Saturday, June 4, 2011

Frustration

I have to admit, even I didn't believe that coming back from an injury would be this slow going. It's frustrating and I'm frustrated. I'm discouraged enough that I'm thinking of taking the entire season off. Yeah, just scrapping the whole thing and not even attempting to race this year. Taking a year to get my ducks back in a row, to get back to school and to get financially stable once again. Isn't that reasonable? How come the very thought makes me feel so guilty then?

I'm frustrated with the weather too. Why am I looking out my window and rain and snow while I'm looking at the calender on the wall and for some reason it's been flipped to the month of June? Surely, there must be some mistake here. Clearly, it is not June in Northern California, perhaps February would be a more appropriate month for that calender to be displaying.

Being slow, out of shape, and unmotivated to ride due to the fact that there is a very real chance that winter will never end is a trifecta of self-doubt that I have yet to experience in my cycling carreer and one which I'll certainly be happy to be done with.

Do I really mean it when I say that I'm going to stop racing(or never start again to be more precise)? Right here, right now, in this very moment, as I sit huddled under a blanket staring out at the gloom after being defeated by the elements as I attempted to complete a relatively easy ride earlier this morning; yes, I do mean it. And I mean it quite seriously at that. The wall seems all too high to climb, the mountain far too steep to scale and the river far too wide to cross in this dreary little moment of my existence.

It's moments like this when all the little things that tell me I can't seem to be shouting in my ears that I shouldn't and assuring me not only that I won't but also that I never should have to begin with. They tell me that it's okay to bow out as I never belonged here to begin with and that it was only a matter of time until this day came to be. Maybe all those little voices of self-doubt are right, maybe I gave it a good run and it's time to bow out somewhat gracefully.... In this cold and gloomy moment, those voices are more clear than ever and they are making a lot of sense.

This however, is only a moment. And, moments are brief, they pass frequently and as each one drifts by, so too does our place in this world (both mentally and physically) change. I have no doubt that I will look back on this moment from another moment in the future and wonder how on earth I could ever have typed such crazy things. Be that as it may, I can't help but feel frustrated with the painstaikingly slow crawl back to the place where I once was.

Dinner time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crash!

I ran head on into another rider today while out on the mountain bike. It could also be said that I was hit head on by another rider today while out on the mountain bike. Any way you slice it, my butt was on the ground before I had a chance to even begin to realize what was about to happen. No good.

Just out cruising Granite Bay and came into a blind corner at precisely the same time that another rider going the opposite direction was entering the very same blind corner. BAM!

As I laid there on the ground, entangled in not only my own bike but also within this strangers rig, I couldn't help but think that the worst thing imagineable had just happened and that my riding days were about to be put on hold once again so very quickly after I had rediscovered my bike. I became worried and angry immediately. No, not angry; frustrated, scared and disappointed. All of these thoughts and emotions had come and gone in the split second between hitting the dirt and reopening my eyes after impact.

Upon initial inspection and going through the mental body check before making any suddon moves; I found, to my delight and complete surprise, that nothing seemed to be broken and amazingly, even my ribs which have been healing from a crash a couple of weeks ago felt just fine despite the fact that my chest had crashed down onto the other riders front wheel on my journey to the earth's surface. Good news!

And what of the bikes? Also quite miraculously, both bikes appeared to come away from the crash with little or no damage. My rear wheel is out of whack as the other rider(whose name is Don) landed on top of it after my handlebars stabbed him in the back... Sorry bro. He was riding a steel single speed; pretty bomb proof and since the only impact it had to endure aside from hitting the ground was running full bore into my chest, the bike was in fine shape after the debacle.

Don was totally cool and every bit as apologetic as I was for the whole situation as we both agreed that that was a crash which was pretty well unavoidable given the circumstances. What an awkward situation?

"I just ran you over and flung you off of your bike. Sorry about that. By the way, my name is Dez-good to meet you too Don..."

After exchanging one final apology, we headed our seperate ways and I don't know about Don, but I found it quite difficult to find anything resembling a rythym for the rest of the afternoon. Oh well, every ride is a good ride, but some can't be as great as others.

I'm counting my blessings on this one. The last time I colided(and the first and only other time for those of you counting) with another rider I was not so lucky... There's probably a blog entry somewhere in here about that crash too.

Aaaaaahhhh.... Memories.

Friday, April 29, 2011

News

Have you stopped to think lately about just how incredible riding your bike really is?

It's pretty damn good, eh?

So, first off, I think I'm coming in at about a 60 on the scale of Dead-Kicking Ass(0-100) and I'm thouroughly enjoying the weather this week. Can a get an A-MEN?! No rain for more than 3 days in a row? You gotta be kidding me... It's almost like I live in a state known for it's sunshine or something. Strange. The foot is still stiff and weak and my pedal stroke doesn't flow the way it used to yet, but I can feel all the good things returning.

Today's words of wisdom: Never break your heel. It sucks.

Next, the news. After four wonderful years of sponsorship with Cannondale Bicycles' Mountain Bike Team and it's affiliated sponsors, first as part of the Bear Naked Granola Team, then as a member of the Sobe Cannondale Team, and finally as part of Cannondale Factory Racing, I have accepted a new sponsorship with Specialized Bicycles and WTB under the Sierra Nevada/Bicycles Plus Racing Team.

