She’s tolerating it. For ten, twelve, weeks I’ve rode up alongside her, put a hand on her back and said, “See ya at home Honey.” Then I drop it into the small ring, put the left bud in my ear and noodle the 45 minutes back home. With OVCX races on Sunday, I always cut the Saturday ride short. She’d smile and maybe say something sassy like, “smell ya later.” I can’t imagine what cyclocross is like for those who race and have spouses that don’t ride. You gotta have a real angel in your life.
The end is near. Thank you Oprah. Thank you Tom Cruise. Thank you little baby Jesus, she’s saying in her best Ricky Bobby impersonation. I thank her. Since August I HAD to buy two new tires and a seatpost. I'm still afraid to calculate how much I’ve spent on gas, entry fees and Combos at Speedway. No doubt the cost of Combos alone is nearing the cost of the six month property tax bill. Still I got excited to open the 8th place payout envelope last weekend. I gave it to her when I got home.
The real prize to me was the words "8th Place Elite Masters" written on the envelope itself.
She rides and races too, just not cross. So in the fall, she has no interest in intervals, hill repeats or riding circles in the grass drooling and wheezing like a donkey. The only thing that’s kept us working out together is the 45 minutes on Saturday mornings, the occasional recovery ride and yoga. Namaste to that.
The season essentially ends tonight. At least that’s the way I’m thinking about it. I don’t know if she sees it yet, that there’s a Sunday in the future with our name on it. There’s 4 races left, in three weekends. Really, today being Thursday, November 18th, I’ll line up in the grid for the last time in about 2 weeks. Less if I decide against racing Indy. I can count the number of interval workouts I have left. Three. The number of really hard gut busting donkey wheezing interval workouts is exactly one.
This is precisely why you set goals. Not only do they justify the work and sacrifice to yourself, but those around you. I heard her on the phone the other day telling a relative about some of my bad race luck with the tires and broken seatpost. Then in a warmer tone she added, “The last two races were great for him. He reached his top-ten goal.” She cares. She called me Number Eight Sunday night after my 8th place finish. When I think about it, the number eight is an infinite as a wedding ring. That stuff makes a man feel all warm and gushy.
I’ve got my crampons dug in and I’m on the peak. Endurance doesn’t matter anymore. I’m not going to get any stronger than I am right now. Speed and technique is all that’s left to tweak. I’ll do my last real hill repeats tonight, race Sunday in Lexington, do some speed work mid next week, toss in a yoga class, eat some Turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and green bean casserole and more mashed potatoes and race the State Championships at John Bryan.
Tonight’s Biiiiiilly Goat ride is it. Fin. After that it’s a matter of making the most of the fitness I’ve built up since I started cutting the Saturday ride short, since I was home on Sunday afternoon, since I last spent an entire weekend riding with my wife. It all ends tonight Honey. For realzies.