Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sequim (Tour de Dung) Road Race #2

I know I live in the PNW and for the most part I love it.  The last two months were abnormally dry but now that the season has started it hasn't stopped f'ing raining.  I'm sick of neoprene gloves and shoe covers, arm/leg warmers and rain capes.  Last week was pretty much a rained soaked mess but it looked like it might, maybe, possibly be dry for Sequim 2.  I did my usual thing by heading over in the RV Friday afternoon.  I made my routine stop at Sound Brewing for a beer and then on to a campground near Dungeness.  I woke up Saturday morning to kind of nice weather and was cautiously optimistic. 

My jobs for the morning races were the same as last week, course setup and corner six traffic marshal.  I should have known that the day was going to be interesting after my major dumb f*ck move towards the end of the morning races.  There were two of us working that corner and I had the radio.  It wasn't working well during the first couple of laps and I just mainly heard half garbled communications.  For some reason it started working better half way through the race.  At some point I think a small breakaway group in the Cat 5 field passed the Cat 4 pack.  I heard "1 lap to go" over the radio and thought, cool, one more for the 4's which would mean two more for the 3's.  Then my radio started acting up again and the only guys I could hear clearly were the lead cars just before they reached our corner.  During this lap I got a "Cat 3 field approaching corner six!"  I replied, "Copy that." and we did our job stopping traffic.  After that we packed up and headed back to the parking lot.  I signed up for the Pro/1/2 race and slowly started to get changed in the RV.....BAM, BAM, BAM!  "Hey man, the race isn't over, we need to head back out there!"  I was pretty much buck naked and there was no way I could get dressed and out the door in time.  Lucky for me it all worked out OK thanks to Jonathon and Aaron.  When they announced one lap to go it was for the 5's in the breakaway, not the 4's that were just behind....DOH!!

Anywho, Zach and I were the only two on the team lining up for the Pro/1/2 race which was 84 miles.  It was chilly but DRY so I was pretty happy.  We had a good sized field of 72 with several pros in the mix.  It looking to be a good one.  It was pretty much the same as last week.  The race started, HSP attacked and things sorted themselves out from there.  So far the race was pretty uneventful. 

I think that changed with two laps to go.  The darkest clouds you've ever seen were quickly approaching and it was only a matter of time before they were going to let loose some nasty ass weather on us.  We all made jokes about it but hoped it would just hold off long enough for us to finish.  Apparently there had been an early crash near or on the climb where someone broke a collar bone.  I had no idea that happened and then John Flack had the misfortune of having a major bike failure when we hit the rumble strips on lap six that sent him to the ground and then the hospital.  For how violent it looked and sounded I was surprised he came out of it with mainly road rash. 

We felt a few drops start to fall but it did look like we might get the full race in without getting wet.  With about 3K to go I decided I wanted to be in the mix for the finished and worked my ass off to stay about 5th or 6th wheel.  It was tough but by the time we reached the 1K mark I was right where I wanted to be.  HSP was setting tempo at the front and I was sitting 4th wheel right behind Richter.  I was in the best position you could be in.  I know I can't out sprint him but If I could hold his wheel until he unleashed his fury I was pretty sure I was looking at a top 5 finish.  As we approached the hill his lead out crew notched it up a bit and it was game on.  I could  other guys coming up on my left but things were looking good.  With about 250m to go I was making checks and just waiting for Richter to go.  The situation couldn't have been more perfect for me............And then........Mother F*cker!  Before I knew what was happening I was on the ground.  I have gone down before but I usually sense something bad is happening and things seem to go in slow motion.  Not this time. I didn't even have time to process anything.  I won't go into details about what happened  but it was a f'ing mess.  I think both Ian Tubbs(Audi) and Jeff Reed(Starbucks) got to use me as a landing pad and when I finally had a chance to process things I noticed that 10 or 15 other guys were on the ground behind me.  I started swearing like, well, like I can in certain situations before I even knew if I was OK.  I soon realized that my body was battered but not broken.  Where the hell is my bike.  My front tubie had been torn off so I couldn't ride to the finish.  I checked out my bike and it seemed to be in pretty good shape. I started walking to the finish so I could find someone to give me a lift back to the start. 

Crashing sucks but it is part of racing.  I think everyone involved walked away from it w/ minor injuries.  I was more mad about missing out on a high placing than I was about losing skin.  I want to thank everyone who helped me and others out after this including the EMT's, Dave and Neil (who happen to be on my team) and Jeff and Kirsten Reed who drove me back to the parking lot and followed me out to make sure I was OK.  Fun times I tell ya!

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