Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stop me if you've heard this one before

Well things are finally back to normal in many ways, and unfortunately I'm not liking one of the "norms" I've fallen into. Hit the rewind and strap in...

Friday night my wife misses her connection in Dallas so what should have been a 9ish arrival at home turned into 11:15. Could have been worse, but it meant the 6th straight day I was getting to bed after 11 and then getting up early. What it also meant was that any thoughts of buzzing out to Monson and signing in for the Cyclonauts race were gone since it meant a 5ish in the morning departure.

I'll tangent here for a second and say that the boys really were great last week. The oldest tried very hard to be helpful and the youngest was more manageable than usual. It also gave me a good chance to remember how to be patient with them since it's so easy to just get fired up with them quickly and I just couldn't do that last week or I'd make us all miserable. I joked with them the whole second half of the week that they just had to tell mommy what a great job daddy did.

So Saturday instead turned into karate with the middle one followed by getting the pool hooked up and running (finally) followed by a graduation party for my cousin followed by 35 minutes or so if flying around at warp speed on my bike to remind my legs how to hurt followed by an overly indulgent dinner at The Melting Pot with the inlaws followed by a pint at John Harvard's. Phew... I was tired too.

Sunday I had planned all along to race since I wanted to use my Dad's Day free pass to get away for a bit. I was going to go to Housatonic, but then got shut out of the 4's so I figured I'd just go to Wells. Conflicts with t-ball meant I was driving down and doing the B's. So I get there good and early to do a long warmup and felt ok. I'll note that this was only the 3rd outdoor ride for the Guerch and first race. We get close to start time and they decide to combine the A's and B's. Well this should be interesting... I've never done above the C race at Wells or better than a semi-fast 3/4 anywhere and now I get to race against the big boys... Yeehaw! I'd hazzard a guess that it was 60-70 guys who lined up and we're off. Pace was very sane and I just wanted to spend a while hanging around. My plan going into the B race was that I would try to break away on an early prime lap, take the prime, and then see how long I could stay away before I limped to the back. Needed a new strategy since there was no freaking way I could sprint with the horses that would typically do A's so instead I decided to put myself in a position on every prime I could to go with anything that happened after a prime sprint. That worked well for most of the race and I was really pleased that I was able to put myself near the front almost every time I wanted to. There were a few sketchy guys in the race, but not really any major drama and only one near crash that wasn't that big a deal... just a very quick brake lock by one guy and he was smart enough to get off it. So we make it through basically the whole 40 laps with nobody getting away (or even really trying). I could tell that the official wasn't thinking this was a good thing since he rang 4 or 5 primes in the final 12 laps. I almost fell over when he rang a $20 prime with 3 to go! It was clear he wanted us to mix it up, but after every prime the sprinters sat up and it was back together. So at the end of lap 39, I bust up to the front and find my teammate sitting about 7th or 8th. I jump right on, tell him I'm there, and he starts motoring. Unfortunately, we got crossed up through turn 1, I lost his wheel, and ended up 3 spots back of him. So I just tried to stay near the front hoping for a top 10. We come motoring around the turn and there's 2 cars in the finish stretch so everyone calls them out and we sit up. Great, let's do it again. At this point my teammate who was in front of me just rode off the course and figured he'd had enough fun. So I hang into a decent position as it winds up again. I started sliding back a little, but still had aspirations for a top 10 since I felt good. I hung way wide left going around the final turn to avoid any sketchyness along the right curb and figured I was in a good safe place... WRONG! We hit the start of the straightaway and all of a sudden to my right the world explodes. I hear the unmistakeable sound of impending road rash and broken bodies and now there's bikes and riders spilling left right in front of my nice safe place. I got on the brakes and picked a line through the mess and felt like I was just about to get around the last bike in my way and suddenly I'm sliding on my right side. No idea if someone fell into me, I got hit from behind, or I ran over the mess in front of me, but I was down. The damage this time is WAY less bad than Sturbridge, but I still shaved off the front of my shin, the side of my quad, and my hip/ass. Worst of it was that I banged the crap out of my elbow for the third (or is it 4th) time this year and this time put a decent gash in it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm now a road rash pro so I had the bandages at the ready. As far as the bike, it got off kinda ok, but still needs a thorough going over. To be honest, I've been too frustrated to check it out. It's also worth noting that I got out easy... two guys went home in an ambulance with what looked like pretty serious injuries. I think at least one of them will also be spending quite a bit of time at the dentist. Best to those guys for quick healing.

So now I'm again dreading the shower, messing up the sheets, and supporting 3M, J&J, and the generic factory that slops bacitraicin into a tube. As I was cleaning off the blood and gravel on Sunday I swore to myself that the next time I lined up would be cross season. I've calmed down a little, but I'm still considering just getting a refund on both races this weekend and staying home. I'm actually not 100% sure my elbow will take much abuse for a while because it's pretty screwed up. On top of it, I can't keep paying to fix bikes. I've got stuff that was brand new a week ago that may or may not be trashed. On top of that, I need to go to work on Mondays (unfortunately) so I can't keep doing this to my body. It sucks because mentally, I can't race if I know I'm not going to try to win. The moral victories of a prime or holding good position against fast people wear off quickly. If I have to sit up every time I'm not in a clear break or have a 3 man leadout train in front of me, I'm not going. I think I need to stick to mountain biking (and cross of course). At least then it's my own fault of I get banged up.

Ok, that was way longer than it should have been. Still won't stop me from maybe putting up more later.


gewilli said...


damn damn damn... shoulda done Hoos ;)

trackrich said...

Ah yes, the triple-damn begins to explain my reaction on Sunday. You're right, I need to stick to races with real hills to thin out the slackers and sketchy guys (I may be one of them).

Hope you're enjoying the vaca.