Friday, October 12, 2012


Every year it seems that the 'cross season comes fast and furious. This year is no exception, with the first CX race in August, and already four double weekends in the books. It's no wonder, then, that I was tired after Gloucester, and in need of a break.

Don't worry - Tide will get the tough stains out!
Photo: Nick Czerula
Yes, Gloucester happened. I went and played in the mud both days, and had a great time. The most fun I had, though, was watching Mike's absolutely STELLAR races both days. I am so proud of him. He put in a lot of really hard work this year, and seeing it payoff literally left me in tears. He's been pretty humble about his performance, but I'm happy to tell you all just how great he really is :).

Yes, those are tears!
Men's 45+ Podium (Day 1)
Men's 45+ Podium (Day 2)

So, after Gloucester, I decided that I was going to take a break. A real rest week. Yes, my former coaches Sara B. and Aidan would be COMPLETELY shocked by this! I have long joked that the word "rest" is not in the Rowell vocabulary. But, it was time. The season is long, and the body and mind wanted to slow things down a little bit.

Don't get me wrong - resting didn't come easy. On Tuesday, I was seriously watching the weather and debating going out to the Night Weasels race on Wednesday. I hadn't raced there since the first year... I looked at the weather. I looked at the pre-reg lists. And then, I somehow managed to convince myself that I wasn't going. Amazing. Instead, I rode the rollers for a scant 30 minutes watching others race there on the live web stream (well, at least until the stream went black :)).

The next battle came with the Providence races. I had decided I wasn't going to race on the weekend - still resting, and that course is in my head after having avulsively fractured my ankle there in 2009. But still I looked at the weather. I saw that my friends and teammates were racing. I hmm'd and I haw'd. Ultimately I decided against racing again. Anyone who knows me, however, will know that this wasn't something that was easy for me - I am a cyclist - I ride and I race. To decide NOT to do that went against what I knew. I'm considering it learning at an old age :)

Photo: TGP
I still made the trek down to Providence to support Mike in his racing, and to cheer on my friends and teammates. Of course, with the nicer weather, the lederhosen came out as well :). I started this tradition about 5 years ago at Gloucester. My heritage is German, and I grew up in a very German region of southwestern Ontario (Kitchener was called Berlin prior to WWII - the name was changed afterwards for obvious reasons). In fact, Kitchener-Waterloo boasts the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany, and I have been more times than I can count. It seemed to me that with beer tents and bike racing, lederhosen made sense. Unfortunately, my trend hasn't caught on :).

I stood on the sidelines as the women's 3/4 field staged in the starting grid, and heard a chorus of "Why aren't you racing?" and "What are you doing over there?". The funniest moment though came when Sara B. (my former coach) asked why I wasn't racing and I told her that I was taking a break and resting. I thought she might fall over from the shock :). It was great fun, however, to cheer on my friends, fellow competitors and teammates as they made their way around Stage Fort Park.

Day 1 Finish
Photo: Duane K.
Then it was time for Mike's race. I headed to the starting grid with a clear path to the pit as soon as the whistle blew. From the pit, my view of the race was pretty limited, but early I could see that he was racing smart, and doing well. As the 45 minute mark of racing approached, we heard that there was STILL one lap to go! This was a LONG race, and the temperature was pretty high. Mike doesn't always do so well in the heat, so I hoped he could hang onto the lead he now had. My worry was unfounded, however - he held his lead to the line, and this time, I managed to be there for the finish. Another great race for him that would be followed by a second day of stellar racing on Sunday. He has now had two weekends in a row of great performances, at arguably, the biggest races on the New England calendar.

Amazingly, I was wiped out after a weekend of not racing! Standing on my feet all day both days, running around the course, and the long days outside were not quite as restful as I had anticipated ;). This week was a return to some good training (though I somehow thought I would feel a bit better after being so rested :)), and now it's all 'cross, all the time for the remainder of the season!

I hope that the rest week paid off. We'll see what this weekend brings.


Vicki said...

I've never been that good at resting either. Somehow it feels "wrong". And I can attest to how tiring it can be to be a pit person/superfan all weekend.
So long as you're having fun that's the most important part.
Keep your fingers crossed - we might be coming down for the Northampton races - this is where we first met many years ago!

Cathy said...

Ooo! Fingers AND toes are crossed! Let us know if you are coming - we would be so excited to see you (and of course, your room is always available :)).

BTW - nice job getting back to the racing yourself! I just hope you are listening to your body and not doing too much too fast.