Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April update

I entered the Leesburg Baker's Dozen race as a duo with my friend Libbey.  I knew it was going to be hard from a fitness standpoint, but loved the aspect of hanging out in a chamois for 13 hours.  This is a super fun flat lap with twists and turns, log hops and some neat rock features.  The lap times were fast at under 45 minutes, so not much downtime for us. 

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
It was kinda brutal way to do 72 miles.  I was being really hard on myself, too.  I felt like such a loser because I could see what other people were doing wrong in the corner and over the logs, but then I have a horrendous wreck myself.  I am teaching mountain biking frequently and just got certified to teach mountain biking, so to wreck like I did and on easy terrain, really bummed me out.  Plus, it hurt!
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, I wreck again and it hurts.  It's just a knee scuff and some soreness, but I'm humiliated and frustrated and scared.  This isn't supposed to be happening to a coach, instructor, pro and badass and on a backcountry ride!

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.


  1. Great writeup Sue....helps me for I am the "King of helmet destruction"....I continue to push on no matter, but have now gained a new found friend "caution".....its okay for me it'll keep me riding longer.
    Glad to read your not all broken up and are still strong and happy.

  2. Love your spirit, Sue. I think riding is a humbling sport, but one we can't live without. Stay positive. You probably needed a pit stop at introspection.

  3. you are human... glad you did not get hurt

    I did a similar superman stunt the other day a few blocks from Haywood Street in West Asheville...
    only I broke my elbow... did not break my camera... also did not get the shot

    glad it was not worse

    heal up

    I should go get some Arnica Flora for my bruise