after reading the "treatise" as i shall henceforth refer to the blog post of another master's athlete who recently stopped competing, i've actually had to step back and evaluate why i love this sport so much. was i, too, competing for the wrong reasons? was i missing opportunities to bond with my tribe? was i too focused on my process and my preparation at each race that i was missing those chances for connection? as result of this soul searching, i've made a conscious effort to be more present each week and at each event. in some cases, this has had the effect of shortening my warm-up or making me forget some "essential" part of my rigid pre-race regimen. but, interestingly, it has not negatively impacted my race performance -- in fact, it may have even improved it (and i want to dig into this relative to the conversation above) -- and it has made me feel better and more connected to this group.
this weekend brought two new courses for the PACX series.
|playing in the rain, mud and cold|
at some point, though, the race ceased to fun. the cold and wet turned my fingers numb. i could not feel where the shifters were, could not brake well, and had my hands bounced off the bars a couple of times. after the race, i found the unlocked boiler room in the heated bathroom and tried to regain some warmth. despite finding this much need heat source, i continued to shiver uncontrollably for at least 30 minutes. i was still shivering at my car and in my dry clothes when i noticed a vehicle having trouble escaping from the grassy, sloped field that served as the parking lot on this day. i ran over to help push the car out of the mud and up the hill. then, there was another. and another. after the fourth vehicle was freed, i noticed i was no longer shivering. not only had the effort helped me warm up by using my body again, it warmed my heart. dare i say, that might have felt better than winning my race.
with my only dry clothes now soaked, i went down to the huge beer tent to do podiums and to hang out a bit. i grabbed a pretty tasty veggie burger and spent some time talking with folks. thanked dave borden for his role in putting on a great race. thanked bob joos for his infectious enthusiasm.
it was a good day. despite the cold and the rain, i wouldn't have changed a thing.
|PA State CX Champion M45-49|
with some of these close to home races, i tend to let my guard down in terms of preparation. i end up arriving later than i want, i forget stuff, i lose focus. this race, 10.9 miles from home, was no different. i forgot my drinks at home and had to turn around to get them when i was already about halfway there. i showed up to staging far too close for comfort. as the official gave the 1-minute warning, i was still frantically wrestling with my clothes. i didn't reset the Garmin, so once the race did get started, the device was barking at me to start intervals that are setup for my pre-race warm-up. i forgot to press the record button on the GoPro mounted to my handlebars. i forgot to eat my Gu.
|reuther makes an early move.|
hill leading to the spongy stuff, i made my move. i got to that section first and built a gap there that continued to grow through the race. although i felt like my lead was growing, i was nervous every time that i'd hit a gusty headwind that maybe i was getting hit with more headwind than my competitors and dumb luck would end up conspiring to steal my victory. about 1-1/2 to 2 laps into the race, my legs started to bark at me and i wondered if i'd gone out to hard. i pushed through and eventually they began to feel like the usual suffering. i really wanted to win this race badly. i had won a state championship back in 2014. oddly, i came in second in that race. since the winner of the race was over fifty, he won the 50-54 age group and i won the 45-49. i was psyched to have won the championship, but it never really quite sat right with me. by winning this race outright, it erases all doubt. i like this path much better.
after the race, i was able to help with the juniors race and cheer on many other races. i got to hang with lots of great folks. i got a great recommendation for a gift to thank my wife for her support in this awesome craziness that is cyclocross racing. after the last race of the day, we began tearing down the course. it's awesome to see how the community comes together to pitch in. the whole time we worked, one of my mom's favorite phrases ran through my head, "many hands make light work."
another great day with this community.
many thanks to Howard Brown at Trek Bicycle Shop in Newark, DE and Bill Bradley at Trek Bicycle Shop in West Chester, PA for the continued support of the team!