May was a milestone month for my cycling. I started the month in Northern Ireland, my 10th week of travel for the year. While there I came down with chest and ear infections which took several days to overcome with help from antibiotics. BTW, the UK has it right when it comes to medical coverage. The only thing I told the people at Urgent Care reception was my name then I told the doctor how I was feeling. I tried to ride once but after 5 miles in the drizzling rain with my Foyle Cycling Club buddies Brendan McMenamin and James McCafferty, I had to get back to the hotel. Not a great start to the month.
I did have the pleasure of seeing Stage 1 and 2 of the Giro d’Italia while I was in Northern Ireland. I joined 40+ members of the Foyle Cycling Club on a bus ride Friday the 9th over to Belfast to see the Time Trial then I spent the night in Belfast to see the start and end of the 218K Stage 2. The first time I’ve been anywhere near one of the European big races. Marcel Kittel took the stage with a super sprint at the end. This is a photo I took of the racers blazing down the last 200 meters toward the finish line in front of the Belfast Hall of Justice.
The following Wednesday I rode to the top of Mt Diablo with Ken Emerson and Steve Saeedi to see the finish of Stage 3 of the Tour of California. I was lucky enough to get VIP passes for the three of us allowing us to be up close and personal with the finishers of the stage. It was another first for me having never been so near the finish line of a professional bike race.
A week after arriving home from Northern Ireland I rode the Davis Double with Team Spotted Ass (Ken Emerson and Steve Saeedi) and Sharona Steed. I was surprised at how good I felt the first 120 miles but then hot foot started to become a problem. It really is frustrating to push the pedals up a hill when my feet are burning and aching. Since then I’ve gotten some great advice that is really helping. But back to Davis: at some point I must have eaten something that didn’t agree with me because I started to hiccup which has never happened to me on a ride. The hiccups were so violent at times it was hurting my chest and I was cursing each time so much that Sharona decided to ride on up ahead. Finally at the Fire Station at mile 191 I decided I was going to tough it out and eat one of their famous grilled cheese sandwiches which came back up in the parking lot about 10 minutes later. I didn’t feel much better and didn’t feel like getting back on my bike so I asked Sharona’s very significant other (Robert) to SAG me back so I got a big fat DNF for my trouble.
That problem with Davis caused me to re-think my Hoodoo 500 aspirations. Not just the stomach issues but the feet. I gave it another week and led a very tough ride from Los Gatos to Half Moon Bay where hot foot cut it short from the planned 108 miles to 90 and 9000 feet of climbing. The next day I led a 108-mile ride from Santa Cruz to Monterey and actually felt pretty good all day with only minor foot irritation but it’s mostly rollers and only 4000 feet of climbing.
However, with the Davis debacle and knowing it would be awhile before I could climb like I need to in order to prepare for Hoodoo I made the decision to withdraw and take it easier on my feet. My last ride of May was actually on June 1st in the form of the Sequoia Metric Century but I’ll count it as May for this update. I did the 70-mile route and set 24 PRs in the process, mostly on climbs thanks to some great advice from friends which greatly reduced my foot pain.
Next up is the two-day Santa Rosa to Pope Valley and back, June 7th and 8th. I’m riding the 200K Saturday to Pope Valley but I may take a short cut back to Santa Rosa Sunday.