Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WEMS New Fane

Cale and I broke in our Duo team this weekend at the 12 Hours of (Not Enough) Gears. I was a little nervous to see how I would do- always before I had been on multiple person teams, had plenty of down time between laps and hadn't actually been racing. This was... I guess about what I had been expecting. I was tired but I pushed on (it was either that or cry about it), and we did pretty well for our first race.

What I was not expecting was a fantastic little crash in the first lap. I endo'ed over the second log pile because I was trying to make up ground and didn't see the f***er until it was too late to slow down. As I'm not good at the hopping skillz, my front wheel got a little hung up and I made it over the logs faster than my bike did. I landed on my left fist, chest, hip, then tapped my head on the ground and finally skidded to a stop, still clipped in to the left pedal even though my bike was pointed backwards (huh?). I got up quickly and got back on the bike, figuring if I could remount nothing was broken. Luckily there was a flat stretch so I assessed the damage as I got back up to speed. My hand and hip were ok, but when I landed it felt as though my ribs had been compressed a couple of inches by my weight coming down on them. I could feel them slowly returning to form. I hightailed it back to camp because, hey, there was no one to feel sorry for me out in the middle of the woods. I had to get back to camp, stat! I started stiffening up, but I kept stretching out a little bit while on the bike to keep everything limber.

After our first two laps, we started doing laps two at a time. As in, I did one, he did one, then I did two, he did two, I did two (etc)... We finished up the day with one apiece at around 6:15, I think. Around noon I was feeling like 'Hey, I'm tired but this isn't so bad. It's already noon!' Then the hours started dragging. By 3:00 I swore time was moving slower. That was the mental game- the physical game wasn't going too badly. When I was off the bike, I got pretty stiff in my torso from the crash. It hurt to laugh and move around because of my hip and my chest, but luckily while on the bike I could do everything as normal (i.e. with my usual mediocrity). Early on in the day I started feeling like I had gone out too fast and was going to have nothing left, but I began to figure out that wasn't the case.

Even though I was definitely slowing down in the afternoon, I got familiar with the trail and started to do some things much more efficiently. I also knew that I could go on biking for a long time while feeling tired. (Duh, right? But sometimes I get hung up on the idea that 'It's all down hill from here' and forget it takes a long time to reach the very bottom.) There were a few notable hills on the course, and toward the end of the day when I came to these hills, I would dig in and get up them. Sure I was tired and the hills weren't as easy, but I was happy to realize that it would be a long time before I had absolutely nothing left and could no longer make it up them. As it happened, I made it up all of them the entire day.

Speaking of, 'the entire day' ended a few hours early because were were firmly in 3rd place- a good amount ahead of 4th (another mixed duo) and a small but insurmountable amount (a full lap with 2 hrs to go) behind second place (two guys). By the time I did my last lap I was feeling good again- slow, but feeling good. I was even feeling like I could do another lap, but then again, I was also feeling like I could go and sit in a chair and put my feet up... you know what won. It was also nice to get to talk to Cale, who I hadn't seen all day! I hadn't thought about that aspect of doing a duo race. It's like they're not even there, because you never see them lounging around between laps like you do everyone else, and you don't get to discuss favorite parts of the course and close calls or wildlife sightings with them.

All in all, a good time. On Sunday I could hardly gather the strength to do anything, but luckily, there was no need to. I'm still recovering from my fall, but I'm fortunate that I didn't land a different way and wrench something out of place. It still hurts to sit up from laying down and my my chest feels like it got drop kicked, but I know all it needs is time and it'll get right again.

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