pursuit of cyclocross 3 years ago. But, I never thought I’d be saying that I like the road section the most! I guess that is what living in Columbia, MO has done to me!
Sunday was the race that needs a soundtrack. It would probably begin with an intense song, which sucks you in and gets your attention, because for the first time in my 3 year St Louis cyclocross memory, Josh took the holeshot! I wasn't about to watch him ride away, so I jumped on his wheel and the pain began very early in the 9 lap race. Maybe the them song for Pirate of the Caribbean would be appropriate to begin?
He's stronger and smoother than me on techy turns but I can climb better. We're very evenly matched at the moment in terms of straightaway threshold power so because the course had a nice balance of all of the above, neither of us were able to drop the other. And we both tried like hell and made it very hard on the other.