Black Flagged (Naperville Sprint) (8/4/18)

“Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people too.” – Jimmy V

While he was talking about his battle with cancer, this seemed an apt quote to start this blog with — Just replace say and said with do and did, and it’ll all tie together. For me, the time clock has been and always will be related to my vision. As I’ve said before, I was told that I’d be completely blind by 30. Coming close to 40 and still having a decent amount of vision sometimes makes me ask the question of ‘when will it run out?’

But the overwhelming majority of the time, I’m able to shove that question back. It’s in line with what I was telling a neighbor earlier today. I can either be disappointed with what I don’t have or make the most of what I do. And I clearly choose the latter.

However, earlier this week, I wasn’t able to do that. I had Naperville on the schedule for tomorrow, and we were doing pre-race fit/practice Tuesday night. As we were going to work on turns, I put on the flat peddals instead of the clips. And as we continued to ride, I was getting more comfortable without the ‘safety blanket’ of the clip there. But as we made one of the final turns towards home, my left side pedal fell out. Initially, I thought it had just come unscrewed. But when Natalie looked at it, she confirmed that the threading was stripped.

At that point, while I was disappointed that it had happened, I was confident that we’d be okay. In my head, I thought ‘it’s just a standard crank; every bike shop should have it.’ But that thought was soon prooved wrong on Wednesday when every bike store, including CoMotion licensed dealers said they had to order it and I wouldn’t get it until after the race.

At this point, I started looking at plans B, C, D and E (as usual). While I really wanted to race, what it ultimately came down to was safety. I’ve got so much left in this season (Triathlon and Running along with other sports) that racing just wasn’t worth the potential risk caused by rushing a fit or being uncomfortable on a quickly borrowed bike. So I scratched it before end of day Wednesday.

What I struggled with most of the day was losing a race and the ever-present uncertainty of length of vision. Long story short, the underlying theme of the interal thoughts as I tried to salvage the race was ‘How many more of these will I get before the vision disappears?’

Not a fun day to say the least, but I did have friends helping me throughout. Even still, it took until after football practice before I finally got perspective. What caused it was the parallel of being upset about missing football games (medical) in the moment that it had happened and seeing things in the larger scheme when I had come back.

If you’ve gotten this far, you may be saying ‘that’s all well and good, but what’s the point?’ Well, there are a few:

1) Regardless of what the endeavor is, you’ve got to keep perspective. And quickly get it back when you lose it. Something’s going to hit the fan periodically; how you deal with it determines success.

2) Being proactive as possible will protect you from yourself. After this happened, I committed to purchasing extra parts. It won’t stop a crank or derailer from wearing out or breaking. But having extras, especially on remote races, will help ensure that it’s a quick fix.

3) It’s okay to keep thoughts like I mentioned at the top in your mind. Just don’t let them control you. Beat the chimp; every time.

I am grateful that I was given a deferral for 2019. That also helped with the entire process, knowing that the race wasn’t fully ‘lost’.

Finally, for those of you wondering why I would share something like this, the answer is simple. When I started the blog, I promised to share openly throughout the journey– warts and all. This definitely falls into the ‘warts’ category…

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