Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stupid is As Stupid Does

Anyone know a good couple's counselor? Preferably one that specializes in the complicated, and frequently abusive, relationship between a woman and her mountain bike.

I love that bike, don't get me wrong. It's exactly what I wanted when I bought the bike and, well, its pink. But a recent exchange of physical and verbal assaults has got me rethinking our communication style.

Saturday: 8 Hours of Independence Mountain Bike Race near Philomath, Oregon. Sam and I were a team, Jeff and Beth were a team. I thought: perfect way to spend the Fourth of July...four hours of mountain biking with some rest and plenty of time to refuel. Get some skills practice in and stay out of trouble until later in the day.

Problem....95 degree temperatures, no real mountain bike climbing skills and shoes that were most definitely not made for pushing a bike uphill for 10-15 minutes each lap. I started having heat problems almost immediately into the major climbing sections on my first lap and my feet were covered in blisters by the end of the second lap. Decided to call it a day. Sam, being crazy, fit and a remarkable mountain biker, proceeded to keep riding--for three more hours.

Our "team" did eight laps: LK-2, Sam-6. I spent most of that in the shade, reading and drinking beer. And being totally OK with being a lazy sloth. Although, I do have to say that reading fucking Ayn Rand is no walk in the park.

I'm going to start researching endurance athletes and adaptation to racing and training in the heat. When I sat down later that day and really thought about my history as an athlete, dating back to the dark period known as "high school," I have consistently had problems with overheating. My first half-ironman in 2006 and the Mt. Hood road race this year are the most egregious examples. But I can also remember struggling in overheated gyms when I played basketball and getting bloody noses in crowded dance clubs. Am I doomed to spring and fall racing or is there something I can do to change how my body regulates itself?

Monday: Short track. I rolled up to PIR fairly distracted by personal issues of the non-biking nature and not feeling an single ounce of competitiveness. But after two pre-ride laps and the discovery that there were some new, fun faces to race with this week, I could feel a little fire building in my belly.

Our start was on a gravel road this week, 100 meters of treachery before rolling into the grass. The course favored the better technical riders and I wanted a fast start to get a cushion.

This plan lasted 4 pedal strokes.

When the whistle blew, I took 3 stokes to get clipped in (or what I though was clipped in) and on the fourth stood up to build some speed. My right foot slipped off the front of the pedal, my back wheel slid out and down I went. Hard. In the Gravel. Straight onto my right knee.

I immediately covered my head with my arms, hoping to avoid becoming total roadkill. I think someone made it over the top of me, as I have a large gash in my left side that looks like it was caused by a chainring. Team Beer's Danielle had the unfortunate luck to be right behind me when I fell and her seat ended up wedged in the back of my helmet.

After the non-Lindsay carnage had been cleared, I just lay there for 15-30 seconds, head ringing and unable to move my right leg. Some friends hauled me off the course, as I couldn't really feel my lower right leg and couldn't put any weight on the knee.

Once safely in the grass, the feeling in my knee and leg quickly returned. But I do wish the knee could have stayed numb a bit longer. The skin on it was hanging off in huge flaps and blood was quickly making its way through the layer of gravel and dust.

The medics should really keep a bottle of whiskey in their supplies. Not for sterilizing wounds, but for placating idiot bike racers that are having a pound of gravel excised from their bodies after a crash. The inside of my fingers and hands are still bruised from grabbing the chair to avoid the more instinctive reaction of backhanding the volunteer medic. The latter would have been very bad form.

Made it home safely with the help of a teammate and made it to sleep quickly with the help of vicodin and vodka. The V&V was a great sedative and absolutely essential to working up the courage to unwrap the bandages and reclean the wound. Somehow, being slightly drunk and high takes the edge off of looking at a part of one's own body and realizing that it looks suspiciously like ground beef. Ugh.

I'm about 40 hours out from the wreck at this point and my knee has swollen to the size of a softball and is the opposite of aesthetically pleasing. Definitely won't be riding Tabor tonight (in fact, can't ride at all and have been guiltily driving to work) and my plans to head to the track Friday and Sunday are on hold for the time being.

The prospect of getting back into shape for cyclocross has become more and more daunting with each passing day. My plan to take 2-3 weeks of active recovery has morphed into a six-week streak of lazy hedonism and, now, dealing with the primordial, puffy ooze attached to my right leg. But my hip has stopped aching 24/7 and, if I can get through the acute day-to-day feeling of out-of-shape guilt, I think my body will be thanking me in December for being a clumsy fool in July.


Cramps said...

WTF. Stay off that damn mountain bike. Mountain bikes aren't for racing their for playing on. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a lying, one-footed pirate.

Cramps said...

sorry, 'they're' not 'their'
-never mind the comma fault