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Team CLIF Bar's Winter Stoke Meter is HIGH!
Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
May 13, 2005
Barcelounger is my co-pilot

Sitting at home today, sick.  My little 2 1/2 year-old virus transportation unit wins this round and I’m down for the count - recovering as quickly as I can in hopes of being in a race-worthy state by Sunday.

This morning, as I sat in the comfort of my worn black leatherette barcelounger I thought a bit about how it’s been quite a rough start to the race season this year.  Not sure what’s up, but things aren’t going as planned.  My barcelounger has helped me through tough times in the past and I’m forced to call on its revitalizing powers once again.

Years ago, in a little bike-racing mishap, I shattered my jaw and left myself pretty tattered - the barcelounger was there to hold me.  Through thick and thin my beloved barcelounger has been there when I’ve needed it.  Thor had his hammer.  That one dude had his long hair.  I have my recliner.  It baffles me to think that some folks don’t have one of these seemingly magical mental & physical healing devices in their homes.

To bring you up to speed, I race for the small, local, primarily Cat 2 squad Solano/Art’s Auto (http://www.solanoavenuecyclery.com/team/).  What we lack in ability we try to make up for in style and teamwork.  Sporting a blue-camo team kit we strike a love-it or hate-it pose that hopefully makes folks smile.  After all, let’s face it, in full lycra outfits bike racers are a pretty goofy looking lot.  Might as well have fun with it. 

My season started with a bit of a hurdle.  I actually got suspended for two weeks.  There are two sides to this story and my side didn’t seem to get much consideration - I’ll leave it at that.  So I ended up missing two good weekends of NorCal NRC racing at McLane and Fresno.  It was early in the season, and well before my scheduled peak, so sitting out early March was bearable.  It wasn’t all doom and gloom - at McLane, my buddy Dave invited me up to share the microphone for a bit; and I did get that cool official suspension notice from USA Cycling that I can show my grandkids.

I planned my comeback so that I’d ramp up and hit May going like gangbusters.  Clear my tarnished name with a couple solid results.  Sounded good to me until I came across that slippery moss-covered wooden bridge.  That puppy packed a wallop, with a wicked shot to my lower back that called for a prompt return to the barcelounger.  Turns out recliners are great for icing lower backs.

As the back slowly recovered I started racing again and things were looking up.  By early May it seemed like things were back on track and at the Clover Crit in Santa Rosa, with a few laps to go, things looked promising.  Figured I likely had a good finish in the bag until, with two turns to go on the bell lap, I flatted.  I’m not a religious guy, but I couldn’t help thinking of Al Bundy looking into the sky and saying, "Good one, God."  I’m not sure the recliner helped me much the evening after this race.  It was frustrating stuff - but even disappointing bike races are fun.

All things considered, at least the Clover Crit was a sign that I was starting to go well again.  Tuesday after the race I did one of my favorite sprint workouts and recorded some of the better wattage results I’ve seen.  That was promising - until Tuesday night when my back seized up again.  Ouch.  Back to the recliner and then to the doctor.  Now it’s off to the x-ray lab and physical therapy.  And more time icing the back in the faithful recliner.

The May race plan looks like it might be derailing.  Seems like my body’s doing more creaking than peaking.  Cat’s Hill came and went and I sat it out.  This weekend there’s a flatter race and the back feels much better but I’m sick and I’m back in the recliner asking it for more help than it can likely muster.  I do realize that it is only an old chair.  But while the race season can be so unpredictable I always know what to expect from the old, pleather barcelounger - it’s a wonderfully comfortable spot ideal for healing, relaxing, reflecting, and planning grand bike-racing comebacks.

Let’s face it, bike racing, just like everything else in life, is better with a barcelounger.



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Le Sensation American
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