Monday, December 29, 2008

Fear and Loathing in CNY

It seems that every year when the CX season is over I'm looking for ways to extend the season and maintain form. A few CX'rs are good enough or have put themselves in a position where they can press on and continue to race in other parts of the country or other continents. For most of us in CNY, the season ends just before Thanksgiving, and as much as we may try to avoid losing the form we've worked for, we inevitably need to ease up and it always seems to happen around the holidays.

The first couple of days tend to involve a sense of euphoria as the body and mind haven't figured out what to do with the spare energy. For some of us, copious amounts of booze are consumed in conjunction with lousy food eaten at inappropriate times. Add to that the need to drive from holiday party to holiday party dealing with family dynamics and awkward small talk with strangers you only see once a year and something has to give. At some point, the initial joy of living like Chris Farley for a few days turns into self loathing as you look up in the mirror and realize it's time to get back to business. The body still has more energy than it should, and despite hiking, snow boarding and snow shoeing, getting decent sleep seems impossible when the body isn't being beaten into submission 6 days a week. Waking up at 5:30 am hung over with 32 degree rain, I still hadn't quite cracked, but I was close and I could sense it. After watching the same Sports Center three times in a row and heading off too one more family gathering, I was much closer to cracking. After going to watch a local band I cracked. No fault of the band, I was just done with relaxing. I also ran into Bob there, and he looked to be on the verge of a crack as well. Actually he was mid bender, but apparently the crack was coming.

In my case, I went home, and forced myself to get some decent sober sleep. It more or less worked and yesterday it was time to get back to work. The weather was too nice to ride. Some 50 degree temps had rolled through, and the riding wasn't going to offer enough suffering. My first workouts need to shock the system. It's all mental, but I need to suffer to beat my bad mood into submission. That meant running. As a former runner, there's no better way to induce suffering, particularly if you haven't been running much. I'll likely be lifting my legs out of the car tomorrow.

Drumroll had a few days head start. I hear he's even been riding his trainer.

Bob takes the prize though. After riding his CX bike to the show, he drank until 3am, rode home, properly suited up and rode for another 2 hours in the dark. Safe? No. Cracked? Yes. Welcome back Bob. At this very moment he's rearranging his basement to better accommodate training.

It's nice to know that whatever it is that motivates us to get out there during racing season can save us from ourselves during the off season. Too bad Farley didn't have that off switch. Now we'll never know what would have happened in Tommy Boy II. In the words of Dean Wormer, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son."

Sorry for getting all dark and morbid, I'll try and bring back the funny shortly. I may have one more New Years relapse in front of me, but I'm ready to get back to work. Spring is just around the corner, and that means it's time to do some road racing to get ready for CX in Fall. I guess that's how the cycle goes.

Top 5 indicators you're about to crack:

5. Your wife tells you to go outside and build a snowman. She say build it, and then punch off the head. Then rebuild it and repeat until you're no longer annoying.

4. Your shopping cart contains more alcohol and cheese than whole wheat pasta and Cliff Bars.

3. You've cleaned your bike, gotten half dressed to ride and then bailed and sat down to watch TV with a beer. It may or may not still be the morning, and you may or may not still be wearing half of your cycling attire.

2. I don't really like top 5/10 lists, skip to number 1.

1. Man boobs . . . enough said.

For those that have already cracked, welcome back. For those that have yet to crack, see you down the road.


bluecolnago said...

dark and morbid is sometimes part of life. once you crack, everything's gonna be fine. sweet.

Bryan said...

You guys are certainly keeping the "OFF" part of "off season" entertaining


Skinny Phil said...

Bluecolnago - thanks for stopping by. Glad to see our blog is make its way across the world wide web.

Bryan - good to hear from you. Hope the off season is treating you well. See at the races in Spring.