Dirt Rag Magazine

TSE: The hardest part of racing is not racing, by Vicki Barclay

By Vicki Barclay,

May – a beautiful month for bike racing and bike riding. People are signing up for events left, right and center. Me? I’m starting to think of May as my bike-crashing month.

I recently finished the Cohutta 100. I earned a respectable placing, but it motivated to get more speed in my legs for my favorite race of the season – The Stan’s NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic. I pressed my recovery to be quick with special attention to my nutrition – it seemed to be working. I felt great on my mountain bike a couple of days later, darting through the forest with Rich, Mike Stanley (Niner) and Mike Bush (NoTubes). I headed to the local speed ride the following day, ready for some bike jockeying with the local fast cats.

A series of unfortunate events sent me to the ground at a ridiculous speed. I jumped to my feet immediately protesting I was fine, ignoring the fact that half of my thumb was mangled, and my arms and legs had turned to hamburger meat. Sure, I can ride home. Your bars are broken. Oh blimey. On the positive side, I thought, at least I am not getting married this year and will not be a bandaged bride.

The hospital trip was no less exciting. Rich chauffeured me around. We tried to make lightness of the situation, until it was my head that started to feel light and I began passing out. A wheelchair was provided to take me for a CT-scan. Perhaps they removed my wheelie privilege because I was smiling too much; they made me walk for my X-rays. Standing in the X-ray room alone after the pictures had been taken, the room went black, and everything started to feel, well, quite wonderful really, until I heard a crash in said lovely dream. That crash was my head whacking a tall cabinet.

Lying in my room recovering from my series of unfortunate events, I remembered a great quote an old work colleague used to have hanging above her lab bench “Less haste, More speed”. How true when it comes to bike training. Sometimes when we push for results too hard, we are quickly reined back in and down to earth.

I plucked up the courage to look at my Garmin a couple of days later to see what speed I was traveling when I hit the deck; I got dizzy when I saw 33mph! The road we were on was flat, which demonstrates the speed and quality of training you can get hanging on to that ride. So, I am down for a few days, but certainly not out. Today, I can bend my knees and thumb; surely this means I can pedal and I can shift! Training will resume in (semi) earnest.

This year’s Trans-Epic is reported to have a stacked women’s field once again. I can vouch for the stacked-ness, as I am proud to be lining up with my NoTubes teammates – Sarah Kauffman, Jenny Smith, Sue Haywood and Shannon Gibson. Will we use tactics and work as a team to raise one of our riders to the top step? You’ll just have to wait and find out.

With backing from a group of top-notch sponsors (Stan’s NoTubes, Elete, Adidas, Lazer, Cannondale, ProGold, Gu Energy, Genuine Innovations, Ergon, Crankbrothers, Kenda, Verge and fi’zik and Alpine Orthopaedics), I’m sure one of us will be driving the overall GC. Hopefully this year I will preserve my body a little more than I did during last year’s May crashing’s, as I battle through the local rocks once again, tick-tock…..

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