For all of my talk about racing I didn't end up going last weekend. There was a laundry list of reasons- some excuses, rationalizations and justifications for a decision I ended up being mostly OK with.
First was Saturday's unraveling. I'd planned to drive to the airport to drop Carrie off, and assuming fairly normal conditions for traffic and the boarder crossing I figured on getting home around 9:30 PM. That was manageable, and I was able to get the bike and the rest of my kit totally prepped before I left.
The monkey wrench was construction and the three additional hours it added to the trip. After driving in that much gridlock I was worn out when I finally got home at 11:30. That much sitting wasn't too bad, and the back injury I sustained earlier in the week was relatively unobtrusive.
How did I hurt my back? Well first I thought it was from sleeping on it wrong, but I realized that I had been moving several 4' x 8' sheets of plywood from an overhead rack at Home Depot. They weren't super heavy, but I do recall at one point thinking that a smarter person would have asked one of my orange aproned friends for assistance. That thought ran through my head as held a piece directly overhead and was turning to put it down on my lumber cart.
I was also feeling pretty smoked from the intense 4 week training block I'd just completed which added to the insult (traffic) and injury (plywood pirouette).
It's been a few years since I've successfully completed and Olympic distance cross country race, but realistically I've been doing some shorter, harder efforts at Catamount and some endurance races so I should be able to handle. Really the question would be pacing and how much it was going to hurt.
Last year I didn't get a chance to take advantage of my form more often, and I wish I could have tested myself at some standard XC events. I do really want to fit some of those in this season, just not when the cards are stacked against me.
It's always a fine line between staying sharp and not wearing myself out with too much intensity. After all you have to be fit to race, and there's no better way to build fitness than racing.