So the week of my 2012 racing debut is here, and I'm not sure how to feel about that. This weekend's Sub-9 Death March is going to be hard, but I think Val and I will be fine. It's been a little hard because she and I live somewhat far apart haven't had a chance to do a recon ride together. I'm not too worried about this because I've been on a couple of recon rides, and while I haven't done the whole route in one shot, I feel like my ability to navigate the area is pretty decent now. However, without having ridden together yet, I feel like we may each be worried about disappointing the other. She's been sick the past few weeks, and I've been intimidated to do recon rides with the guys, so I feel like I haven't got in as much gravel time as I should have. I've also been a bit lenient on myself training-wise with everything going on at work and stuff. I'd actually be 100% okay with coming into form slowly (still plenty of time to get ready for 'cross) if wasn't worried about imposing my slowness on my teammate on Saturday. Hopefully, she will be feeling better next week and we can just show up Saturday, ride decently, and have fun doing it.
Speaking of coming into form slowly, I've also been mulling over another conundrum that could affect my fitness deadlines. After the 2010 Ouachita Challenge, I won a drawing for a free entry to the 2011 race, but I had to decline due to the fact that my abdominal cavity was only tenuously held together by glue and scar tissue at the time. They were kind enough to let me delay my entry for a year, and now that my mementos from 2011 can be boiled down to a thin white line running from my sternum to my belly button and an awesome handmade beer stein on my shelf, I should be ready to use my deadlift-hardened legs to mash up Blowout Mountain once again. Given that all potential endurance mountain biking plans since my surgery have been pushed aside in favor of closer, speedier fare, I really planned to give this year's OC a go, just to remember what it felt like, and then explore my roadie-curious tendencies through the rest of the spring and summer.
However, those tendencies are creeping up on me faster than I thought they would. A couple of weeks ago, plans were cooked up for a Speedway Wheelmen team training camp in Tennessee the same weekend as the OC. Adam and his friend/teammate Josh usually go Josh's brother's house near Knoxville every spring break, but that didn't work out this year. Instead, around 20 or wheelmen and women, including Val, Janelle, and Sarah will be renting cabins in the area for a long weekend. The cabin situation is working out to look a lot like the USGP lodging arraignment, which was totally fun, and I suspect will be even more fun in this sweet cabin with a hot tub. So even though I want to do the OC, another part of me is whining, "I don't want to go to Arkansas by myself. I want to go with my friiiiends," even if going with my friends means riding up big paved mountains for three days instead of big rocky mountains for one.
I've joked that that April 1, 2012 may be known as the day that Lindsay Rodkey became a roadie and was never heard from by the endurance mountain bike world again. April Fools! Really though, if the last year has taught me anything, is that this is a long-term game and one race or even season of races is quite small in the context of an amateur racing career that I expect to keep moving forward (even with ups and downs) for the next 15 years at least. In 2009 I fell almost completely off the CX radar, only to come back better than ever in 2011. So I suspect that when the time is right I will pay good money to come back to the OC as one of those obnoxious roadie chicks who can hammer the gravel sections between stretches singletrack (but still remember how to ride the singletrack sections, too).
Also in the vein of altered plans, Adam's brother and his wife had a new Leap Day baby this past week. Daphne must have been quite determined to have a special birthday, because she held fast for an extra 12 days in the womb to make it. Adam and I debated on whether this Sunday or the next would be a better day to make the trip to Chicago to see her, which would mean a missed training day due to the length of the trip. Next Sunday looked better for me since I'd be shot from the Death March, anyway, but Adam preferred to go ahead and go on a day that the weather was relatively bad (in the context of our super mild winter), so that he could train on a nicer day the next weekend. We went ahead and made the trip, and we had a really good time. I even got to have some beef tongue hash topped with a poached egg and bone marrow hollandaise sauce for brunch. I was a little nervous about this, but it was the one item on the menu that didn't include bread (I hate being forced into the burger with no bun thing in restaurants), so I went for it and it was pretty good.