Disclaimer: The following is a description of my recovery from a prolonged concussion. None of this should be read as medical recommendations, and I strongly urge anyone who has had a head impact or suspects a concussion to see a doctor specializing in concussions as soon as possible. I wanted to share this story, not to offer medical advice, but to shed light on an highly mercurial injury whose recommendations are changing very rapidly as it becomes better understood. Every concussion is unique, and only a professional knows how to distinguish between unpleasant but non-serious symptoms versus symptoms that may point to something much more serious that could lead to serious complications or permanent brain damage.
2017 was going to be the year that I’d try for CX Nationals. Fall 2016 would have been my fourth real CX season after two fairly strong ones as a cat 3, and I finally felt mentally ready to say that yes, I wanted to see how far I could go in this strange, wonderful sport I fell into, and yes, my life circumstances finally allowed me to structure my schedule to make this happen.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. Although I had a passably strong martial arts background, I had been a very mediocre XC runner in high school, and it was to my great surprise one day that I was somehow able to win a bike race. I was very comfortable with being a “mediocre” athlete, but it was also empowering to believe that a part of my identity I thought was unchangeable, I actually could change. It was another sea change to begin to wonder and possibly believe that perhaps I could be part of an elite group of athletes, that even if I was far from being a contender of National Champion, that I would at least be a part of “the best” at something athletic.
As one does when reaching for lofty goals, I found a coach to build accountability. After years of luddite resistance, I purchased a power meter and garmin, learned to use them, and altered my decade of ingrained ride routine to include data downloads (the horror). I didn’t skip any workouts, but between my full-time job as an architect and my part-time job as an adjunct professor of architecture, it meant I frequently got very little sleep. I wasn’t too worried though, as when school let out, I’d have more time to recover and build before the fall CX season. I kept dreaming.
The Quietest Punch to the Face