One second? ONE SECOND?!?!

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

So I lost the Readington overall by 1 second to Dave Freifelder of Westwood Velo – Trade Manage Capital. People came up to me after the race and said, “Kenny, that must really burn,” etc etc, and I will be honest — it actually doesn’t.

#1, I like Dave. He’s actually a great guy, has zero vanity out there, zero ego, just a great guy with whom to talk and hang. (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), I even asked him to re-pin my number after a pin popped after putting on my skinsuit. That was a big test, lol…

# 2, I really had no idea how I was going to feel out there… Was wrecked on TUE WED with a sore throat, felt better and better each day after, but just rode easy for 45 minutes on THUR and FRI with zero openers, so NOT ideal preparation. I knew being sick mid-week did not necessarily mean a flat day on SAT, so I was keeping my fingers crossed and doing EVERYTHING to ensure I would recover in time. In my youth, I probably would’ve screwed this up, but in my “old age” 🙂 I’ve learned how to hold back and be a mature rider…

# 3, bottom line: if I coulda gone faster, I woulda. IT IS WHAT IT IS. On the way out, on that first gradual downhill, with the H3D front wheel on there, I was nearly blown off the road with a gusty crosswind. Just a chaotic front wheel to handle, damn! I had to come out of the bars, claw the bullhorns, and I’m thinking, Frickin’ great, Walters (my 30-second man) is gonna catch me before the damn turnaround. This mishap really ruined my rhythm, as I started accelerating far too hard, pushing too big of a gear, could feel myself not staying as low as I should because I was tensing up…

However, the bad start almost made for a perfect return. Perhaps a flawed start forced me to ride even better for the rest of the event? But that’s racing, adapting to what happens and seeing what you can do… I averaged 31 mph on the way back, in TT nirvana, just FLYING along, quickly getting my 1-minute man in sight and hunting him down like a wild dog. I was loose and relaxed and able to empty watts all over the road, just had that beautiful feeling like I was always accelerating. We pray for these days, and in such a short TT (I HATE short TTs!!!) after a wacky week, I was elated to be feeling this way.

Of course, Freifelder was able to eke me by one second, but that’s time trialing. He’s the better rider. It’s one thing to train right. It’s one thing to prepare right. It’s quite another thing to EXECUTE out there, and Freifelder has shown stellar eye of the tiger at both Sandy Hook and Readington, winning both events. But I’m happy — I ran a good race, and that’s all I wanted. I should note, very graciously, that at the turnaround Jason Walters of Guardian Coaching had certainly put considerable time into me, thought he was going to win, and then afterwards I hear he was blocked by a landscaping truck. Looking at the times, Jason six seconds back, I’m certain he would’ve won the overall…

Chris Fritz of the Pro Pedals Cycling Team put in a BLITZING time. I had tapped him on Facebook as THE favorite to win — I really thought he had it in him. And he was RIGHT there, just a few seconds behind us, but he goofed up and started the race in the smallring and lost time trying to shift into that 54… Hey Fritz, no smiling words for you here, bud — that’s on you. 🙂 Live and learn!!!

I am just so happy to be racing again this year. Not to get super emotional or anything, but last year was a nightmare. I stopped racing in mid-2008, burned out and also spooked by Sal Abbruzze’s crash on the Gimbel’s Ride, did not ride for 9 months… Then started training again in the Spring of 2009 — only to be smashed head-on by a motorcycle on the Nyack Ride. Chaotic, surreal times… Shattered knee, pretty much out of commission for the summer…

So what does one do? Well, I was able to sit home all day and coach my athletes, do a ton of reading and researching, really was productive coaching-wise.

At night, sadly, I would limp (albeit slowly) to the local bar and sit there and drink beer (I missed out on this phase of my life, lol) and eat pizza, becoming very fat and very out of shape. Adding up the weeks, my body really went to (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*). I was injured, couldn’t really do anything, and the knee was hurting a lot. Drinking helped ease the pain, but it was almost an outlet for me? But May, June, July, August, almost just blurs. My weight went up to 180, HEAVY for me. It was a long stretch there… Going to the bar lead to bringing beer home, leading to regularly stocking the fridge, leading to drinking almost every night — this casual drinking became a common activity. It was never a problem, as I was almost hyper-active during the day with work, but of course I wasn’t happy with what I was doing by night…

And then, late-summer, I was finally able to take my first pedal reps and a lightbulb just went on. Cold turkey, just stopped going to the bar, stopped buying beers, emptied the fridge, started riding again. Just like that. It was a beautiful transition. And I remember how slow I felt, how weak I was, how heavy I felt on the climbs during short endurance rides. But… I have a profound love for the bike, just enjoyed being out there…

By the fall, I started on a light program again, with the almost unrealistic goal of rocking the TTs in 2010. With two years away from racing and a broken knee, I had NO IDEA how I was going to do. But this year, more than ever, I am HUNGRY to race. I am happy and just so eager to compete, to really appreciate where I am now when I think back to 2009… More so than ever, I am interested in seeing what I find inside myself each and every time I reach that point where I’m gonna crack. Will I be content to hover at this speed, or can I find more?

My training has gone very well thus far, very steady. I’ve done a few races and group rides, and I will say my 1 2 5 10-minute maxes are DOWN, but my 20 and 30-min maxes are stronger than ever… Sandy Hook and Readington, although NJBA TTs, were nothing events on my calendar. If I rock Sandy Hook and Readington and am flat in June, I’d consider the year a failure. NOW is the time for me, this block from mid-April to June, as the body is 100% prepped for the specialized workouts that will come. I’m hoping I can whittle down the weight and increase the FT by 15-20w and really hit stellar peak form for the Killington P12 Stage Race and then the NJ State TT Championships, two time trials I really, REALLY want to to rip. And if I don’t win, I just want to shatter my PR in Chatsworth. I can’t control how fast anyone else can go, but I can control how fast I will go. And I’m eerily motivated to go faster than I ever have.

It just shows that you can do anything you set your mind to. Cheesy but true. Going from a tennis player to a cyclist again to an injured gimp to a fat/borderline alcoholic to a recreational rider to a fit road racer, all in less than 11 months. You just need to believe and control everything within your control and make your goals happen. Easier said than done, but if it were easy it wouldn’t be any fun at all.

Cycling for so many has had such a positive impact, and this is just one instance where I’m thankful each and every day I became a cyclist way back when 🙂

NOTE: Mark Cywin, an Elite Endurance athlete, has been in my thoughts every minute since I heard of his crash… One word, bud: BELIEVE. I look forward to ridin’ with you up to the Spoon for some cookies and coffee… It’ll be no time at all, Mr. Cywin… I will continue sending positive energy your way…

See y’all on the road.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Monday, April 19th, 2010 | | |