Pushing Your Body for 24 Hours
After reading an article that was at Velonews.com yesterday, it made me think about how tough this sport can be and to what lengths some athletes will go to win or just finish. I haven't been to the point where Craig Gordon was with his painfully big win at the 24 Hour WC's this past weekend, but I have gone past the point where you start questioning yourself about how important is it to finish with stomach/knee/leg issues during a 24 hour event that would normally have me off my bike during traing and shorter XC racing. I'm not sure what drives us endurance athletes to risk injury, possibly long term, but I do know that with all the preparation that is involved getting to a 24 hour event, and because most of us are very competitve, these events turn into a mental vs. physical battle that in my two situations this season had me mentally pushing past multiple vomiting laps and a leg locking knee issue to keep going because I'm too competitive along with a pit crew that would keep my morale high while trying to treat me for whatever ailment was trying to stop my race. Is endurance racing worth the risk of bodily injury or long term health issues? Yes, if during competition the racers issues aren't life threatening and your pit crew has a handle on the situation. No, if it gets to a certain point where bodily damage or long term health issues are resulting, but at that point it's hard for the pit crew to make a call to pull the plug as most of us endurance racers are tired and delirious at one time or another during a 24 hour event and our answers about how we are doing are still locked in and focused on finishing no matter what the situation. Also, sometimes the pit crews are just as adrenalized as the racers looking for the best result possible and this can lead to going one too many laps, which in Gordon's case could have caused more serious health issues to a body that had run too far past the reserve mark in his fuel tank. The link to the article about Craig Gordon and the 24 Hour WC's is at Velonews.com.