I did the first lap. I was enjoying the chaos and loving the course. I felt good and efficient on the mountain biking aspect of my lap. Then about a 1/4 mile from the finish, I clipped a pedal and went down hard. I hit a rock with my left pedal and flew off the bike landing on my head and back. The wind was knocked out of me and I was gasping. Its not a good feeling. It never is when you can't breathe. About 10 people asked if I was okay and one sweet singlespeeder actually stopped. He got my bike out of the way and made sure that I wasn't critical. I really appreciated that. There is nothing like not being able to breathe that makes you feel vulnerable.
I collected myself and the lenses that popped out of my glasses. I finished the lapped and was in shock. Shock and awe because I actually clipped a pedal last year at this race on the first lap. I guess I have bad timing of when I lean my bike over. Or maybe my vision is going, or I lost focus...or maybe I just suck.
I would of quit the race, but nothing was dangling, you know. If you have ever had a rib injury, you know the next days are much worse than the present day. So, in a way it was great to keep moving. Plus, that is the power of a teammate. You don't want to, in any way let them down or pull them down with your misfortune. And we were in the lead from the start and Libbey was pulling really great lap times.
|Relay style racing with Libbey. Photo by Chris Merriam|
|The pain is under my armpit now but before was in my upper back|
That wreck really made me question why I fucking keep wrecking and why I even mountain bike! One of my first thoughts was, its because you are not in good shape! You have slacked and this is the result. But even people in amazing physical condition who are Olympians still wreck. Then, it must be because your skills aren't good. But even people who are in awesome shape with good skills still wreck like this Frenchie. Not that I want other people to wreck, but it happens. And all mountain bikers have a high pain threshold and a stubborn spirit.
So, still hurting, and knowing that I probably shouldn't go, I go on a ride with some buddies up on Spruce Knob. My breathing seems to be at half capacity, but at least I'm getting some oxygen to my muscles. I think the worst part is the inability to be dynamic and strong on the singletrack. I'm forced to ride lazy, which is very dangerous. I'm protecting myself which results in poor riding.
|Superwoman,not photo Michael Boyes|
So what do I do? I watched this movie and that helped inspire me to be strong mentally. I go back to the fundamentals of good body position and balanced riding. I got the pilates tape out. I try to stay positive and hang out with young people who don't have the baggage of smackdown. I'll keep on keeping on because I do love mountain biking and nothing worth a damn is ever easy.