Over the course of a racing season there are often peaks and troughs; high points and low points; good races and crappy races. Or no races. I drove to Canmore a week ago to race MTB Nationals which were today, but I didn't start the race because I crashed yesterday in pre-ride and my knee swelled up to the point that I couldn't bend it. I'd been riding the course all week and probably put in 7-8 laps thinking that this was going to be my best nationals yet, but one stupid slip on a technical section just before heading home ended my weekend of riding early.
I didn't think the fall was that bad at the time. It hurt, and my knee smashed a big rock fairly hard, but I thought it was just superficial and it would be good to go after cleaning up a bit of blood. When I got back to where I was staying, I iced and elevated my knee, but it swelled up like crazy. When I got up in the morning it was even worse, and I was hobbling around like a pirate.
I tried to start. Tara Baker wrapped up my knee super pro like Johnny Hoogerland, but I couldn't stand up on the pedals and was only able to spin lightly after 60 min of warming up. In a year that I have proclaimed this 'the summer of Tom', so far this is the low point.
In trying to be mentally strong and look for the positives in a negative situation, I have only found one. Marty Lazarski told me afterwards that this would make me stronger, but it won't. Not racing is not training and the people who raced today will gain fitness from pushing themselves. The only way I will gain from this is in the long term. The reason I crashed is because I was trying to ride this technical section faster than I did in earlier laps. I wanted to improve and consciously push myself to ride it faster. Realizing that I was doing this is the only bit of encouragement that I will take from this.
I'm a little bummed out. But on a more positive note, a lot of my friends and training partners had great races and it was good to cheer them on and give them weak pushes from my one good leg. I'm already looking forward to nationals next year.