I like to do things. I reeeeeallly like to do things. I get upset when I can’t do things. Worse, I tend to plan my schedule in a way to maximize the doing of ALL THE THINGS, even when the things occur in places that are thousands of miles apart and are accompanied with diverse sorts of physical, mental and emotional stressors. Oh, and I’m dating someone who might just have this problem even worse than I do.
With bike-racing, it’s really easy to overdo it. It’s especially easy to create plans that, in the off season, when you’re all amped to race your bike and its nasty and snowy outside and you cannot imagine a warm weather day in which you would NOT want to be riding your bike for 8 hours at a time, seem like a really great idea. Like, you know, racing in Crested Butte for 3 days, driving 30 hours to Whistler, racing in Whistler, flying to Salt Lake City, racing in Canyons, all in a three week period. I mean, what could be MORE FUN than that!
To give my off-season self some credit, it could have been fun. If I hadn’t started the entire venture with a wicked, exhausting cold, it could have been fun. If the Crested Butte race hadn’t been cancelled halfway through due to a tragic, fatal accident, that weekend definitely would not have been so emotionally draining and scary. If I hadn’t sucked it up in Whistler and smashed my knee, I wouldn’t have been so sore and miserable and un-motivated for the Canyons race. And if, most recently, I hadn’t contracted a stomach bug and spent eight hours dredging up the lining of my stomach, over and over again — maybe I wouldn’t feel so fucking wrecked right now.
But friends, I am fucking wrecked right now. Like really, really, really, colossally, impressively wrecked. The past 24 hours of fever definitely haven’t helped with that, but honestly, I was planning to write this post before I started vomiting. So, thanks for the memo, Universe. I get it. I overdid it. NOW PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK.
Of course, things could be way worse. I didn’t seriously injure myself and I pulled through in Canyons with a 6th place and a 3rd in the overall Enduro Cup Series. Not too shabby considering I spent the majority of the race wishing I was anywhere, literally anywhere else, doing anything, literally anything, else. How’s that for a winning attitude? I had fun on the last DH stage, at least, indicating that perhaps I should be a downhill racer because the pedally stages really made me contemplate death.
I wish, I genuinely wish, that I could write a blog post called “how to not overdo it,” but let’s be real, I really don’t have that answer. Evidently, considering how often I run myself fully and completely into the ground. I think the reason I’ve never learned that lesson is that I never properly regret it like a normal person. Like, last year, when I returned from Peru, utterly exhausted from a week of food poisoning and then hauling my ragged body up multiple mountains and then plopping myself on a trans-continental flight with a massive head cold (sorry for getting everyone sick my bad), did I regret it? Did I regret going to Machu Picchu even though I felt like death-warmed-over and very nearly pooped in my pants on the shuttle bus? Nope, nope, not at all. Because I saw Machu Picchu and it was truly and genuinely amazing. And now, if somewhere were to ask me how Peru was, I would say it was amazing. Because it was. Oh, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
As for the past month, even though I’m wrecked, I’m starting to be able to see how worthwhile the past few weeks have been. I’m glad I raced in Whistler even though it beat me into a sad, oozing pile of pulp, because now I have a better idea of what I’m capable of (or, you know, not capable of). I’m glad I raced in Canyons even though it hurt, because when I looked at the results after stage one and realized how horrible I was doing, I took a deep breath, shut off the nasty part of my brain, and picked it up for the next three stages. Not hugely, mind you, but I did better. Usually when I realize I’m doing bad in a race, I have a total mental breakdown and start running into trees. So, small victories, folks, small victories. (Obviously, I’m not glad I got the flu, but whatever.)
Sometimes you don’t know what your limits are until you go slamming into them at 100mph. I have pushed my body and my mind so much in the past two years, and usually I have surprised myself by surpassing what I thought those limits were. And then there were the other times, like this one, where I burned out hard and got sick. Such is life, and at least I know I’m getting the absolute most out of it.
And the thing is I know how to bounce back after overdoing it because I’ve had a lot of practice. That’s why I’ll be spending the next week (minimum) doing anything and everything but riding my bike. I plan on going swimming. And sitting in a hot tub. And maybe even organizing my email (eurrrgh). The good thing about having overdone it so many times in my life is that I now realize that this isn’t the end of the world. I don’t actually hate racing my bike. In fact, after spending the past two days in bed, I’ve already felt some glimmers of wanting to race and be competitive again. Assuming there is nothing horribly wrong with my knee (which hasn’t been the same since I pile-drove it into the ground in Whistler), I will probably be back at it in a couple of weeks.
Because I love racing and riding and pushing my limits and sometimes pushing them too far. I love doing things. All of the things.