April 12, 2010

Cryptococcus and a Criterium

This year's Icebreaker Crit turned out to be a nice "break"through for me. As too many of you know, I contracted a blood infection last fall through a wound I got in a cross race. It took until mid-January to discover what it was.

Cutaneous Cryptococcus is rare. The doctor who removed most of the infection from an area on my leg had never seen it. It's quite rare to contract ever. Of those that do get it, most have HIV. Then, of those that get it, most get it by inhalation, so by the time is shows up on the skin, the disease is pretty advanced. My version was that tiny % of a tiny % of a tiny % that actually contract Crytococcus through a wound on the skin.

Since then, I have been on a heavy dose of an antifungal medication. Luckily, it only targets the infection, not damaging healthy cells. However, liver was working double time, my appetite was practically non- existent, and I spent the last 3 months, quite disappointed in my racing. I started 7 races and finished 3. Although I tested negative for the disease in early March, the doctor wanted me to stay on drugs for another month to be sure it was totally gone.

I came home from visiting mom and Larry in Kentucky on Saturday, the 3rd. I attempted to race a cat 3/4 criterium on Sunday. It was flat, and so was I. The 35 minute race only lasted about 10 minutes for me. That was it. No more drugs.

My logic: I had tested negative, and was now taking medication for an infection that only had about a 1% chance of still being in my system. The next Wednesday, I finally saw doctor again... and he agreed, after much SYA discussion.

So, on to the crit yesterday....

We had 12 riders, which by Oregon standards, from what I can remember, isn't too bad for a crit. Or course, I haven't really raced much on the road for two years, so no clue what field sizes have been like. The race was pretty typical. Lots of riding tempo around and around, with the occasional attack. There was a nice wind coming from the north. I spent most of my energy playing a game called, Stay Outta da Wind. Not too many ladies seem to know how to play this game. Oh well. If you want to ride directly behind the wheel in front of you with a strong wind hitting your left, then your right side... that's cool. The only trick to this game on a "D" shaped course was in the last turn (think bottom of the big "D") on to the front straight, trying to take an inside line to stay wind free.

Early on, I launched a little "I'm-not-really-attacking-just-opening-up-the-system" attack. It was good! I took the 2nd prime- a large pizza for a pizza joint in Eugene. Super great.Because I'm in Eugene about 2 times a year. Like I mentioned, pretty uneventful. A comical part was when this girl (snicker) thought she could (giggle)... push E-Charb....(hoooooo) off of a wheel she wanted. Um, yea. Not even I can get Emily off a wheel she wants. OK, maybe I could, but she's my home girl, so... I probably never will. There was a firm elbow and a shoulder check,along with a little bumping. There were a couple "Woaaaaah"s from behind. I was off to the side (refer to wind game).... laughing.

OK, enough rising actions here. Finally we were down to 3 laps to go. If you were following the conflict that I have sucked at racing this spring, then we've already hit the climax. I survived feeling all right. If you're following the conflict, that I haven't placed well in a criterium in a few years, the climax isn't much better. At 2 to go one women attacked pretty hard. Of course, I was about 8th back in the group and this girl had attacked a few times already. (ding dong) 3 women linked up quickly to chase, followed by another 3 including me. Now sure how it all went down, but in the end, I finished 6th. Had Emily and I chatted and planned a little before or during the race, we could have at least been better positioned to be 2nd and 3rd. Had we felt even more confident, we could have surprised out little party and worked together to... win. Next time.

I'm just excited to finally feel like my training all winter, fighting infection and drugs is going to pay off. I'm actually looking forward to spending my Tuesday nights this month at PIR with the boys.