Le Bons Temps Roule Episode 1

My Bayou Bouledogue Journal 
                 Le Bons Temps Roule
Episode 1 “Tour de Tuscaloosa”                      
Ten months ago, I relocated from Chicago, where I had trained, raced, and studied for eleven years, to New Orleans to pursue the next step in my academic career.  While there have been numerous challenges, it was easy to grasp the charms of this old, grand, and unique city.  The architecture is both beautiful and tragic; the people complicated and energetic. 

One aspect that has been less of a challenge and certainly a joy has been riding my bike and restarting my racing career.  Even on the worst of winter days, I could always ride outside, and the temperature reached seventy degrees in January on some days.  Over that time I gradually regained my fitness, lost a great deal of weight, and regained a degree of confidence that I had been lacking for me on the bike for some time.  A great deal of this fitness rests on the solid base of support and training I received from OYM.  I spent at least two of the last three winters working with Emily on core fitness and simply riding the computrainer in the hopes of recovering from a series of difficult surgeries on my spine.  There were occasions when I felt gross and slow, but Emily and Anette (along with my team and other loved ones) were always there with encouraging words to make sure that I never lost hope in racing again. 

With this in mind, I would like to tell everyone about the first of what I hope will be many tales of amateur racing success here in the Deep South.  It started this past weekend in Alabama at the Tour de Tuscaloosa with a criterium and a road race.
This was certainly a tame criterium that had the potential to be very difficult.  Not knowing what to expect from a racing pool that I had never raced against, I kept it simple and waited for the finish.  My caution limited my success and I came in with an easy 13th place.  Although, I did have to admit that while my steady-state speed has been well-honed over the winter, my top end speed was lacking.

Road Race
It was a beautiful course on a fantastic day with the red soil of the south contrasting well with the green of the trees.  During the course of the first lap I did everything I could to test my fitness against a larger field. I think I laid down four attacks in ten miles and even managed to pull off a small group on one of the larger hills.  But we never really organized, and were eventually swallowed over the top.  It seemed that the race was going to be dominated by either the team wearing orange or the team wearing red and blue, and that if neither of those teams had initiated (not just represented) in the break, those teams would either chase it down or sit in the wheels.  They even rode negatively when their riders were dropped from the break and so were clearly racing for second place.  For my part, the early efforts would add up in the end, and not having made the break, there was little left for the finale into the finish.  There were times when I thought that a few of us riding on our own could potentially tear off a second break, but I had burned all of my matches was fighting considerable cramping and could not affect any outcome, especially with the large teams just riding wheels. 
It ended up being two fantastic days of racing.  I am looking forward to racing more with the teams down here.  They were strong, polite, and real enthusiasts of the sport. 

Keep coming back to this site for the next edition of my Bayou Bouledogue Journal, brought to you by OYM Coacing + Training.