Sometimes Failure Is The Only Option

by Andy Amick on May 7, 2012

in Cycling, Personal

Worst. Race. Ever.

This past weekend was the Ridgeline Rampage race in Castle Rock where I registered for the 60 mile Marathon singlespeed race.  As you can tell by the title and the first words of this post, it turned out to be the most humiliating and frustrating race I’ve ever done.


Normally, I pride myself on continuing a race even if the weather is bad or I feel like crap.  But on Saturday, failure was in the cards after about 1 mile and things never, ever got to the point of a finish being possible.


The race

The race was 6 laps around a 10 mile course.  Here’s how the first lap went:

  • The starting field was about 30 riders
  • Crashed on a simple corner 3 miles into the lap.  It was however, a very good crash.
  • Big cramp in my right calf 5 miles in
  • Completely frustrated 5.1 miles in
  • Walked the tight steep switchback without even attempting to clear it
  • Managed to have a little fun on some of the downhill sections


With all of that fun out the way, I started on the second (and what proved to be my final) lap

  • Managed to stay upright through all corners
  • Walked the big climb without even caring
  • Got a quad cramp on the next climb that I attempted
  • Walked the tight steep switchback without even attempting to clear it
  • Halfway through the lap, realized my arms were really sore


After crossing the start/finish line after lap 2, I took an abrupt left turn, and proceeded to pack up and get out of town.  With an 8:00AM start, I was back home by 10:30AM.  Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.


It can only go up from here

If there is any good news from this race, I now know I can’t use the same approach to future races.  Leading up to this race, I broke 2 of my tagline words – Simple and Prepared.


While some people may say a 60 mile singlespeed race is not practical, it really not that uncommon if your crazy or nutty enough.

Prepared (or not)

The month leading up to the race had me riding stronger and stronger each day.  Long rides and short rides were feeling very good.  Even on easy recovery days, I was riding faster than normal.  However, I crammed a lot of training into a very small window.  Instead of having a plan, even a basic plan, I somehow let the race sneak up on me and I didn’t train until early April.


Pushing hard for the month most likely led to the tired legs, but doesn’t seem to explain the cramping after 5 miles of riding.  That has never happened to me.  There had to be something else to the utter failure of my legs on race day.


Simple (or lack thereof)

In my opinion, this is the biggest cause of my race sucking so bad.  There were just too many things going on and pulling me in different directions.  My daily IT development work had been much more stressful than normal.  Posts here on had taken up more time.  Kid’s activities had been ramping up and keeping me even more busy.


All of this added up to a lot more stress and a lot less sleep.  Ultimately, I believe this caught up to me and caused my body to revolt at the idea of riding for 5+ hours in race mode.


The new plan

Trying to look at the bright side here, there have to be a few changes if I want my marathon at the end of September to go better – a lot better.  First, I do need to plan and prepare.  I will need to take time to perform specific training on specific days to ensure that training occurs.  With proper planning and preparation, event days go off smoothly and can be enjoyable.


Second, simplicity needs to be part of the equation.  Not exactly sure how this will happen with active young kids and work, but I’m going to explore it and try to work something out.  The previous pace I was keeping was way too much.  Maybe it’s more reading for fun to relax my mind, less posts here, less hours at work, or a combination of all of the above.


What I do know is that a new routine is required.  I’m very much a creature of habit, and some less stressful habits need to be formed.  Wish me luck.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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