Yeah I know, I haven't posted in a long time. The past 2-3 weeks have been really busy, the 5-oh, Chequamegon, getting ready for Interbike, about 2 weeks in Vegas working the trade show, and finally some vacation in CA. In order to catch you up with some details of my past month, I will start blogging right where I left off with my last post, the Dakota 50.
After the 50 I was pretty disappointed with my flat tire and was hoping to redeem myself at Chequamegon. My goal was to improve 7 minutes on last years time and hopefully place in the top 50. At the start of the race Fast Frankie and I lined up next to eachother and discussed riding together as long as we could and hopefully at the Fire Tower Hill we would do our own race. The race started just as I thought, really fast and out of control. Frank and I rode together through the road section and into the Rosie's Field, but once we hit the grass we got split up a bit and I didn't see Frank the rest of the race. I was feeling good for the first 30 minutes of the race, I was riding strong and was in what I thought I was in the second chase group.
After the "00" check point, about 40 minutes into the race, things started to go down hill, literally. On the first rocky downhill section, I was following the group when a nice "baby head" rock came shooting up at me and got ate up in my front wheel. I don't know what happened after that. All I remember was hitting the gravel, rolling up in a ball and hearing a bunch of yelling. The next thing I know I am 10 feet from my bike and in a whole world of hurt. My legs were throbbing, I was bleeding from my knees, and I had a burning sensation in my hind end. I instantly got up, scrambled to my bike and tried to get it out of the way of the other riders. Once I untangled the bars and got my chain back on I hobbled down the hill to where the corner marshal was standing.
As I walked down the hill I knew my goal was out the window and out of reach. I couldn't help but think about how bad my legs hurt and whether or not I could get back on my bike. The realization that I was not going to reach my goal was very upsetting, but the thought of not being able to finish the race really was even worse. Once I got to the bottom of the hill I asked the guy directing traffic to look at my rear and tell me if it seemed alright. He checked it out and said "it looks pretty bad", but that was all, I didn't ask him to elaborate. At this point I had been off my bike for at least 5 minutes. I didn't want to call it quits, but didn't know how riding would feel, so I gingerly got on my bike and started pedaling. I decided to try riding and if it felt bad I would stop at the next Aid Station and get help, if I felt alright I would keep going and hoped eventually someone I knew would pass me and we could ride in together.
Well the more I pedaled the better I felt, eventually I started passing people again and before I knew it I was hammering up the hills. The cuts on my legs stung a little and I still had a tingle in the rear but I kept pushing on. Maybe it was the adrenaline kicking in that kept me riding or maybe it was the fact that I didn't want to give up the race, I don't know but I kept riding.
At some point in the race a rider behind me said something that helped me realize why my butt hurt the way it did. I believe his statement was something like, "Holy shit, are you OK man ?". I said Yes, and asked what was wrong. He told me "It looks like a chainring cut you in the ass". That is when I realized during my crash someone behind me must have ridden over me, but their chainrings didn't quite clear me completely.
Now that I realized I was bleeding out of my crack, I felt like I had some tough guy points on my side, and I really had something to prove, so I continued to ride as hard as I could. I continued to pass riders the rest of the race. At around the 8 mile mark the course began to get really hilly and challenged my already fatigued legs, just like I expected. From 8 miles on I kept looking for the next mile markings and hoped my legs wouldn't cramp and lock up. 6, 5, 4 miles to go. I knew with 3 miles to go the course would start getting easier a long down hill to the finish was soon to come.
Finally, I recognized the clearing at the top of the hill, I knew once I reached the top of the climb, the end of the race was near. Just one final up hill sprint to the Finish. At 2:29:09, I finished the race. I was about 10 minutes behind my target time but I was proud to have finished the race knowing I took a hard fall and rode roughly 25 mile bleeding from my rear end.
I wanted to add a picture of my wounds here but I am on the road and writing from a laptop so I can't attach any photos.
I will show you pics when I am home, they are worth checking out.
Up Next, Las Vegas and Interbike.