Cascades Prelude

As of mid-May, I had officially abandoned the idea of doing the Cascades.  In fact, I actually wrote the ride to cancel on June 12.  Kathy was in horrible pain from multiple surgeries for the cancer, I was fighting with insurance companies, we had to switch oncologists, etc.  Riding was the last thing on my mind.  I did the fleche in May and the 400K in early June thinking they might be my only rides.

Then on June 15, we got some good news.  The CT Scan came back pretty clean, we resolved all the hospital and insurance issues and the chemo didn't have nearly as many side effects as we thought it would.  So on June 16, I wrote and got my spot back.  You can't just let cancer rule your life.  Plenty of friends stepped up to let me go to the ride.  But I hadn't done nearly as much training as I had planned.  I hadn't micro-tuned my bike, seen my chiro, and all the things I typically do before a ride.

I will start right now by saying that I didn't finish the Cascades.  I stopped at Quincy (mile 436) with severe hamstring pain (that turned out to be a partial rupture of the muscle).  But that doesn't really bother me that much.  The two days I had were a fabulous experience and I really saw all the benefits that experience brings on this sport.  I have said it many times: I don't ride for the miles or medals, I ride to meet really cool people and see cool sites.  And boy, did this ride have awsome people!  I have this feeling that over the coming years, I will certainly see them again.  By 2012,  I will be more than ready to try again for the great sights as well.

There is a point in every brevet when you have to ask yourself: am I in pain or am I injuring myself?  This is a subtle and difficult judgement call to make.  I have been battling since December with knee issues.  That and about 4 other single issues all came together in exactly the right way to screw me up.

  1. My crash in February - turns out it likely caused an undiagnosed injury to my hip that causes a rotational problem and makes a good seat post heigh hard to find.  That caused my body to recruit muscles that I don't ususally stress when riding.
  2. My trainer totally overshot my final prep workout 4 days before the ride.  I started after just getting over severe muscle soreness.  I was already maxed on Advil before the ride started.
  3. The cancer schedule made all my periodization plans impossible and I started in good shape, but not peak.  I had to skip my April 600k which I had felt was a crucial step.
  4. Due to #2, I had to ride more conservatively than I had planned early in the ride and I got dropped from the main pack of riders at least 30 miles before I should have been.  I made up the time, but worked harder than I should have.
The following posts will detail my adventures in the Cascades.  Keep in mind that I consider this ride to be a huge success.  By stopping, I likely saved at least some of the rest of my summer rides.
Cascades 700k is a stunning success!
Great Lakes 400K (with a Possible Twist)