Evidently I am the queen of last minute. When I decide to do a race, I will have no money, bike or kit until the last possible moment. Something like a parachute opening seconds before it is too late. I would love to turn up to a race one day well prepared, well trained, with my gear well tried and tested. One day. When I manage to find a sponsor and don’t have to fret about saving up enough money, or having enough time to participate because one must work to pay rent and racing bikes across continents in the cheapest possible way would break the bank. Hey, a girl can dream.
That said, where there’s a will there’s a way, and as the queen of last minute, I usually manage to find one. So, what’s this year’s last minute plan? The TransAm is the longest, and I dare argue toughest, unsupported bike race across America. Come June 7, I aim to have my wheels at the Astoria starting line next to over 100 riders, for a 4,233 mile showdown on the open road, in an adventure that promises the full monty of good, bad and ugly — stunning landscapes, entertaining people, long climbs, sleep deprivation, dirt, sweat, tears, and by my track record for epic tumbles, there may even be blood. Can not wait.
Speak of tumbles, I have perfected the art of falling. There is only one way to do it which ensures minimum damage and maximum humiliation. I call it The Rag Doll and it is performed exactly as it sounds. Imagine you have no bones. Flop, flail, sommersault roll. Attempting to catch yourself by stiffening your limbs will simply break something on impact. Flip, flop, roll.
This was more or less the technique executed on my last smashing fall about a month back when it was me or the doty pensioner stepping obliviously into the road in front of me. It probably would have worked better if I hadn’t broken the fall of the cyclist after me. I didn’t feel the full impact till that night when I tried turning over in bed and nearly screamed. A cracked rib, as it turned out, takes at least 3 to 6 weeks to heal. I still continued to train on it, but even painkillers could not kill that pain.
A week later came the ol’ Spring flu which I have had trouble shaking. It’s been on and off for the last two weeks. Meanwhile time keeps counting down and getting uncomfortably close to race date. I’ve probably done myself more harm than good by trying to train without fully recovering, thereby kicking in a second and third round of flu.
With just over a month to go, here’s where I stand. I have a donation from one of my faithful private sponsors from the world cycle, which should cover my air ticket. I’ve got some pretty cool bags from a new contender on the market, Apidura. Pegasus has been kitted out with some shiny new sram Red parts. For the rest, well, fingers are crossed my parachute opens in time.
This should be an interesting race. I am keenly aware of just how close I am cutting it…again. I know I will arrive underprepared and not nearly trained enough and there are some pretty tough contenders this year. If you’re as curious as I am to see what this will mean in a race as long and hard as the TransAm portends to be, watch this space and that little blue line on Trackleaders.