Monday, August 8, 2011

BIcycle Racing, for your (Mental) Health

Bicycle racing, good for your body and your mind. Being part of this cycling team this season has probably done more good for my mental health than anything else. Having a group of supportive team mates encouraging me to get back in the saddle, as well as so many generous sponsors to facilitate our racing has helped me move past some difficult personal issues this year.

It all began with JR our, team director, dragging me, no ifs ands or buts, all the way to Lake Placid for the Wilmington/Whiteface 100k Leadville Qualifier. I was feeling down on my fitness and mentally unprepared but after spinning around Lake Placid and registering for the race I was starting to feel that familiar pre-race excitement. Early to bed, earlier to rise and we were off to the races. JR, bless his big heart, kept me in the race until my second wind which helped me put in a respectable 4 1/2 hour race finishing 38th

After a much needed confidence boost Todd LaTocha and I prepared for the Big Bear 2x12. Another excellent showing of personal support and team morale with the Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team setting up shop in the VIP section. Consistency was key for Todd and I to take 5th place in the Men's Open Pro/Expert Field. This was a great accomplishment and also helped to further boost my self-esteem as a racer. It also brought me closer to my teammates as we cheered each other on to excellent results in their fields.

The most recent, sorry JR, and most challenging race of my season was the Hill Billy Roubaix. Coming off of a head cold I found myself quickly red-zoned and walking some of the very first climbs. After reaching the first aide station I had a lot of quit inside of me. I walked around and decided to wait for fellow teammate and long time cycling buddy, Robbie Loehr.

Robbie had suffered a double flat just a few short miles into the race and knew after that he was out of the running. However, we decided to solider on. We rode the next 55ish miles together talking, joking, dragging each other up the climbs, and down the twisty, narrow decents, drag raced down 50 mile and hour hill. Even though our finishing times were greater than we had hoped we probably had more fun than anyone else that day. For things like that I am greatful.