Requiem for a Season
I have come to the sad realization that my cycling season may be over. My back just doesn’t agree with me doing any sort of training, and without training, well, racing isn’t much fun.
I’ve got sunshine, on my messed up back.
I am going to label my first season of cycling in a Rutgers jersey as “punctuated,” as in, a very satisfying season punctuated with too many unfortunate events. There was the nasty cold/fever Don and I shared 2 weeks before the start of the collegiate season, the crashes in front of me (but not involving me) during the Philly RR and Rutgers crit, cancellation of the Grant’s tomb/Princeton crit, the breakage of two rear wheels, and a two-week period of unexplained, err, pain, somewhere.
The summer months have now brought a world of escalating back pain. Unlike the dull tendinitis behind my knees, this injury is a sharp, pinching pain and not the kind that goes away with some ibuprofen and mental fortitude.
Thankfully, the positives of the past year were enough to tip the precipitous, infamous, universal, love/hate balance in favor of racing. Even though most of them don’t give a rat’s ass about the hard work I put into the team website (shoutout to the supercool exceptions), the Rutgers team is a great group of people who ride for all the right reasons. To boot, I managed to not crash all season (take that, believers in karma), upgraded a category, and showed, on a few occasions ,that I can be more than mere peloton fodder. Nay, I have been through too many seasons of embarrassing DNFs (did not finish) to call this season by any other name than success, however punctuated it may have been.
Equally fun were the escapades with teammates off the bicycle. I produced the cinematic classic, “D is for Dope. D is for Don.” The film was a finalist at Cannes is going to DVD release in the UK, but you can still see it on yoo toob.
Thursday nights were a chance for team bonding. We sang, we danced, we compared legs. In short, we upheld the cycling nerdism bestowed upon us by the hands of destiny.
We can bench 300, combined. Fine, it was 276.
This season also gave birth to a new nickname, SpikeyHair Will. Its origins are told in the good book,
“The legend of Willis tells of his Epic solo bike ride from his home in Pennsyltucky to the Mystical Oil Refineries of Nova Scotia, where he dipped his head in a vat of crude… his body from the forehead down became his proverbial Achilles heel, but his hair became an impenetrable helmet of Spiky Impenetrability.”
– NinjaDon 3:16
My destiny in the tiny world in cycling now sits on a squishy, degraded, disk in my lower back. If surgery, luck, therapy, or some combination thereof, can fix the pain, then I shall come back next season guns a’blazing. If not, well, I am not going to think about the if not. The back may hurt, but the road doesn’t end here.