As we all know too well, life does not always stick to the script so sometimes you must improvise.
After a little recovery from the half iron distance duathlon in Welland, I started to get back on track after the Canada Day long weekend. With my sights set on racing The OCA Road Race Championships (July 15) and Triathlon Ontario Duathlon Championships (July 28) I knew I was in the right zone for the performances I expected.
On Tuesday, July 3rd I received a call from a buddy to fill the net for his summer league team and decided to strap on the pads for the first time in a few months. I thought it would be a harmless night on the ice and was just looking forward to catching up with some hockey friends I had not seen in some time. Unfortunately, late in the game I took a puck to an unprotected section under the arm that smoked my rib cage. I have had shots hit all over the place in the past so just took a few deep breaths and carried on for the final few minutes of the game. After the game, things didn't seem to bad so I just assumed it was a bruise and nothing would come of it.
The next day I did my usual training and things were not too bad, just a touch sore so I still thought it was a simple bruise. No worries.
On Thursday, I started the day out with an easy 50 minute run and was not feeling much discomfort at all so things felt good. After work, a group of co-workers set off down town (Toronto) to participate in the YMCA Relay for Strong Kids. It was a 2 or 4 person relay event held on the Honda Indy race track (2.9k) where each runner was responsible for a loop (or two loops for the 2 Person Teams) on the race track so I was going to use this as a speed workout and see how the legs were coming back from the Welland race.
Prior to my lap on the track, I put in a very good warm up and got ready for a speedy round on a very warm evening. When I got my turn, I hammered it out of the gate and kept the pedal down right through the timing mat. I was hoping to break 10minutes for the circuit and was even more please to see I had hit 9:04 for 2.8k (lost 100 metres in the hand off zone). This was easily my best pace for this distance so things were looking great for my upcoming duathlon.
That was until I tried to get out of bed the next morning and felt the pain in my right side ribs. I could not twist or stretch at all and was in a world of pain. Not good. So it turns out to be a minor crack on the rib which is now affecting my run training as it feels like someone is punching my side with every stride. Thankfully, I can still ride the bike, unless I try to real crank it up a hill.
As I monitored the situation last week I decided it would not be a smart idea to race OCA's ( Richard mentioned there was a steep climb so the competition would drop me in a heart beat) so I did not register for that race which was not too devastating. With Duathlon Champs coming up in a few weeks, I will have to make a call by July 18th. To miss Cobourg would really hurt as this was to be my "A" race of the summer and I was down to my lowest weight in years and feeling great for that duathlon distance.
The good news was that I felt strong enough to ride the Horseshoe Centurion with a bunch of the Falcons. While reading a few of their emails last week I could see some of them were interested in hitting the course at a solid pace so I figured I would be able to help pace their efforts. When we arrived north of Barrie for the event, I could see Laura G was really excited to test out her cycling power against the best women in the field. She is a very strong rider but mentioned she has never really raced on a road bike so I figured she would be leading the Falcon charge and hoped I could help out with my experiences.
Even though we arrived in good time to the race, the usual cycling die hards were super eager to get on the roads so the starting corrals filled up quick. This was something that we could not control too much so we pushed out and took it easy up the neutral section. We ended up getting through a lot of the crowd but there were still plenty of riders ahead of us by the time the race started. As soon as we hit the timing mats it was game on and I started to set a solid pace for Laura to copy.
Over the course of the scenic and hilly course we played leap frog with several tiny packs making up even more ground on the folks that must have been spit off the lead peloton. It felt great to have the pulling power to grab on group and then jump up the road to the next and I definitely received an amazing bike workout during the ride.
By the time we reached the finish, we had gathered a nice sized group of our own and posted a very respectable pace for the terrain. I am sure we could have finished up ahead of our overall placing if we had set out with some faster groups but I believe it was a great learning experience and it has lit a fire in a potential cycling star.
As it is with long events such as this, you miss out on the others not immediately around you. Fortunately, we had time to catch up with everyone after the ride and get all the great stories of successful Falcon glory. Congrats to everyone that completed the Centurion Ontario - Horseshoe 100k!