Wednesday, February 21, 2007

So the 24 hours in the old pueblo has come and gone. It was good. Our team was a variation of last years, which took 2nd in our category finishing 20 laps. This year we did 21 laps in almost the identical time period and did not podium in 4th place illustrating the much tougher competition this year. Chris put in another blazing fast lap of 56:20—the fastest day lap for our category. My times were decent although I had really hoped they would be better.

My first lap started off pretty good. I was flying over the sisters. I thought “Chris would be so proud of me carrying my momentum up each of these” when disaster struck. I launched off of one of the little rollers before the last sister. I felt the rear tire continue to rise, but my front seemed like it was falling. I got back behind my seat in an attempt to even things out. The landing was not smooth and it tossed my bike which washed out from under me. Luckily I did not endo, but the spill was taken at high speeds. I jumped up, straightened my handle bars which were completely turned. My stem was still straight, my tires turned, so I jumped back on. I was obviously in the wrong gear now, but otherwise things looked good for the bike. I picked up some speed and looked down; my left knee was red and blood was dripping down my leg. My left elbow was also burning. I figured they were merely flesh wounds and I continued to ride my bike. I was a bit shaky but found my rhythm. The lap was fun, yet painful. I approached the end of the lap and realized that I needed to get cleaned up. After I was handed off the baton to Bill, I rode back to camp. This is when I started to feel like I was going to cry. It was safe to get emotional because the lap was over. Trying to stay calm, I asked Carson and Brad to let Tim (the next rider) know when I got back. I was going to get cleaned up in the medic tent. Luckily, Chris was not there…I knew he would be upset.
Again, I figured it was merely a flesh wound. I do this from time to time and have a good feel for it. Chris freaks out though and thinks it is life and death. I feared he would react like he did at the Epic. My goal was to get cleaned up before he realized what I had done. It would not look as bad once it was clean. My luck ran out. I had only been in the medic tent for a couple of minutes when he came in. My knee had a thick layer of blood that had several drips down my shin. Chris apparently had seen me go by at the end of the lap but was on the right side of the trail and did not see the injuries. He thought I had done the damage on the “rock drop” which is really more like a rock ramp. He was genuinely concerned and the EMT said it was not bad—thanks Bonnie. He was upset once he was sure I was okay and I got the “you have to be more careful lecture” which ended with “if you did not have to do a night lap, you would be grounded.” After getting my knee scrubbed and bandaged and my elbow cleaned up, I was good. It stung of course, but I could still ride.

My second lap was around 10:20 pm. I was apprehensive to ride the sisters in the dark, but realized I would just have to go slow and “BE CAREFUL!” As I was waiting for Paul to come return, Charlie Gibson from the Jack Mormon Militia showed up for his turn. We spoke for a minute or two and then Paul came in. We did the baton exchange and I ran to my bike. (Why do so many people just meander around in the tent? When I think race I believe people should be moving…quickly. Of course, I do hold the solo category exempt from this.) As I again found my groove and adjusted to night riding, I made a goal that Charlie would not pass me before the Corral Trail. And he didn’t. Then I thought he is not going to pass me until the June Bug. And he didn’t. Next, he is not going to pass me until High Point. And he didn’t. Wow, I thought this is pretty cool. What if he doesn’t pass me at all? And he did. About half way through High Point, I hear him say, it took me the whole lap to catch. My response was I had hoped he wouldn’t be able to. Then I let him pass. He was gone. Not long after that I realized I had no idea where I was. Granted it all looked familiar, but I had no idea how much further I had before the fast, fun final descent. That was a weird feeling not know what was left. This was probably my favorite lap, because of my little mind game which I really had no control over.

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