Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 SCX#2 - Steilacoom

I delayed doing a write up of this race for over a week, somehow hoping I would find some way to have it permanently removed from my short term memory.  Everyone has a bad day on the bike.  With a full race schedule that started back in mid February and won't stop until the beginning of December you're bound to have a couple of races you would rather forget.  This was one of those races. 

My weekend started out in spectacular fashion.  Denise and I packed up the RV and headed to Leavenworth for Oktoberfest.  We had a great time.  I managed to even keep myself in check amongst the thousands of beer guzzling, lederhosen wearing party goers.  We made it back to camp and hung out around the fire for a while.  I actually managed to get an OK night of sleep.  I got up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning  and made the trek back over the pass.  I was looking forward to this race.  I finished well at both races there last year and was amped to kill it again.  I made it to venue in plenty of time and was able to get in a couple of laps on the course.  It was to my liking, wide open with some good climbing(for a cx race). I did notice I was a little stiff while warming up.  Standing on my feet all weekend + bad sleeping position + driving three hours straight to the race = stiff old man.  I decided to put in about 40 minutes on the training to try get more loosened up.

 I was sitting in 2nd overall after the 1st race so I got my call-up to the front row.   The gun sounded and off we went.  I had an OK start but by the time we entered the infield I was sitting 10th wheel. I soon realized I was feeling pretty good as I blew by six or seven guys during the first few turns and put myself in third right behind my teammates Mark and Dave.
The three of us set the pace through the lower section of the course.  We reached the downhill single track section still sitting 1,2,3.  As we came around the hairpin to start heading uphill I had a slight miscue.  Two guys were able to get by me but I was not worried.  By the time we reached the highest point on the course we were in a long single file line behind Mark.  Things were looking good.  We descended downhill and as we started lap two I was still in 5th there was no separation between me and the leader (Mark).  There were at least 10 others lined up right behind me as well.  This was going to be a battle.

Things were still going well at this point but that was about to change.
 I made the whipped around the tight hairpin and started up the climb still sitting 5th.  It was about that time I started to feel a sharp pain in my lower left back.  I have never had any kind of back pain while racing a bike so this was new to me.  It wasn't too bad so I just pushed on, hoping to just ride through it.  I managed to reach the top of the first climb right with the leaders.  We wound our way up towards the top of the course and that is where things started to fall apart.  The pain in my back went from tolerable to excrutiating.  It was hard to focus.  I felt like I was still driving hard but before I knew it the strong guys behind me slowly started to move by.  I was sitting 10th.  I was still in the mix and I figured that I could recover during the downhill sections....NOT!!  I had to change my position on the bike and while I was focusing on that two more guys made it by before we reached the bottom.  I kept pedaling but it was hard.  I reached the barrier section right before the start/finish and had trouble making it over, looking like the poster child for how NOT to get through barriers.  The hecklers let me have it. 

Lap four SUCKED!!  As I made my way down the paved section I looked over and saw the leaders already well through the first infield section.  Shit!!  I am going backwards.  As I struggled my way through the course I was getting passed one by one and was soon sitting around 20th.  Now it was time to just cut my losses and not drop down any further.  I started the climb and the pain factor was through the roof.  I eased up a little and that is when I noticed my left leg was going numb.  WTF was happening.  I basically pedaled up the hill with one leg.  By the time I made it to the top I had been passed by several more guys and two of the 1/2 women that started a minute behind us.  I was not a happy camper.  I basically coasted downhill at a snails pace to try to recover. 

When I started the last lap I wasn't even thinking about racing anymore.  I was completely consumed by the pain and my rubber leg.  I made it though the first part of the infield and as I passed the pits I realized I couldn't go on and collapsed onto the infield. As soon as I rolled on my back and stretched out the pain went away.  Several people ran over to see if I was OK and I just smiled and told them I was fine.  They probalby thought I was crazy.  I probably laid there without moving for five more minutes. I slowly made it to my feet and started to walk.  I could still feel a little pain but my leg was no longer numb.  I grabbed my pit bike and slowly walked back to my car.  I didn't care about the DNF but  was really worried about what had just happened.  I figured I would be in the doctors office Monday morning. 

When I got up Monday I had no pain or discomfort.  I decided to ride into work and had no issues.  I continued to train on the road all week and everything felt good.  I'm guessing it was just a freak thing related to the 100 or so WRONG things I did leading up to the race.   I continued to stretch every night throughout the week.  Hopefully this will never ever happen again.  Stay tuned for Silver Lake next  Sunday.

photos by Andrew Malocoff
Andrew's House of Bytes

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