Racing While Sick is a Bad Idea

Heading into the second race of the Rockleigh Criterium Series I knew I was in trouble before ever turning over a pedal. Following my solo win in week one I immediately came down with a cold that contributed to a big fat DNF at Bound Brook Criterium two days later. 

In fact as my cold lingered past Memorial Day Weekend my coach gave very specific instructions not to race until I was 100% healthy. It was very good and rational guidance. Then I decided to ignore it (sorry coach). My thought process went something like: "I am in the series leader's jersey and if Tom Dumoulin can take a road side shit to defend his Giro leader's jersey surely I can ride in circles for an hour to defend mine?" Or something like that...

Whatever the broken logic I rolled to the start line for the second race in the Rockleigh Series on a warm Thursday night featuring perfect blue skies. From our foursome in week one we were missing Ted and Daghan due to their travel schedules but Scudney was once again joining in the fun. The game plan was for Scuds to get up the road while I did the absolute minimum to stay in the race without aggravating my cold and hope for the best from my body in the finale.

Of course things didn't go to plan - multiple groups went up the road throughout the race and while Scuds managed to get into one of them I had to do a fair amount of work marking Juan Saurez, the second place rider in the series, as he attempted to bridge across. That cost me the few matches I had to burn - when the race largely came back together for the sprint finish my legs (and more importantly my lungs) were absolutely toast and the best I could manage was 10th place. 

It wasn't enough to defend the leader's jersey but the more pressing question is probably whether ignoring my coach's good and rational advice is going to leave me backtracking on getting healthy going into a big weekend of racing with the Dave Jordan Central Park Classic and the White Plains Downtown Criterium. Maybe next time I'll actually listen to sound logic and skip on the racing until I'm healthy...



Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/