Tough year on the bike
It has been a tough year for biking and running. I came into the spring feeling really strong.
I usually consider my training season to begin after Iceman the first weekend of November and end the first weekend of March with the 50 mile gravel road race in Georgia, the Southern Cross.
During this four month window, November 202 through February 2021, I had a total of 77 rides of which 7 were outdoors and the remaining 70 indoors on the trainer.. Total mileage for all was 1237 with 57,711 feet of climbing.
I was really looking forward to the most aggressive bike season I had had since 2010 through 2013. During those seasons, I had competed in the NUE (National Ultra Endurance) mountain bike race series which entailed a minimum of five 100-mile mountain bike races. During those seasons I also competed in numerous cross country races. That period culminated in my 2013 participation in the Route of the Conquistadors in Costa Rica, a three day stage race from the Pacific to the Caribbean followed by one of my best Iceman finishes in November.
For 2021, I registered for four 100 mile mountain bike races, three gravel road races, among other events.
I went into the spring feeling really strong and did very well versus my previous races at Southern Cross 50 mile gravel road race despite a crash that shredded the skin from my left hip and cost me a bit of time on course.
As we neared June, which had two 100 mile mountain bike races and the 210 mile Coast to Coast gravel event, during a long solo ride, the Sunday before Memorial Day, from Grand Rapids to the Blockhouse in North Muskegon and back to Fruitport, my neck seized up on the left side and I couldn’t turn my head that way and every bump was jarring and painful.
I went to the doctor who performed x-rays which revealed severe arthritis in my cervical vertebrae. He also said I should stop riding a bike. That ended him in as my primary care physician and I immediately went to another doctor. That doctor prescribed physical therapy. However, we haven’t yet really gotten to the root cause. The therapy alleviates some of the problem, but after sleeping my neck is once again stiff in the morning.
I had my most recent PT December 29th and don’t think I will continue to go. I will try regular massages for a couple of months, instead.
I decided to not go to Ohio for the Mohican 100 early June given the state of my neck. I did participate in Lumberjack 100 in Michigan and the Coast to Coast gravel race. Weather conditions got me in both with a DNF at 38 miles at Lumberjack and DNF at C2C at the halfway mark of 105 miles.
I decided to also skip the next two 100 mile mountain bike races in July and September. They were a long way to travel (Pennsylvania and Virginia) and I did not want to risk spending all that travel expense to possibly not finish due to my neck injury. I did lose out on some lodging fees and of course the race fee, however.
I was getting a bit better on the rides due to changing the stem on my road bike from a zero degree (very race oriented position) to a 30-degree rise stem which took stress off my necks. Then, disaster struck the Saturday before Labor Day. While on a 100 mile group road ride, some confusion regarding a turn on the route (or not) and I didn’t pay attention in front of me and one of my fellow riders started to make the turn and I hit his back wheel and went over the handlebars resulting in a fractured wrist. I was now off the bike- again- for the next eight weeks.
I also had several 5K running races in the fall ion which I like to participate. I was able to do no training for them due to the broken wrist as I was not able to tie my shoes.I missed the race in September because I still had the caste on, but they let me submit virtual results several weeks later once I could tie shoes. I did the events with no training which resulted in finish times over 26 minutes whereas with training I usually finish under 24 minutes.
One of my friends sets up a fitness & weight loss google sheet every year and I committed to trying to ride 80 miles a week and run 10 miles a week. I am also trying to work my weight down from 165 to 155 by the beginning of March when I will once again go to Georgia for the gravel race.
Anyway, here are statistics for the calendar year 2021.
TOTAL NUMBER OF RIDES 173
TOTAL NUMBER OF MILES 3,103.88
TOTAL ELEVATION 127,997
MOST ELEVATION 1 RIDE 5,505
VIRTUAL RIDES on ZWIFT
Number of virtual rides 136
Virtual miles 1,940.50
virtual climbing 92,650
number of rides 37
IRL miles 1,163.68
IRL climbing 35,327
Longest ride 105
number of races competed 3
number completed 1
TOTAL RUNNING FOR YEAR 12
NUMBER OF RACES 5K 4