My main focus since registering for The Transylvania Epic in October 2012 has been training and preparation for that race. My training started in October and was rolling pretty steady until the start of 2013. 2013 dished some hits. I was sick for 8 weeks, my grandmother passed away, my dog was diagnosed with cancer and had major surgery, I moved in with my parents which was way more of an undertaking than I had planned for, my awesome job became more stress than I could handle, my favorite uncle passed away unexpectedly, and then I injured my knee at a 13 hour race several weeks before the TSEpic. One hit after another.
"And in time there's no forgiveness
And the plan was set in stone long ago
There's never not a time not to know"
Moving in with my parents, I didn't deal well with. The death of 2 family members, I didn't deal well with. The stress of my job, I didn't deal well with. My dog having cancer wrecked me. It all left me mentally drained. The constant 'need' to train looming in the back of my mind became a curse. I started resenting the fact that I HAD to ride my bike. Most mornings when my alarm went off at 4:30am, I knew I had a set of intervals to do on the trainer, I stared at my bike right beside my bed...I often said screw it and hit snooze. Most of the time physically I wasn't tired, but mentally I just wanted to freakin SLEEP! When the work day finally came to a grueling end, the last thing I wanted to do was kit up in 5000 layers of lycra and head out to ride in the cold darkness. My desire to train disintegrated. The thought of finishing TSEpic on my single speed weighed heavy on my mind. Constantly.
I finally got my shit together a few weeks before my 13 hour race mid April. My life was a bit more settled at that point. Amongst all the bull listed above, my saving grace, the most positive thing that has happened to me in a very long time...I randomly met the most amazing man in the world. He held me together through it all. He knew how important TSEpic was to me. He helped me focus on it as much as I had time for, which was very little. He was even kind enough to lay out a training plan for me leading up to TSEpic. I stuck to it as closely as I could. Life still remained to be crazy busy and uncontrollable at times.
"Can I run, but you'll be there
Disappear it's never fair
It's like a stare
When I call to tell you no
Every action going slow"
I went into my 13 hour race on April 13th feeling pretty okay fitness wise. Not the best, certainly not near with the level of fitness I had the previous year going into the race, but mentally I was in a good place. I physically felt sort of confident I would do well enough to not be too disappointed in myself. Race day proved to have some challenges and I ended up tweaking my knee 12 hours in. Standing up powering over a log, I twisted my knee in a strange way, and screwed something up. I couldn't put pressure on my right leg for a week post race. I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon a week after that. Xrays showed nothing broken or out of place. My MCL was swollen and could have been damaged, but 2 weeks of physical therapy was prescribed before my insurance would cover an MRI. My physical therapy took until 2 weeks before TSEpic. Strangely enough, I still don't really understand what is wrong with my knee. It ended up being some kind of patella tracking issue or something. All I understood was if I taped it up a certain way I could ride, almost pain free. In the 2 weeks before TSEpic I did mostly road rides. Road riding with gears took a lot of stress off of my knee and guaranteed I keep my knee in a straight line on the bike because I could spend 90% of the time in the saddle. On my single speed mountain bike I probably spend only about 70% of the time in the saddle. And in those 2 weeks, the longest road ride my knee could bear was just over 20 miles.
"Can I whisper all alone
Can I find it far from home
There's a time will make you move
All at once the time flew"
My fitness level was probably the worst it's been in a couple years and I was faced with an injury I had to be constantly aware of going into TSEpic. I was pretty much freaking out. I had already crossed 9 races off of my 2013 race calendar I wanted to do because of injury, sickness, or just fucking lack of mental fortitude to get it done. But finishing all 7 stages of TSEpic on my single speed was the ONE goal I really wanted to keep this year. I knew when I registered back in October that I was biting off more than I could chew. I didn't care. I dig a good challenge and I'm stubborn as hell. I've been bruised, beaten, and to hell and back in long bike races and have still finished. But back then I thought if I was consistent with weight training in the gym with my personal trainer and consistent with time on the bike that I would succeed in just finishing. Just finishing all 7 stages was all I cared about. I had no idea the things that were going to happen in the coming months and how badly I was going to react to those situations.
"Hey me watch the corners,
Watch me 'cause I know what you done
Hey me don't you know
Watch me 'cause I'm all alone"
Through out fall and winter of 2012, Angie and I pre rode 5 of the 7 stages of the TSEpic. I knew what gear I would run on certain stages. I knew what stages I was going to race fully rigid. I knew what stages I was going to need a squishy fork. I knew what stages I was going to suffer on. I knew what stages were going to put a smile on my face.
I knew what I was getting in to.
I knew what I had to do to prepare.
In the following months, I let it slip away.
Last week, I had a front row seat..the best seat in the house...to watch it all unfold.
My next couple blog posts will tell the story. It wasn't the easiest to live through.
A lesson I thought I learned in 2012 is quickly proving to be something I will live and learn through again in 2013:
"There are two types of pain you will go through in life. The pain of discipline and the pain of regret. The pain of discpline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons." -E. James Rohn
There are absolutely things, so far, in 2013 that I regret. But there are certainly some things that I am forever grateful for:
*My dog is now cancer free and more spoiled now than she has been in probably 7 years. Living at home with my parents was the best move I could have made considering her circumstances.
*I truly believe I have found THE love of my life. I've never met a man I want to be with more than Stephen. Every second I spend with him I am grateful. He is amazing. A lifetime with him will not be long enough
*My knee injury did afford me some time to devote to running again. Randomly running didn't hurt my knee like cycling did. In that time I was able to spend some quality time with my brother. I like running. I miss devoting time it. More importantly, the time I spent with my brother while I was running (he rode his bike along side of me and gave me water bottle hand ups) was priceless. Now that TSEpic is over, I certainly plan on making more time for the most important bottle hand ups on the planet.