I am extremely excited about the opportunities which this team and these new sponsors
will provide me with and I am looking forward to getting back on my feet(literally) and into full racing shape by late summer aboard new bikes and new product.

I can't say enough good things about the time I spent with Cannondale and the experiences that I had flying the "Handmade in the USA" banner for The Beast of the East these last four seasons. I will never forget my time with the brand and the people that made it all happen. Cannondale gave me my first sponsorship opportunity when I had only a season's worth of results and a whole lot of hope and determination. Some of the best and worst moments of my life have been spent aboard Cannondales and I wouldn't trade a single one of those moments for anything. Thank you to everyone at Cannondale for allowing this kid to live the dream....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

I think I'm a 20. Yeah, on a scale of 1-100, with one end being a corpse and the other being me kicking ass and taking names; I'm feeling like I'm about a 20 on the the bike right now.

May not sound like much, but considering the fact that it's about twice as awesome as I felt right after the cast was removed and especially considering the fact that while in the cast I was functioning at round about a 5, its a vast improvement. I feel like I've switched from 87 octane to freaking jet fuel and it's all I can do to keep from doing cart wheels and jumping jacks while waitng in line at the grocery store, just because I can and because I have 10 weeks of pent up energy. It's awesome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Cast is No More

I'm free! I had my cast removed yesterday morning and I am more than a little excited. Sure, the foot is a little stiff and it's nowhere near 100%, but my god, it's free and has potential to be 100% at some point in the near future.

I rode my bike today too. I wish you all could have been there to see, because it was pretty pathetic. Actually, that's not true. I am very glad that no one was there to witness it because yes, it was pathetic. Again, the potential is there and yesterday morning before that damn cast got chopped off, things were looking pretty grim.

I may not be back, but I'm at least pointed in the right direction again and I couldn't have picked a better place to get back on the bike. Hello San Diego! 70 degrees, sunny, light breeze... Yeah, pretty much couldn't be better.

So, on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being kick-ass race winning fitness and 1 being um, I don't know, like death I suppose; I think I'm at like a 10. I rode for 2 hours today and only went up 3 little climbs. It was a damn good thing I had a 28 tooth cog on my cassette too because otherwise I may not have made it... The ride was humbling, eye opening, encouraging, discouraging, terribly painful, and altogether one of the greatest 2 hours that I have ever experienced.

There is a lot of work ahead of me, but I am a big fan of this type of work. So giddy-up little pony, let's get this rodeo rocking and rolling!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yay For the Weather

I have got to admit that I am pretty stoked with the winter weather happening outside right now... I know that its not the sort of thing that a cyclist would generally be excited with, but I'm not exactly in the position a cyclist is generally in at the moment, with the broken foot and all.

It's pooring rain, it's windy, and it's pretty dang cold too. Miserable. But I gotta tell you, it sure makes sitting in the house go down a little easier. I realize that it's a bit selfish of me to be so excited for such terrible weather as it means poor riding conditions for the rest of the cycling community but you've got to understand that I have been sitting in the house for nearly a month now, gazing out the window at picture-perfect 70 degree sunshine soaked days wanting nothing more than to find a hacksaw in the garage and take care of this cumbersome cast. It's raining sideways just now. Today, I don't mind the cast so much.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back In Action. Sorta.


Its been a while. Too long. A lot has happened since my last update. And yet, with all that has happened over the last 10 months, I find myself remarkably close to the place that I was at the time of my last post. Oh well, the earth is round after all, so how do we ever really expect to get anywhere? The further we go, the closer we are to getting back to where we started....

From racing, to working for Cannondale while racing, to giving up any hopes of racing, to throwing away what most any sensible person would consider a huge opportunity, to coming back home to norcal, to sitting here. Where is here? Here is Folsom, CA. For the first time in a number of months, I'm sitting in a kitchen in a place that I refer to as "home". Pretty cool.

Obviously, plenty of events worth sharing have come to be in my travels since my last post, but I can tell you all about that stuff later. First, a current event:

I made a really bad decision recently. In true Dez fashion, I completely disregarded the advice of friends and decided to do a little cross training this off-season by taking up the noble sport of running. Simple, pure, inexpensive, and enjoyable in just about any weather conditions. What's not to love?

Well, long story short, I have a lot of time to sit and think about the choices that I made this winter because my choices led me straight to a stress fracture in my right heel and a hard cast. Sweet.

So, what did I learn this winter? Cross training for cycling should basically consist of riding your bike on the indoor trainer. That is all. As a cyclist, I have spent countless hours perfecting and honing my skills on the bike while simultaneously stripping my body of all other athletic capabilities. This is a recipe for the perfect storm... 10 hours of cardio exercise? No problem. 2 hours of high impact trail running? Kryptonite to my Superman, apparently.

Anyhow, a lesson was learned and here I am. The good news? I will become a freaking push-up master over the next four weeks of this crutch wielding, cast wearing adventure. And, it's safe to say that I will be hungrier to ride a bike when this cast comes off than at any time ever before in the history of my universe.

Good times to come without a doubt, and luckily I have some amazing sponsors that are sticking with me through this little hiccup and I'm looking forward to hopping right back on the wagon(the racing/training wagon) once I get out of this pesky predicament.

I hope everyone with functional feet is out there putting in the miles during what has got to be the most beautiful winter that has ever happened. I'll be back out there with y'all soon enough... Be gentle.

In the meantime, I've got plenty to share from the last few months. Stay tuned.